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The No. 10 ranked Indiana Hoosier will travel to New Jersey, where they will take on the Rutgers Scarlett Knights in a Big 10 clash. Interestingly, Rutgers is just a 3.5 point underdog to Indiana here. The Hoosier's haven't beaten Rutgers on the road since 2018, so this is a place they have struggled in mightily for years now. In fact, since superstar Trayce Jackson-Davis committed to Indiana and stepped foot on campus, Indiana basketball has not beaten Rutgers, losers of five straight games to the Scarlett Knights.
After a great win against No. 18 North Carolina in their last game, Indiana is riding a high right now. Meanwhile, Rutgers is coming off a loss to Miami 68-61, and giving up a first-half lead in the process. So, why is this line only +3.5 for Rutgers, who clearly isn't on the same level as Indiana? My first takeaway is this is a trap, getting the public to bet the much higher ranked team at a short number. After all, Indiana just beat the blue-blood Tar Heels, and should roll here against a worse team they want to get revenge on, right?
One thing you have to do when betting, is bet based on lines and where the money is going sometimes. Note that at the time of this writing, 67% of all bets in this game are on Indiana. I'm fading the public here.
San Jose State will take on the No. 11 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, another game in which the public will be all over the favorites. For the Spartans, the entire starting five consists of juniors and sophomores, making them a relatively experienced group of players. They are led by a pair of juniors in their starting lineup: guard Omari Moore and forward Sage Tolbert.
Moore paces the team in scoring with 13.4 points and 4.4 assists per game on 42% FG shooting. He's the main offensive threat. Tolbert leads the team in rebounding with 8.0 per game to go along with 10.3 points on 59% shooting. These two guys pretty much run the show for San Jose. I didn't need to include all of this, but I figured a majority of people probably don't know a thing about San Jose State basketball, and that's okay.
However, if you are even a casual CBB fan, you should know all about Eric Musselman and his Razorbacks. They had a good showing at the Maui Invitational, going 2-1 with their only loss coming against an experienced Creighton team. Arkansas came away with a hard-fought 74-61 victory over Troy in their last game, which is pretty disappointing for them against such an inferior opponent.
The Spartans have the shooters to make a game of this thing early on, but in the end, Arkansas should start to pull away. I'll take the Razorbacks to have a big bounce back here.
The Houston Cougars are coming off of an absolute blowout 100-52 victory over Norfolk State in their last game. That game had little to do with the jump to No. 1 in the nation for them, but it is a ranking that is well deserved. Houston hasn't been ranked No. 1 in the country in 39 years, so this is a very special moment for the team and the school. Now they get to face Saint Mary's in The Battleground 2k22, and they should know that rank comes with a certain expectation. If they don't perform up to snuff, they can kiss it goodbye. Saint Mary’s is certainly a threat despite losing its past two games to Washington and New Mexico. Houston must be very careful here, and take this game very seriously. The Gaels beat No. 1 Gonzaga last season, and also have that memorable upset of the Bulldogs in the 2019 West Coast Conference title game. They have beaten No. 1 teams multiple times in the past few years.
However, the Cougars have been steamrolling their opponents this season, with five wins by more than 25 points. Only games at Oregon and home against Kent State have been decided by 10 or fewer points, so they have avoided the upsets when they were challenged. Still, this defense is legit. The Cougars are allowing just 48 points per game, tops in the nation entering this game. Houston also leads the nation in field-goal percentage defense and 3-point percentage defense.
It's hard to envision Saint Mary's pulling this one off, but it was hard to imagine them doing it before as well when they did.