Stuckey’s 10 Best College Basketball Situational Spots: Bowling Green-Miami Ohio and More
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Miami (Oh) Redhawks guard Darrian Ringo
- Which college basketball teams are primed for a letdown on Saturday?
- Stuckey runs through 10 appealing situational spots in college basketball, including Oregon State-Washington
It’s the first weekend without any football. (The Pro Bowl doesn’t count, people!) We still have one major wagering event in the NFL next week, but it’s time to shift your attention to college basketball.
As I stated last week, on every Saturday leading up to the NCAA tournament (in addition to other sporadic days during the week), I will do a piece on my favorite college basketball situational spots, which I think work better in college basketball than any other sport.
The four most popular situational angles include: letdowns, lookaheads, sandwiches and revenge (which I gave greater detail on in the article last week).
These are just the first level of factors to consider; there are plenty of others that pop up.
I simply use this exercise to circle the best situational spots on the card. I then use my numbers and analyze the matchups to finalize my bets.
There is no science with situational spots; it’s definitely more art than science, but you should at least be aware of the non-mathematical angles when capping college kids playing basketball.
Here are the best situational spots I had circled for Saturday that will likely make my final card.
Season Record: 5-5 (-0.5 units)
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Oklahoma State -3 vs. South Carolina
2 p.m. ET on ESPNU
Oklahoma State burned us by the hook last week by missing two free throws in the final seconds, but I have to go back to the well.
The Pokes are a mess right now and even recently held open tryouts after a few dismissals, but they are at least still playing very hard for head coach Mike Boynton.
After watching them the past few games, I’m confident the effort will at least be there — even after blowing that big lead against in-state rival Oklahoma the other night.
Regardless, this spot has everything to do with the South Carolina fade. The Gamecocks find themselves in a horrible sandwich spot in Stillwater after pulling off a huge home upset against ranked Auburn.
We have a potential letdown in play after that win, and SC also has No. 1 Tennessee on deck. This is your Saturday sandwich du jour.
Not only do I expect a flat South Carolina squad, but I think this number would have value in a vacuum. I make it Oklahoma State -4.5 before even factoring in the horrible spot for Frank Martin’s bunch.
Miami Ohio +1.5 vs. Bowling Green
3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3
I had this circled as a great fade spot of Bowling Green, which has quietly won 10 straight games and sits in first place all alone atop the MAC East.
The Falcons find themselves in a dreadful situational spot today, as they travel to Miami Ohio for their second straight road game — with an enormous first place showdown with Buffalo looming on deck.
I doubt you get a fully focused Bowling Green effort here. Miami Ohio is also playing its best ball of the season, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
Bethune Cookman +2 vs. Morgan State
4 p.m. ET
No SWACtion this week, but we will have some MEACtion!
Bethune Cookman should have plenty of motivation to beat a Morgan State team that pulled off the upset in the final seconds of last season’s MEAC quarterfinals to end Bethune Cookman’s season.
I also actually make this game almost a true coin flip, which means the +2 holds plenty of value. And it’s not like Morgan State and its dreadful offense have any sort of home-court advantage. We are talking about a team that lost at home to D2 Lincoln (PA) a few weeks ago.
This game is absolutely disgusting, but I have to side with the line value with Bethune Cookman, which is also in a favorable spot after four days off (which is important with its lack of depth).
I do also have to mention Bethune Cookman’s horrendous free throw shooting, which does scare me. It is shooting a horrid 58.8% from the charity stripe, which ranks 351st in the country (only Manhattan and Florida A&M are worse.)
Oregon State -3 vs. Washington
4 p.m. ET on PACN
This is just a play on the perception in the market on these two teams.
The market is simply too high on this Washington team that has had some very good fortune during conference play in a very down Pac-12.
Not only do the Huskies lead the conference with a 43.1% three-point shooting percentage in league play, they have also has held conference opponents to a league-low 28.0%. Neither one of those numbers is sustainable.
I can see that regression starting in Corvallis today against the Beavers, who I think are the most underrated team in the conference and a real threat to win the Pac-12.
William & Mary +7.5 at Charleston
4 p.m. ET
This is a “best effort” spot for William & Mary, which has had an extremely disappointing season.
I think this is the perfect time to buy low on the Tribe, who have lost four straight to drop to seventh place in the CAA. They haven’t had much luck this season with four of their five league losses coming by five points or less, including a triple OT thriller against first place Hofstra.
I have to imagine William and Mary also has had this spot circled since losing to Charleston in last year’s CAA semis. That prevented the Tribe from making their first ever tournament appearance — something only they and three other original D1 teams (Army, St. Francis NY and The Citadel) haven’t done.
Not only is this a great spot, this line is just a tad too high.
Georgia Southern -2.5 vs. Texas State
5 p.m. ET
A perfect time to fade the first place Bobcats of Texas State after their upset win on the road at Georgia State. Georgia Southern also has revenge for a close loss earlier this season (73-70) at Texas State.
Tookie Brown & Co. company take care of business today.
Akron -4 vs. Northern Illinois
5 p.m. ET on ESPN+
Northern Illinois will hit the road after its enormous upset of Buffalo — its first home win over a ranked team since 1972! This will be a tough spot for the Huskies to get up for after pulling off the stunner that caused the DeKalb crowd to storm the court.
Akron will also look to avenge a 17-point blowout loss to NIU earlier this season. Trust the legit Zips’ defense to take care of business on Saturday afternoon.
SEMO -1 vs. Eastern Illinois
5:30 p.m. ET
SEMO looks like an ugly favorite with a 6-14 record, but I’m rolling with that ugly favorite today. I think this is a good time to buy low on SEMO, losers of five straight, which has been very unlucky this season.
It has lost its past three games by a combined seven points, including its most recent one by one in triple overtime.
On the other end of the spectrum, EIU sits at 12-8 overall but has been extremely fortunate, winning its past two games by a combined four points — and winning each of its first two conference games in overtime.
On the surface, it looks crazy to back a SEMO team sitting at 1-6 in the OVC as a favorite over a team that is 5-2 in the conference, but those records could easily be reversed.
As a result, I think we are getting an extra point or two of value here with the Redhawks.
UC Riverside +13.5 at UC Irvine
10 p.m. ET
This is a hold-your-nose fade spot of UC Irvine coming off an overtime win against Hawaii on the island. Not only is this an unideal travel spot for the Anteaters, they have a battle for first place in the Big West on national TV against Santa Barbara on deck.
I think we see a flat start from UCI, which also struggles mightily from the free throw line.
UC Riverside should also come into this game with as much confidence as it has had all season after securing its first consecutive wins over D1 opponents.
Cal Poly +7 vs. Cal State Fullerton
10 p.m. ET
Another late night Big West hold-your-nose spot.
And I mean hold your nose, as I don’t have too many good things to say about a Cal Poly team that has just four wins on the year that include:
- South Carolina State in OT
- Bethune Cookman in OT
- Holy Names
However, this is still too many points for Fullerton to be laying on the road (where it has one win this year: overtime against Long Beach) in a miserable situational spot.
The 7-12 Titans are coming off a stunning upset of UCSB, which was previously undefeated in the league.
I just can’t pass up 7+ with a Cal Poly team desperate for its first conference win against a Fullerton team coming off a huge win.
Editor’s note: The opinions on these games are from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.