BANKER (St. Thomas vs. Nebraska)
St Thomas is in their first season in division 1 as they are actually one of the first teams ever to jump from division 3 all the way up to division 1, completely bypassing division 2. They were actually kicked out of their conference in division 3 for being too dominant and they’ve held their own so far this season as well. They are off to a very reasonable 5-6 start and have 3 wins over D1 programs. They’re also 7-2 ATS so they’ve been solid at covering the number as well.
In this matchup, they will face a Nebraska Omaha team who may be the worst team in the country other than Mississippi Valley State. Nebraska Omaha is 1-10 with their one win over an NAIA school. Of their 10 losses, only 2 have even been by single digits so they’ve been getting absolutely slaughtered by every team they’ve faced. St Thomas is a team who has been winning games this year with their effective and efficient offense. So far they are 39th in the country in effective field goal percentage, 7th in lowest turnover percentage, and 28th in 3-point percentage so they really do a good job of taking care of the ball and can also light it up from the outside as well.
Nebraska Omaha comes into this game with a defensive efficiency rating of 344th and a defensive effective FG% ranking of 345th making them essentially the 13th worst defensive team in the country as there are only 358 qualified teams. St Thomas doesn’t have a very stout defense in their own right but the bottom line here is that Nebraska Omaha does not have nearly enough fire power to keep up with St Thomas in this one as they have really struggled to score the ball so far. St Thomas should be able to score at will and come up with enough stops to get the win. Score prediction: 78-70 St Thomas.
Oral Roberts is a team I’ve written about before who has played fairly solidly this season following up their almost improbable sweet 16 appearance. They are off to a 6-5 start but have played a very tough schedule to this point. Max Abmas for Oral Roberts has also been playing well as of late as he’s now averaging 20 PPG on the season. They face a South Dakota team who has played surprisingly well this season as they come in with a 7-4 record so why is a team with a winning record who is at home, an underdog to a team with a worse record than them.
This line tells the story to me as well as oddsmakers are looking past records and past performances and truly valuing oral Roberts as the better team even on the road so I’ll continue to roll with them as I think their offense will be too much for South Dakota to overcome. Score prediction: 75-68 Oral Roberts
Western Illinois has been one of the larger surprises in college basketball this year. They are off to a very impressive 9-2 record and have notched upset wins over Nebraska, Northern Kentucky, Miami-OH, and a near upset win on the road against DePaul. In their wins they’ve gotten it done with offense as in their 9 wins, they’ve score greater than 70 points in 8 of them, over 90 points in 4/9 and in the one win they didn’t score over 70, they scored 69.
They face a Denver team who is up there for top 10-15 worst teams in the country. More importantly, Denver is absolutely horrendous defensively and I don’t see any reason why western Illinois and their potent offensive attack won’t be able to score at will. I think western Illinois will win a fast, up tempo, and high scoring game. Score prediction: 84-72.