College hoops is officially up and running! Be sure to follow along on Twitter, as news changes quickly, and live plays present themselves — @julianedlow. Tuesday night features the Champions Classic, one of the biggest early season events each year. There are some other really strong games on the board, so there’s plenty to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Western Kentucky is a very high quality team, so I don’t want to look past them. The Hilltoppers already have wins over good Northern Iowa and Memphis teams, and held a lead for much of the game against West Virginia before failing to cover by the hook. I think this game against Louisville should be much like that. The Cardinals have taken care of business against the two cupcake opponents, and also escaped Seton Hall with a one-point victory. This should be a battle, but in the end, Louisville should have enough matchups to take advantage of to have an edge.
The Golden Eagles have lost significant pieces over the last couple of years, but have still managed to put some good pieces on the floor this season. Senior leadership at point guard and center is key, and Marquette has it. Oklahoma State is a good team, but a young team. It relies on Cade Cunningham, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, who’s scored at least 20 points in each of his first two games at the college level. Both of these teams have yet to be tested, but Marquette has been more dominant thus far. The Cowboys had some trouble breaking free from a decent UT Arlington squad in their debut. And while all the hype is on one freshman, Dawson Garcia has been spectacular for the Golden Eagles. I’ll go with the more veteran team in the first big test of the year.
As the day goes on, this is becoming my favorite play. If you asked me on Monday, I’d have made this matchup right around a pick’em, and leaned to Davidson. However, a lot has happened since then. The Wildcats hung tough with a very experienced Texas team on Monday, losing by two as eight-point dogs. Texas is a team I’m very high on this year, and it seems like they actually are legit — as I write this, Texas is blowing out Indiana. This Hoosiers squad absolutely wrecked Providence on Monday, 79-58. I think the Friars are very fade-worthy in the early going, and Davidson might be better than advertised.
The Champions Classic is one of my favorite events of the year. While Michigan State hasn’t historically done well against Duke in it, I think this year will be different. Duke has an impressive class, and freshman Jalen Johnson put up 19 points and 19 boards in his debut. But the Blue Devils really took their foot off the gas, beating Coppin State by just 10 points, losing the second half by seven points. That type of effort won’t get it done against the Spartans. MSU was tested by a real team in its last outing, taking down Norte Dame by 10, in a game that wasn’t quite as close as the final score. I like the more veteran team early.
Similar thought process with this game, except the line has grown to make Kansas a more heavy favorite. I have no issue backing the Jayhawks at this number, against a Kentucky team still learning the ropes. Per usual, the Wildcats have a completely overhauled roster, and while there are some solid prospects like BJ Boston, we’re still seeing growing pains. While Richmond is a very good team this season, it still upset Kentucky as eight-point dogs on Sunday. Now two days later, Kentucky has a quick turnaround to face a veteran team that plays very well on defense. The Jayhawks have already had the ultimate test this season, falling to Gonzaga. The Zags are the best team in the nation, and even in a losing effort, should help Kansas be more prepared.
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