College basketball expert picks and predictions
It is a very, very light night on the college basketball side of things with five total games. Exam weeks are happening, so the schedule is a little bit wonky. Like I’ve talked about, a lot of schools go on break next week or the week after, so we might as well get used to some small cards. We’ll also have some really weird games with teams trying to stay close to home, so that could lead to some really big spreads as we move forward throughout December.
That isn’t the case tonight, as the biggest spread on the board is seven points at time of writing. By the way, there are only nine games tomorrow, so it will be another very small card.
Here are some thoughts on the December 7 card (odds from DraftKings):
7:30 p.m. ET
Little Rock looks to be a team on the rise in the OVC and they will play their lowest-ranked opponent of the season in tonight’s game against Central Arkansas. What is most impressive about LR’s three-game winning streak over Tulsa, Ball State, and Arkansas State is that they’ve done it without Texas A&M transfer KK Robinson, who averaged 19 points per game over the first five games before missing all of those wins.
I couldn’t find anything concrete as to whether or not Robinson will play tonight, but senior Jamir Chaplin has averaged 16.1 PPG and 8.3 RPG, while DeAntoni Gordon, who missed the 26-point win over Ball State, came back with 14 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Arkansas State. The Trojans have a lot of scoring options and also get to the rim at a much higher rate than the Bears.
What really hurt Little Rock early in the season was their defense, but that has improved recently as well, as they allowed .902 points per possession to Arky State and .985 PPP to Ball State in their last two wins. They also had a better performance against a decent Tulsa team with 1.029 PPP allowed, which is their fourth-lowest mark of the season.
Central Arkansas ranks 318th per Bart Torvik in adjusted offensive efficiency, 351st on defense, and ranks 343rd in the country in 2P% on offense. They’ve made a few 3s here and there, but their awful numbers are against the 250th-ranked schedule per Torvik and 269th per KenPom.
One team is on the rise, while the other has allowed at least 10 made 3s in five straight games and has allowed 1.244 and 1.449 points per possession in the last two games.
Pick: Little Rock -6