BANKER (LSU vs. Auburn)
A little surprised at this line but definitely willing to roll with undefeated LSU getting a couple possessions here. As mentioned, LSU comes into this game undefeated with a 12-0 record and they’ve pretty much blown everyone out except for their OT win against Penn state. They have notched impressive wins against Belmont (by 30), Wake Forest (by 14), Liberty (by 16), and Ohio (by 15). LSU has been winning by large margins this year due in part because of their defense. LSU is the number one team in the country in defensive adjusted efficiency… yes number one, there is no one better.
They have been stout defensively this season as they are also 1st in defensive effective FG%, 1st I’m defensive steal %, 7th in turnover percentage, 7th in defensive 2-point percentage, and 11th in defensive 3-point percentage so they get it done defensively at all 3 levels of the court. This will definitely be their hardest test of the season going on the road to face an auburn team who comes in at 11-1 with their only loss coming in a 3OT thriller against UConn.
LSU has a very similar to makeup to that UConn team, who was up double digits for a good part of the game, in the fact that they are both defensive minded teams first who suffocate you on that end of the ball and turn their defense into offense through fast breaks and transition threes. I think the length and athleticism of LSU will really bother this newfound 3 headed monster of Jabari Smith, Wendell Green, and KD Johnson for Auburn. LSU and auburn have both played tough schedules so I think they’re both equally prepared for this game, but I think this game is going to come down to who can get the most stops and I’ll side with the team with the best defense in the country in LSU. Score Prediction: 72-67 LSU.
Alabama has gotten off to a great start to the season, but they are coming off 3 lack luster performances in a row with 2 losses to Memphis/Davidson and a close win over Jacksonville state where they were 20-point favorites, but I think this is the perfect bounce back spot for the crimson tide. They’re facing a Tennessee squad who may have just beaten the best team in the country in Arizona in their last game.
Tennessee controlled much of that game, but they blew a 17-point lead and were aided with some very questionable calls that went in their favor while at home and I don’t see them being so lucky in this contest. Tennessee is a defensive first team who is very athletic at all positions. Arizona got off to a slow start against them and couldn’t recover but I see this game going differently because Alabama has one of the most electric offenses and I know they’ll be hungry coming off their first home loss of the season, so I expect their best effort here. Score Prediction: 81-72 Alabama.
NC state has been an interesting team this year as they’re off to a 7-5 start, but they can be hot and cold. They should have beaten Purdue, who is arguably the best team in the nation, and then they nearly lost to Nebraska who is a bottom feeder in the big 10. They can be streaky, but this game is more of a Miami fade for me as I think they are being heavily overvalued in this spot. Miami’s most impressive win this season probably came against either Clemson or north Texas which isn’t saying much, and they lost to Dayton/Alabama by double digits in blowouts. Bottom line is that I think NC State is the more talented team who has played the tougher schedule so I’m willing to back them in this position against an overvalued Miami team. Score Prediction: 78-75 NC State.