Buffalo shocked No. 13 West Virginia 99-94 in overtime Friday, but is in a tough spot playing in its second straight road game against a tough Southern Illinois squad. 

By Bailey Carlin
November 12, 2018

Though many teams are still trying to find their identity, things are certainly becoming clearer with every team playing at least a game. Monday’s slate has a few intriguing matchups between some of the top teams in the country as well as some mid-majors trying to prove they belong in the mix.

Recap of Sunday’s bets:

1. Army, on Veterans Day, was listed at +40, FORTY, against Duke. For 30 minutes, Army actually looked like it had a shot at not just covering, but actually winning the game. The last 10 minutes saw Duke turn the jets on and extend the lead, winning by 22, but the colossal spread never really felt like it was in play. Going on record to say that if any spread hits 40 points again, the underdog needs to be the bet. Duke is going to continue to see insane spreads before it gets into conference play, but the team has enough offensive firepower to make most high lines a realistic play.

2. North Dakota State University and UC Santa Barbara started infuriatingly slow, with the two teams scoring only 25 points combined in the first 10 minutes. But thanks to a barrage of threes from NDSU and 20 free throws knocked down by a UCSB team that was struggling to convert offensively, slowly but surely the over climbed above 141. A real sweat for the first 25 minutes, but not so much from then on.

3. Cornell had an incredibly bad performance shooting the three (4-28), but continued to shoot from out there the entire game, playing Colgate close into the half, but never really being within striking distance to win or cover. Keep an eye out for Cornell’s next line, even though it couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn on Sunday. The willingness Cornell showed to take threes this game, and ability it showed to hit them in the team’s first two games, the Big Red are going to be putting up some very high-scoring performances in the near future.

GEARY: Power Rankings: Duke Leads the Way After a Compelling Opening Week

Here are our best gambling plays for Monday night in college hoops:

1. Buffalo at Southern Illinois (+4.5)

8:00 p.m. ET

Buffalo shocked No. 13 West Virginia 99-94 in overtime Friday, pushing its record to 2-0. Southern Illinois played a No. 2 (not for long) Kentucky team closely, hanging within a handful of points for the majority of the game and easily covering the 17.5-point spread. What we are dealing with here is an inflation due to Buffalo’s major upset against WVU. This Bulls team is a legitimate contender to win the MAC, but the Salukis are no slouch, returning five starters from a team that trailed only Loyola-Chicago in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. Buffalo has been an offensive force this season, averaging 90.5 ppg, pushing the ball at a breakneck pace, ranking 11th in tempo per KenPom. Conversely, Southern Illinois likes to slow the ball down and use the shot clock to find the right shot, ranking 300th in tempo. This game will come down to the clash between the fast-paced Buffalo offense and an even-keeled, deliberate Southern Illinois. A veteran Southern Illinois team will not panic at the Bulls’ preferred fast tempo, and will be able to force Buffalo to slow the pace, which could cripple a Buffalo team that is not shooting particularly well from the field despite the high-scoring numbers (41% from the field and 25% from three). This game screams major letdown for Buffalo, playing in its second straight road game and coming off the aforementioned overtime upset win against WVU. If Southern Illinois can slow the pace of the game, as it showed it can, this game will fall short of the points and the Salukis may not just cover, but also win.

Picks: Under 154 points, SIU +4.5

2. San Diego at No. 25 Washington (-9.5)

11:00 p.m. ET

Washington got absolutely lambasted by Auburn on Friday and, to make things worse, the team bus literally caught on fire afterward. It can only go up from there. It was clear from the first minute that there was not much Washington could do to stop the Tigers. Auburn came out of the gate hot, and took a 48-30 lead into halftime, with Washington looking NOTHING like the No. 25 ranking it was granted preseason. However, the second half told a different story, and though the game was never close, the Huskies played a very good Auburn team tight in the second half. In the team’s first game against Western Kentucky, Washington got off to another slow start, trailing 36-27 at the half, but outscored the Hilltoppers 46-19 in the second half to win 73-55 and easily cover the 9.5-point spread. In the Huskies’ last five games following a straight-up loss like they suffered to Auburn, they are 4-1 against the spread. San Diego is 2-0 against the spread through the first two games against UC Davis and Weber State, but will be an underdog for the first time this season, and Washington will be far and away the toughest test yet. Washington ranks higher in adjusted offensive and defensive officiency early on in the season. Now that Washington has had two games to work out the early-season kinks, don’t expect another slow first-half start, and to take advantage of an underwhelming San Diego defense immediately. Washington is in desperate of a statement win following the bludgeoning against Auburn, and handling a San Diego team that has not seen anyone as talented as it, at home, is the perfect time and place to get it done.

Pick: Washington -9.5

Overall Record: 5-8

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