Collin Wilson, Mike Randle & Stuckey join forces with Jim Root, Ky McKeon & Matt Cox of Three Man Weave to deliver their College Basketball Six Pack of Picks via The Action Network Colleges Podcast every Friday.
Though there are no Power Five games on Friday night, our experts see value in five mid-major matchups. One pick includes a side for the battle of Mountain West brutes in Utah State vs. Boise State.
Our experts broke down each of their favorite bets on The Action Network Podcast.
Detroit vs. Robert Morris | 6 p.m. ET
by Ky McKeon
Detroit has been on fire lately, and I mean that literally. The Titans are shooting 40.7% from 3 in conference play, and I’m a believer that this is not an aberration at all. Antoine Davis and Bul Kuol are legit, and eight of Detroit’s top nine players on the roster are upperclassmen. This team is experienced, and they can score.
Robert Morris, on the other hand — despite a split with Oakland — was very lucky. This is a team that just lost a first-team All-Horizon player in AJ Bramah. The Colonials went 23-for-45 from 3 in those two games against an Oakland zone that — quite frankly — is terrible. That’s not going to happen against Detroit.
The Titans are returning home off a split with first-place Cleveland State and competing for a third-place finish in the Horizon. Take Detroit.
Pick: Detroit -9
Saint Louis vs. Dayton | 7 p.m. ET
by Mike Randle
The lat time I liked a team this much was my good old Illinois-Chicago, which ended with me singing, because the Flames got buried by Wright State. What I should’ve done then is what I’m going to do with the team I like this week. I like Saint Louis going to Dayton.
The Billikens’ Twitter account has embraced this matchup as revenge week. They beat La Salle handedly by 21 points at home and now head to Dayton to avenge an early-season loss. That loss was off a month-long COVID-19 break, and Saint Louis was all out of sorts.
Now they go to Dayton.
The Flyers have lost so many games now that I’m starting to wonder if they were a paper tiger early on. They lost at Duquesne, beat George Mason, then lost to VCU and went to double overtime with Rhode Island. They’ve played a lot of big games, and I believe when you have a team that’s overvalued — which I believe Dayton is — there’s a law of efforts. How many times can you continue to get up against teams that are better than you? Saint Louis certainly is that and is ready to roll.
Yuri Collins is questionable and may play, but Jordan Goodwin has taken over the backcourt there. In three games without Collins, Goodwin is averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals per game.
Right now the total is at 137.5. I’m going to take the under. I think Saint Louis is going to lock down Dayton; meanwhile, the Flyers are going to slow the pace in a rivalry game at home. The line opened at -3 and ballooned to -5.5 right away. That’s too many points for me to give here on the road in conference play, but I’ll take the under on two defensive teams.
Pick: Under 137.5
Old Dominion vs. UAB | 7:30 p.m. ET
by Matt Cox
Let’s go with a little Conference USA action. We’re getting sick and tired of betting the same teams; so, we’re putting Charlotte in timeout, we’re placing some of the other teams that have burned us on the back burner, and we’re going with Old Dominion. The Monarchs are fresh off a two-game sweep over Charlotte and are finally healthy and at full strength.
Prior to ODU’s most recent series with Charlotte, the team managed a split against Marshall — a team playing in top 75 territory. And, if you recall, Old Dominion entered that series with the Thundering Herd fresh off a terrible COVID-19 shutdown and played without their two best players: Malik Curry and AJ Oliver.
What I love most about this team and what the team will need in this matchup against UAB, is they’re just a bunch of adults. They’ve got upperclassmen experience and are not going to be phased by the swarming pressure that UAB throws at you. The Blazers have picked off middle and lower tier opponents, but we’re starting to see their true colors shine through here. Last weekend they got swept by Louisiana Tech, and it was nice to see UAB appear mortal after blowing the doors off Rice (sans three starters) and Middle Tennessee State down three-plus starters.
I’m also pulling the 3-point variance monster card here. Old Dominion is shooting 27% in conference play from behind the arc. Are they a great shooting team? No. But they’re better than 27%. UAB likes to pack it in when it gets back in the halfcourt, and that will leave opportunities for Old Dominion, who I believe will knock down some shots.
There’s some value here on the Monarchs. I love it at +7. I still like it at +6.5, even down to +6.
Pick: Old Dominion +7 (down to +6)
Cal Baptist vs. Grand Canyon | 9 p.m. ET
by Jim Root
I feel like we’re getting sick of the same Horizon and Conference USA teams every week on this Friday slate. So, I’m going to go out West with Cal Baptist. The Lancers draw a matchup with a Grand Canyon team coming off a three-week COVID-19 pause, which we know has been statistically detrimental to squads. Obviously there are exceptions, but this is just one little advantage I like here.
I really enjoy this matchup. It sets up well for Cal Baptist. Grand Canyon’s defense wants to dominate the paint and force teams to shoot over the top. That’s exactly what Cal Baptist wants to do. The Lancers are going to have four absolute gunners on the court at all times, three of which are hitting over 42% from 3 at high volume.
Honestly, there’s ample potential 3-point regression here. Grand Canyon’s opponents are hitting under 27% from deep in conference play. That is insane. It’s going to rise, and this is a perfect matchup for it to do so. On the other end, Cal Baptist’s opponents are hitting almost 39% from beyond the arc in conference play. That should go down. Cal Baptist is a team that wants to take away the 3-point arc. I think that benefits them as well.
There’s a little bit of worry about GCU’s mountains dominating the offensive glass, but as long as Gorjok Gak stays out of foul trouble, I think Cal Baptist can hold up there. This one is available at +12 at Circa right now, so I’m going to lock that in. I think it’s going to come down because of the way the market has been treating teams off COVID-19 pauses, so keep an eye out for that. Nonetheless, I would still take it all the way down to +10.
Pick: Cal Baptist +12 (down to +10)
Utah State vs. Boise State | 10 p.m. ET
I considered rolling with FIU, who I think could finally be healthy catching a bad Southern Miss team. I considered Charlotte, too. But, I ultimately decided to go with Utah State vs. Boise State. I was on Boise State the other night in their first meeting, and I thought Utah State actually played very well after a two-week pause. The Aggies were missing starting point guard Rollie Worster, too. Trying to replace your starting point guard and coming off a two-week break: That’s tough.
It was just a terrible shooting night. The Aggies went 3-of-16 from 3 and had some open looks. Boise has no answers for Neemias Queta in the middle, and I don’t think there’s anything they could do except religiously double him. That will leave open shooters who have a game under their belt now.
It’s a good matchup for Utah State. The Aggies defend really well in transition and don’t give up anything at the rim, which is important against a rim-attacking Boise offense that has a number of guys who can attack off the dribble.
Utah State forced Boise into a lot of tough shots in the first meeting, and the Broncos ended up making them at the end of the game to pull away. But, I liked what I saw from the Aggies. I think you’ll get a much better effort from Utah State after getting a game under its belt adjusting to life without Worster. He’s in a boot, so I assume he’s not going to play. Craig Smith will make some adjustments, and I think Utah State will earn the split here.
Pick: Utah State +2
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