clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mid-Money Madness: Feb. 6: Two Mountain West matchups highlight slate

Dayton is on upset watch and Boise is going to prove why it is one of the best in the Mountain West

NCAA Basketball: San Jose State at Utah State
Great Osobor leads Utah State with 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the first edition of Mid-Money Madness for the 2023-2024 basketball season. I apologize for being MIA for two-thirds of the college basketball season. Life stuff happens and I wasn’t giving any winners anyway!

I’m happy to get back into the swing of things, and I will have an edition of this column written once a week going forward. Also, with Super Bowl week upon us, I decided to join the fun for the big game. (But obviously I’m talking about UT Martin-Little Rock.)

Reminder, I’m a blogger who is far from a professional handicapper, so take these picks with a grain of salt. Please wager responsibility whether you are tailing or fading me. I’m here to give you solid entertainment on a Tuesday night. It’s never fun when you lose your rent money betting on MAC basketball. So don’t do that!

Central Michigan @ Akron

Tip off: 7 p.m. EST

Broadcast: ESPN+

Spread: Akron -14.5

Total: 131.5

Central Michigan is one of the best stories in Mid-Major college basketball. Central Michigan was picked last in the league in the preseason poll. Tony Barbee has turned this team around. The Chips are 8-2 in conference play this year and are currently third in the conference standings.

They are one of the best teams ATS in the country. Central Michigan is 6-1 as an underdog in MAC play. Now they get their biggest test of the season traveling to the class of the league, Akron.

Akron has the best duo in the league with Enrique Freeman in the middle (18.6 ppg, 12.9 rebounds), and wing Ali Ali who is averaging 16.2 points per game. Akron’s size and athleticism should give the Chippewas problems.

Central Michigan is extremely gritty, and they have proven doubters wrong all year. Central Michigan has won eight out of their last nine.

Akron is coming off their biggest win of the year against Toledo on Friday.

I can see the Zips coming out slow to start the game in this one. I’m going to hop on the CMU Cinderella train and trust it to keep this one close.

The pick: Central Michigan +14.5

UT Martin @ Little Rock

Tip off: 8 pm EST

Broadcast ESPN+

Spread: UALR -2.5

Total 162.5

This will be one of the most entertaining games on the slate. Both teams can score at will and play fast. Little Rock has an explosive back court with Texas A&M transfer KK Robinson and South Florida transfer Jamir Chaplin, who average 16 points per game apiece. UT Martin guard Jordan Sears (20.2 ppg) is electric on the other side.

Little Rock ranks 60th in offensive pace while Tennessee Martin ranks in the top 10. Both teams play with pace and are horrible on defense. According to KenPom, UT Martin ranks 273rd in defensive efficiency while Little Rock ranks 314th. As a result, the total is set at 162.5.

With the style these two teams play combined with a competitive game script, this game has a good chance to go over that total. We are to see transition threes, acrobatic dunks in transition, and great offensive playmaking on both sides. Enjoy the game and bet the over here.

The pick: over 162.5

Dayton @ Saint Joseph’s

Tip off: 8 p.m. EST

Broadcast: CBS Sports Network

Spread: Saint Joseph’s +2.5

Total: 142.5

This game is a trap!! The sportsbooks are leading you off a cliff.

You have to be smart like the pup in the video and don’t jump off.

Dayton is a tank. They are the top team in our Other Top 25 poll for a reason. The Flyers have won 14 of their last 15.

I think they falter here. St. Joe’s freshman center Christ Essandoko can give DaRon Holmes II resistance on the block. Saint Joe’s has five different players who average more than 10 points per game. The Hawks are a well-balanced team. They have played tough against the elite talent in the league. They beat Princeton in the non-conference and took Kentucky to overtime. They won’t be intimidated and will take the home upset win here.

The pick: Saint Joseph’s +2.5

Nevada @ Utah State

Tip off 9 p.m. EST

Broadcast: Mountain West Network

Spread: Utah State -5.5

Total 147.5

Utah State is coming off a tough road loss against San Diego State. This is a good bounce back spot. The Aggies have been dominant at home and have won their last three games at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum by 20+ points.

The Wolf Pack lost its last three road games by margins of 34, 5 and 12.

I don’t think Nevada will have an answer for Utah State big Great Osobor. Utah State defends the perimeter well. Take Utah State to cover this game without a sweat.

The pick: Utah State -5.5

Boise State @ Colorado State

Tip off: 9 p.m. EST

Broadcast: Mountain West Network

Spread: Colorado State -5.5

Total: 139.5

It’s a shame this game will not be broadcasted on national tv. The Mountain West has become of the premier conferences in college basketball this year. These two teams are confidently in the tournament field.

Colorado State was the conference darling in the non-conference. The Rams won their first nine games with wins over Colorado, Washington and Creighton in the process. They are just 5-4 in conference play, which reflective of the Mountain West’s depth.

Boise State has been the best road team in the conference. They are unbeaten on the road in league play and won at New Mexico last week. They play position-less basketball and are very versatile throughout the lineup. They rank 12th in the nation in 3-point defense. They will give issues for CSU’s offense.

I think Boise is the better constructed roster. Colorado State is regressing back to their mean. This Boise St team is old, tough and discipline. Giving them 5.5 points is too much here.

The pick: Boise State +5.5

Saint Mary’s @ Pacific

Tip off 11 p.m. EST

Broadcast: ESPN2

Spread: Pacific +21.5

Total 129.5

The Gaels are coming off their biggest win of the year at the Kennel by beating Gonzaga by two. Now they have to get motivated for a game against a Pacific team who is winless in the WCC. The Tigers have been playing better over their last three games. They held a halftime lead against Gonzaga. They only lost by six to San Francisco.

Pacific only scored 28 points in their last matchup against Saint Mary’s, a 48-point loss. I think the spot favors Pacific here. Saint Mary’s has started out slow while playing inferior opponents in the league. While it may be ugly to watch at times, Pacific will cover this big number.

The pick: Pacific +21.5