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NCAAB News and Notes Saturday 11/21

NCAAB News and Notes Saturday 11/21

Weekend Watch
By Brian Edwards

The weekend is here and bettors have more than football to keep them occupied. In fact, there are college basketball games galore all day and night all weekend long, so let’s don’t waste any time in getting you ready for the premier contests that are on tap.

Let’s start with Rider playing at Kentucky on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened the Wildcats as 20-point favorites. This number is clearly based on Virginia’s 79-46 win Thursday over the Broncs as a five-point home favorite.

But I don’t think the number should be this inflated. For instance, Kentucky (3-0 straight up, 0-2 against the spread) is winless for our purposes and hasn’t beaten anyone by more than 16 points. The ‘Cats trailed Miami (OH.) by 18 at Rupp Arena earlier this week, but one-and-done freshman guard John Wall saved UK with a game-winning shot just before the horn for a non-covering 72-70 win over the RedHawks.

Tommy Dempsey’s team is a serious threat to Siena in the MAAC. Rider opened the season by dealing out woodshed treatment to Mississippi State at The Hump in Starkville. The Broncs cruised to an 88-74 win as live 15 ½-point road underdogs.

Since the lackluster victory over Miami (OH.), John Calipari’s squad beat Sam Houston St. by a 102-92 count in a non-lined affair. The ‘Cats clearly have issues defending right now, as evidenced by the Bearkats’ Corey Allmond dropping 37 points on UK.

When you’re looking for late-night action Saturday, take a glance at a nice non-conference matchup at the Thomas & Mack Center. That’s where UNLV will host Southern Illinois from out of the Missouri Valley Conference at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

LVSC opened Lon Kruger’s team as a seven-point favorite. The Rebels are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Pittsburgh State (91-52) and Nevada (88-75). They took the cash in Thursday’s win over the Wolf Pack as six-point home favorites.

Oscar Bellfield scored a team-high 22 points for UNLV. Freshman Justin Hawkins came off the bench to score 16 points.

Southern Illinois has also won its first two games, trouncing UT-Martin 91-63 as a 14 ½-point favorite in its opener. The Salukis then knocked off Indianapolis 84-69 in a non-lined affair.

Kevin Dillard, who averaged 12.2 points per game and shot 3-pointers at a 45.2-percent clip as a freshman last year, is SIU’s team leader this season. Dillard is averaging a team-high 15 points and seven assists per game to date.

Oklahoma will go on the road to face VCU at 7:30 on Saturday. The Sooners are 2 ½-point favorites at most spots. They have won their first two games against cupcake foes, but ULM took the money in a 72-61 loss at Oklahoma in the Sooners’ lone lined game as 24-point home ‘chalk.’

VCU lost its head coach Anthony Grant and its best player in guard Eric Maynor. The Rams beat Bethune Cookman in their opener, but they are coming off an 83-67 loss at Western Michigan as 5 ½-point road favorites.

Siena, which has won first-round games over Vandy and Ohio St. in the NCAA Tournament the last two years, will play at Temple on Saturday night. LVSC opened the Owls as five-point favorites, but most books had Temple favored by four late Friday night.

Fran Dunphy’s team is in bounce-back mode following a 46-45 loss at Georgetown. Fortunately for gamblers backing the Owls, they easily covered the number as 10-point road underdogs. They also took the money by winning at Delaware 76-56 as 7 ½-point road favorites in their opener.

The Saints are 2-0 with wins at Tennessee State (85-69) and vs. Northeastern (59-53). They covered as 14-point favorites against the Tigers, but the Huskies hooked up their backers as eight-point road ‘dogs at Siena.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--In the consolation game of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden, Ohio St. beat Cal by a 76-70 score as a 3 ½-point favorite. The total closed between 145 and 147 depending on where you placed your bets, so the 146 combined points might have been a winner for some, yet a loser for others.

--In the title game at MSG, Syracuse blasted North Carolina 87-71 as a 1 ½-point underdog. The 158 combined points fell ‘under’ the 160-point total. Wesley Johnson stole the show with 27 points and nine rebounds, while senior guard Andy Rautins finished with 11 points, seven steals, seven assists and seven boards. Johnson is a junior who sat out last season after transferring from Iowa St.

--Cornell started the season by winning at Alabama and at UMass, but the Big Red went down Friday vs. Seton Hall. The Pirates captured an 89-79 victory as four-point road underdogs. Keep an eye this Cornell squad, however. The Big Red play at Syracuse on Tuesday and at Kansas on Jan. 6.

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