We’re back baby, college basketball season is here! After seven long months, we can drown ourselves in some college basketball action.
From Noon eastern to 2 a.m. your options are endless. There are exactly 200 games on the schedule. But, if you want to focus on a couple of games, I’ll let you know where the money is.
As always, here to remind you that I am not a professional handicapper. Whether you fade or tail, we encourage you to wager responsibly. Let’s make this a season to remember.
*All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
La Salle vs. Villanova
DraftKings Line: Villanova -15
When: 6:30 p.m. ET
It’s more than likely going to take some time for Fran Dunphy’s new group to mold together. After three seasons in retirement, the all-time winningest head coach in Big Five history rebirths his coaching career with the matchup against the most successful program in the Big Five, Villanova (28-time champion btw).
The Explorers lost their top two producers from a season ago and struggled on the offensive end to begin with. Last season, they lost to Villanova by 24, not even scoring 50 points.
Kyle Neptune is the new head coach at Villanova, after a season at Fordham, so he has seen a few of these Explorers play. The Rams swept La Salle last season.
Although the Wildcats will be without Justin Moore and Cam Whitmore, they have a ton of players that can produce.
The Pick: Villanova -15
Manhattan vs. VCU
DraftKings Line: VCU -19.5
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
VCU doesn’t usually put up big numbers on the scoreboard in non-conference play. The Rams scored more than 67 points once in that portion of their schedule last season and with their HAVOC defense, you can’t expect the opponent to score all that much either.
That opponent lost their head coach, and top three players just two weeks ago as Steve Masiello was surprisingly relieved of his duties. They didn’t score all that much, to begin with, either, finishing with a 29.9% 3-point percentage and in the bottom 110 of effective field goal percentage.
I would be shocked if the Jaspers put up something close to 60 points.
The Pick: Under 136.5
Penn vs. Iona
DraftKings Line: Iona -8.5
When: 7 p.m.
Penn is an experienced group that took huge strides in conference play last season. I expect them to shock some people in one of the hardest non-conference schedules in the country.
Returning for the Quakers is their 20.9 points-per-game leader, Jordan Dingle. Last season, he finished with a 51.9% effective field goal percentage and took the sixth-highest percentage of shots in the nation. Efficient if you ask me.
Around him, Penn returns many players who made starts throughout an injury-plagued season.
For Iona, the Gaels bring back one of the better mid-major players in the country with Nelly Junior Joseph, along with others (including Rick Pitino).
Although they won a lot of games, their defense gave up long possessions. Penn strived in those long possessions.
I’m not saying either side will win, but I think it will be a close game and Penn will cover.
The Pick: Penn +8.5
UT Martin vs. Pitt
DraftKings Line: Pitt -11
When: 7 p.m. ET
Pitt is a disaster of a program right now. If you remember, the Panthers lost to The Citadel in their season opener last season, and St.Francis (PA) the season before. Not the big boys of the college basketball world. Well, UT Martin could make it a three-peat.
Parker Stewart returns back to the school he began his college career at, playing for his hometown Skyhawks. Between stops, he shined at Indiana. This offseason, he surprised many people when he chose UTM over high-major programs in the transfer portal.
Tagging along with him is the OVC Preseason Player of the Year, KJ Simon. Simon took the 36th-highest percentage of shots in the nation last season while blocking nearly 5% of shots that came his way.
Pitt, on the other hand, indefinitely suspended freshman guard Dior Johnson after he was charged with a litany of felonies, including aggravated assault, strangulation and false imprisonment of a woman.
Sprinkle in Skyhawks moneyline.
The Pick: UT Martin +11
Chattanooga vs. College of Charleston
DraftKings Line: CofC -3
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
This matchup is between two coaches who preach fast-pace ball.
Chattanooga’s Dan Earl has run a Top 90 adjusted tempo in three of his last four seasons at VMI. Coming along with him from the Keydets is his star big man, Jake Stephens.
College of Charleston had the second-quickest pace in all of college basketball during Pat Kelsey’s first season, scoring less than 70 points in only 25% of their games.
The game breaths quick possessions and both teams scoring over 80 points.
The Pick: Over 156
Florida A&M vs. Oregon
DraftKings Line: Oregon -29
When: 10 p.m. ET
Watch: Pac-12 Network
The last team to put out its schedule will open on the road against Oregon. That’s a 2,856-mile trip across the country to open their season.
To make matters more difficult for Florida A&M, the Rattlers lost the 2021-22 SWAC Player of the Year, MJ Randolph. They also lose the six producers that followed him. Not good for the 315th-ranked offense in the country last season.
On the Oregon side, with the exception of last year, Dana Altman usually runs one of the slower offenses in the country. When Oregon has a sizable lead, I expect them to slow down possessions.
The Pick: Under 137.5
Tulsa vs. Oregon State
DraftKings Line: Oregon State -1.5
When: Midnight ET
Watch: Pac-12 Network
I think Oregon State will be better than people give them credit for. Last season, was a strange defensive season and it didn't help that Chol Marial couldn’t play like Wayne Tinkle expected over the summer.
The 7-foot-2 transfer center from Maryland along with other transfers from strong west coast programs should get this team a few wins.
Tulsa on the other hand loses essentially everyone from last season including their head coach. Only one player, Sam Griffin, who scored over five points per game returns. In the transfer portal, the Golden Hurricane picked up only one Division I transfer and another JUCO kid.
Erik Konkol comes over from Louisiana Tech with a fresh rebuilding project at hand.
The Pick: Oregon State -1.5