BANKER (West Virginia vs. Kansas State)
Kansas St has been one of the bigger surprises in the Big 12 this year as they have played very well in conference play to this point. They were one of the worst teams in the conference last year with frequent blowout losses, but they have really turned it around this year as they are currently 13-11 with a 5-7 Big 12 record. It may not look all that impressive, but they have made huge strides this year. With that being said, I am betting against them tonight on West Virginia. In these teams’ first meeting of the season. West Virginia were 9-point home favorites, but Kansas St came out of the gates hot and took a 13-point lead into halftime. West Virginia then stormed back and actually held a 9-point second half lead at one point before eventually winning the game but failing to cover the spread as they only won by 3. Kansas St is much improved, but West Virginia really should be favorites in this game.
Their best player in Taz Sherman is finally back and appears to be healthy and I think he will be the X-factor in this game. West Virginia is still a very solid defensive team as they currently rank 34th in overall adjusted defensive efficiency, 19th in highest defensive turnover rate, and 45th in defensive 3-point percentage. Another angle to look at here is that Kansas St has had a lot of success in an underdog role this season compared to being a favorite. West Virginia has also played well in an underdog role early in games this season as they covered their 1H spreads on the road against Baylor, Kansas, and Texas Tech which are 3 very tough places to play. West Virginia has the ATS revenge factor here and I think they start fast so I am rolling with West Virginia 1H +2.5 -115. Sprinkle the 1H ML as well. Score Prediction: 36-33 WVU
Holy Cross is a bottom feeder out of the patriot league, but they have been playing very solid basketball lately minus one blowout loss to Colgate, who is probably the best team in the conference. Holy Cross has gone 5-1 overall in their last 6 games and have looked like a completely different team. Even more impressively, they were underdogs in all 5 of those wins. They were +4.5, +16, +8.5, +5, and +4,5 point dogs and won all those games straight up. Now they face an American team who I believe is one of the worst teams in the country. American defeated Holy Cross in their first meeting and I think this is the perfect revenge spot for Holy Cross as they are playing very well while American has gone 0-5 Straight up since defeating Holy Cross. Motivation should be high for the Crusaders here and I think they come away with a solid home win. Score Prediction 74-62 Holy Cross
Saint Louis is a team out of the A-10 who had been surging as they won 6 games in a row before their surprising home loss to St Bonaventure just a few days ago. Now they have to turn around and go on the road to face the Bonnies again, but this time I think they will be ready. St Bonaventure has a lot of talent and experience, but they really lack depth. They really only play 7 players, and the bulk of their scoring comes from their starting 5. In the first matchup between these 2 teams, the bonnies starting 5 combined to shoot 51% from the field while SLU only shot 42%. I expect Saint Louis to shoot much better this time around and expect them to bounce back nicely as they have not lost back-to-back games since early December. Score Prediction: 74-70 Saint Louis.