As we are about to ring in the new year and all of the conference league play that comes with it, teams are looking to pad their out-of-conference tournament resume’. While Tuesday’s college basketball slate does not jump off the page as Saturday’s did, there are some very nice under-the-radar games. Here are a couple of games that should grab your attention from a betting standpoint.
Drake Bulldogs vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (-7) 5:00 PM EST
The Battle of the Bulldogs is interesting for several reasons. First and foremost, the game is taking place at a neutral site in Lincoln, NE. Mississippi State is one of just five remaining undefeated teams in the nation after Houston knocked off Virginia over the weekend.
Drake garnered some attention earlier in the season when they started the season 6-0. They have fallen on some hard times lately, losing three of their last five games. They came close to pulling off a major upset over the weekend, falling to Saint Louis by just eight points in a true road game.
Tucker DeVries leads this team at nearly 19 points per game, while former Florida State wing Sardaar Calhoun is second on the team with 9.7 points per game.
Mississippi State has been one of the biggest surprises on the season after starting 11-0. Though the competition has not been incredibly difficult, the fact that they have avoided any upsets is also impressive. Chris Jans’ club has shown that they are potentially one of the best defensive units in the Southeastern Conference.
Mississippi State currently ranks within the top 15 in all kinds of defensive metrics, while Drake is not a great offensive team. Look for Coach Jans to land his third top-100 victory of the season while covering the spread and take his undefeated record to Tuscaloosa after Christmas.
Virginia Cavaliers (-2) at Miami Hurricanes 8:30 PM EST
While the Cavaliers experienced their first defeat of the season over the weekend, they will receive an immediate opportunity to redeem themselves. The Hurricanes are one of the most surprising teams in a disappointing Atlantic Coast Conference this season at 11-1 and a couple of conference victories already under their belt.
This game will feature one of the best backcourt matchups that will occur in the ACC this season, as both teams boast talent and experience at the guard position. Isaiah Wong and Nigel Pack are in the conversation for being the most potent offensive backcourt in the ACC, while Reece Beekman and Kihei Clark are both lockdown defenders at the point of attack.
Both teams rank within the top 12 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, but the Hurricanes defense is the weak link in this game. Virginia’s defense is what we have come to expect, but the offense is far exceeding preseason expectations. The Wahoos are a top-40 shooting team from deep, while the ‘Canes rank 111th in the nation at defending the arc.
Look for Tony Bennett to get his team back on the right track in a close game in Coral Gables.