With just enough college basketball games to wet our whistle Friday night here's our take on two contests, and for what they're worth, two free picks.
Betting: Friday Two-Pick
This Week's Hoops Picks Record: 3-1
Stanford -2 at Northwestern
(9 pm ET, Big Ten Network)
The 7-4 Cardinal visit Evanston for a Pac-12/Big Ten bout
with the 8-3 Wildcats
Here's how we break this game down.
Stanford has seven wins this season, but has lost its four
games against its four toughest opponents so far. The Cardinal started 3-0,
then got upset by Belmont and lost to Missouri. A few days later they fell to
Minnesota, and their last time out, Tuesday night, they lost at North Carolina
Stanford, as seven-point dogs, fell down by 17 half-way
through the second half vs. the Wolfpack, pulled to within a push of the spread
with five minutes to go, but couldn't quite get over the hump to cover the odds.
NC State shot 56 percent from the floor on the Cardinal, and
while the Pack shot 27 free-throws, Stanford shot six.
Northwestern, as it chases its first-ever NCAA tournament
bid, started 6-0 this season, but has lost three of its last five games. The
Wildcats own wins over Illinois State and Baylor, and have lost to Maryland,
Illinois-Chicago and Butler.
Last time out, Monday night, N'Western beat Texas State
74-68. But, as 15-point favorites the 'Cats trailed by a bucket at halftime.
Northwestern made 12 of 28 shots from beyond the arc against the Bobcats, but
shot just 14-for-25 from the FT line.
This game could lean toward the ugly side, as far as putting
the ball in the hole is concerned; Northwestern is shooting 42 percent from the
floor, Stanford 40 percent; the Cardinal are shooting just 26 percent from
3-point range; and both teams are holding opponents to 40 percent FG shooting
The Wildcats showed us a little something when they hung on
to win at Baylor a couple weeks ago. Northwestern has given away games in
recent seasons by blowing late leads, and while they almost gave that one away,
too, they didn't, and that's a good sign.
NCAA Basketball Picks: In what
should be a tough, low-scoring affair we'll take the Wildcats at the +2.5
points offered at Legends.
Baylor -7 vs. BYU (9
pm ET, ESPN2)
The 7-3 Bears and 8-3 Cougars get together in Waco.
Baylor only has two starters back from last season, but is
starting two seniors and two juniors. The Bears already own wins over St.
John's and Kentucky, and their three losses have come by two points vs.
Colorado, four points vs. Charleston and four points vs. Northwestern. Last
time out, Monday night, Baylor beat an outfit called South Carolina Upstate
73-57, although it had to pull away from a two-point half-time lead to do it in
a game that wasn't even lined.
The Bears have four guys averaging double-figures in points.
BYU has three starters back from last year, and that's not
to mention Tyler Haws, who's come back from mission to lead the team in scoring
so far at 20 PPG. But the Cougars haven't yet beaten anybody of note, and
they've lost their three games against their three toughest foes so far,
Florida State, Notre Dame and Iowa State.
Last time out, Tuesday night, BYU beat Eastern New Mexico
95-62, shooting 54 percent from the floor.
The Cougars are relying on Haws and F Brandon Davies witcha
combined 40 PPG) for over half their scoring.
Baylor is shooting 48 percent from the field so far this
season, the Cougars 44 percent. Both teams are limiting opponents to 42 percent
shooting, and both teams are out-rebounding foes by about four boards per game.
The Bears had a tough first half their last time out, while
BYU breezed through an inferior opponent in its most recent outing. On the
whole, Baylor shoots the ball a little better than the Cougars, and is more
balanced on offense. We also expect a better first half out of the Bears Friday
NCAA Basketball Picks:
We'll take Baylor at the -6.5 points offered at Pinnacle.
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