Two of the most popular teams in college hoops hit the hardwood on Tuesday, Nov. 6 so you’re probably looking for an NCAAB double header free pick. Perennial title favorites Kentucky and Duke battle it out, but before that Michigan State takes on Kansas and embattled coach Bill Self.
During the Adidas shoe scandal trial, one of the company’s consultants called out Self, but he has yet to be officially punished. Hopefully, that won’t affect the Jayhawks’ strategist because on the other side of the court the great Tom Izzo will roam the bench.
After the first State Farm Classic matchup, the two best coaches in college hoops by almost any measure throw it down on the hardwood. Coach Mike Krzyzewski, like always, boasts a slew of talented freshmen. That used to be Kentucky coach John Calipari’s way of rebuilding every season.
This season, Coach Cal has a more experienced hoops’ squad, one that should involve the freshman but might not necessarily lean on them. Will Calipari’s experienced troops win out over Coach K’s eager 18-year-olds?
This is an incredible pair of games to kick off the season, so let’s get to my breakdown my selections for tonight’s NCAAB double header free pick!
Tuesday, Nov. 6
#10 Michigan State Spartans vs #1 Kansas Jayhawks -6
Both teams return enough starters to challenge for the National Championship. Michigan State has 3 returning starters including point-guard Cassius Winston who led the team in points per and the Big Ten in assists. The ball will go through Winston on every play, which means for MSU to have any chance at upsetting Rock Chalk Jayhawk, he’ll have to play lights out.
Kansas lost Big 12 player of the year Devonte’ Graham, but return Udoka Azubuike. The 7’0” center shot 77% from the field. He could dominate the Spartans in the paint because Jaren Jackson Jr. jumped to the NBA.
One of the real reasons to like Kansas is because the Spartans perform well at neutral site games. Michigan State is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 neutral site battles. No trends point to Kansas covering the spread either, but the Jayhawks can replace Graham with a pair of top-notch point-guards in McDonald’s All-American freshman Devon Dotson and California transfer Charlie Moore.
Those two should give Winston all he can handle. If Dotson and Moore consistently set up Azubuike in the paint, there’s a chance the Jayahawks win this by more than 10 points.
NCAAB Double Header Free Pick : Kansas -6
#3 Duke Blue Devils vs #2 Kentucky Wildcats -1.5
Duke’s favored to win this season’s National Championship at +450 as we start the college basketball season. Coach K returns this year with another group of talented youngsters. Gone are Grayson Allen and last season’s nucleus. In are the top recruits in the nation: Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and RJ Barrett.
Williamson’s the one that most Duke fans are clamoring to see. Many already tout the forward as a Naismith Award finalist even though he hasn’t yet played competitively at the college level. He’s got 1.7 million Instagram followers while musician Drake was seen wearing his jersey. He can also dunk from the free-throw line and is built like a rhino.
Although arriving with much fanfare, Williamson could find the transition from high school star to college hoops master difficult on Nov. 6. Coach Calipari not only recruited well, but got Reid Travis to transfer from Stanford. Travis plays Williamson’s power forward position. He’s had success at the college level already when averaging close to 20 points and 9 rebounds as a Cardinal last season.
If Reid can contain Williamson, Duke could be in some trouble versus the Wildcats. Coach K and point-guard Tre Jones both admit he’s not a traditional floor general. There’s no telling how Coach K’s freshman will work together while Coach Cal has a freshman PG in Ashton Hagans whom he convinced to enroll in school a year early. Hagans knows the ins and outs of Calipari’s system.
Decent trends follow the Blue Devils into this one, but hot trends follow Kentucky. The Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 5-1-1 against the spread in their last 7 versus the ACC, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
The Blue Devils are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games. Although that’s a strong trend, it’s not strong enough for me to look past Coach Cal’s experience at the power forward position with Reid Travis and how for a year he’s groomed Hagans to take over at point-guard. I’m backing the Wildcats in this one.
NCAAB Double Header Free Pick : Kentucky -1.5