The college basketball season started last week, but it feels like things are about to take a real turn on Tuesday night. Unlike the first seven days, we have plenty of compelling matchups in store, highlighted by the Champions Classic doubleheader in Indianapolis. So this is a fitting day to renew my pick-o-rama with my bubble-watching colleague Eamonn Brennan. I forgot who won the Picks Battle last season, but it was definitely me.
Again, for each pick column, Eamonn I have 100 “tokens” that we can put on our picks as we see fit. The minimum bet is 10 chips per game.
Before we embark on another glorious four months of action, I’d like to give all the commenters out there some advice: don’t be that guy. You know who I’m talking about, the guy (or girl because women can make stupid comments too) who doesn’t understand THESE PICKS ARE ANTI-SPREAD!!! So he goes into the comments section and writes, “Yo Duke boy you say you can’t see Purdue losing at home but you chose Marquette. Does the athlete don’t have editors these days???”
Let me reiterate these two very important points: the picks are against the spread, and I beat Eamonn last year.
Let the fun begin!
All lines are through BetMGM:
Michigan State vs. Kentucky (-6.5) in Indianapolis, 7 p.m. ESPN. The big question is whether Kentucky’s returning international of the year, 6-foot-9 forward Oscar Tshiebwe, can play — and if so, how effective will he be. Tshiebwe had knee surgery last month. Needless to say he is hoping to play but he and John Calipari sounded pretty confident that Tshiebwe would be ready for the season opener and he has yet to get into a game. Tshiebwe has been training for the first time since his operation on Monday so it seems he is keen to give it a try. However, this is a difficult task for the first game after knee surgery. Michigan State is an experienced, physical team. The Spartans didn’t quite weather the excitement over Gonzaga at Friday’s Armed Forces Classic, but the Spartans led the game for 30 minutes and they should get more quality from 6-4 sophomore guard Jaden Akins, who underwent surgery in September to repair a stress reaction in his left foot. Akins averaged 16.5 minutes in the first two games, but a few more days of practice should set him up to make an impact against Kentucky. The choice: 30 tokens on Michigan State
David Joplin with a career-high 20 points!
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) November 11, 2022
Marquette at Purdue (-9.5), 8:30 p.m., FS1. It looks like Marquette’s David Joplin is ready for one of those classic freshman to sophomore jumps. The 6-7 forward averaged 2.8 points in 6.9 minutes last season, but he posted a career-high 23 points (with six 3s made) in the Golden Eagles’ 97-73 win over Central Michigan on Thursday . Junior point guard Tyler Kolek also had a career-high 11 assists in the win. The entire team is being defended at a much higher level in this game, but this is a younger Purdue team than we’re used to and the team’s 2-0 start offered a mixed bag. Junior center Zach Edey shot 12 of 13 and scored a career-high 30 points in the Boilermakers’ 63-44 win over Austin Peay on Friday, but his teammates missed 17 of their 19 3-point attempts. It’s hard to see Purdue lose at home, but I think this could be one of those ugly preseason games and I like Marquette’s chances to keep things interesting. The choice: 10 tokens on Marquette
Vecenie’s Prospect Film Room: Zach Edey is an elite post player due to his size and fundamentals
Memphis in Saint Louis (-2.5), 9 p.m., CBS Sports Network. As I noted in Hoop Thoughts, Memphis has gone from being one of the youngest teams in the country to perhaps the oldest. The Tigers have six seniors in their fifth year, including Kendric Davis, a 5-11 transfer from SMU who has averaged 19.2 points per game over the past two years. Saint Louis also has an older team, and the Billikens looked like they dominated Murray State and Evansville last week. It’s only a matter of time before 6-foot junior point guard Yuri Collins becomes nationally known. He averaged 7.9 assists last season and is already 27 cents on just five turnovers in his first two games. The choice: 20 chips on Saint Louis
San Diego State (-4.5) at Stanford, 9 p.m., Pac-12 Network. Steve Fisher brought transfers to San Diego State long before it was cool, and now his replacement, Brian Dutcher, has two more good ones in Darrion Trammell, a 5-10 senior guard from Seattle, and Jaedon LeDee, a 6-9 senior forward from TCU . LeDee made the switch two years ago but was sidelined as a redshirt last season. He and Trammell combined averaged 36.5 points per game in wins against Cal State Fullerton and BYU, and if this continues it will ease the strain on another transfer, 6-4 senior guard Matt Bradley, who left Cal State last year came to SDSU. This is a big year for Jerod Haase, who has never guided the Cardinal to the NCAA tournament. Stanford shot 1 of 16 of 3 during Friday’s 60-50 loss to Wisconsin, but that game was played outdoors in a ballpark so the shooting conditions were atypical, to say the least. Maples Pavilion isn’t much of a home field advantage, but if Stanford makes it to the NCAA tournament this season, it’ll be as close as you can get to a mid-November must-win. I’m spying on a desperate home team. The choice: 10 tokens on Stanford
Kansas (-1.5) vs. Duke in Indianapolis, 9:30 p.m. ESPN. 7-1 Duke forward Dereck Lively II made his highly-anticipated collegiate debut on Friday after missing the Blue Devils’ season opener with a calf injury. He had just four points and two rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench, but a few more days of practice should set him up to be a much bigger factor tonight. Still, Duke’s best freshman — and perhaps his best player — could emerge as 7-0 forward Kyle Filipowski, who averaged 12.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks in his first two games and 2 out of 6 out of 3 shot. point area. The Blue Devils’ size and depth on offense will be difficult for many teams to handle, but it poses a particularly acute challenge for a Kansas roster that doesn’t have a starter taller than 6-8. I’d be more confident about KU’s chances if Bill Self was on the touchline, but he’s still serving his self-imposed four-game suspension to start the season. The choice: 30 tokens on Duke
(Top photo by Duke’s Kyle Filipowski: Rob Kinnan/USA Today)