Must-Bet NCAA Basketball Weekend Games: Boise State-Fresno State, #9 Duke-Louisville

One of the best jobs in college basketball came open this week when Louisville fired Coach Chris Mack. Associate head coach Mike Pegues has been named Louisville’s interim coach for the rest of the season but the school will aim for some big names to fill the full-time job. Here’s a look at Louisville’s first game without Mack on Saturday as well as a very underrated Mountain West matchup Friday. Check back for NCAAB odds.

Weekend Odds for College Basketball 2022

Boise State at Fresno State, Friday

This is the late game on Friday at 11 p.m. ET and it’s a darn shame that it’s not nationally televised as these are both potential NCAA Tournament teams with Boise State at 16-4 and Fresno State 14-5.

Senior forward Abu Kigab helped the Broncos take a big 65-62 win Tuesday against an excellent Wyoming team. Wyoming. After the Cowboys took a 60-58 lead with 2:46 to play, Kigab scored BSU’s final seven points. With victories over Utah State (Thursday) and San Diego State (Saturday), coach Leon Rice’s club made it six wins in 13 days in five different states — while extending its overall win streak to 13 in a row.  The run ties the longest win streak in program history, set during the 2020-21 season.

The Bronco frontcourt duo of Mladen Armus and Tyson Degenhart combined for 22 points and nine rebounds. Armus finished the game with eight points and five boards, while the freshman Degenhart reached double figures for the 10th time in the last 14 games as he added 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Boise State went 5-8 from the free throw line in the final two minutes and finished the game 13-18 (.722). Over the last two games the Broncos are 22-29 from the charity stripe (.759).

Fresno State won at New Mexico on Tuesday, 65-60. Anthony Holland scored a career-high 22 points to help Fresno State to its third-ever win at The Pit. It made Justin Hutson the only Fresno State men’s basketball head coach in program history to coach the Bulldogs to a win at The Pit twice.

Junior forward and star Orlando Robinson produced early before suffering an injury, but was able to record 11 points, including five after returning in the second half and helped the Bulldogs secure the win. It’s no sure thing he will play Friday.

Fresno State has now limited its opponents to fewer than 70 points in 17 of its 19 games this season. FSU improved to 10-0 when having a better field goal percentage than its opponent (49-9 in Hutson’s tenure). The Bulldogs are now 7-0 this season when making at least 45 percent of its field goal attempts (23-7 in Hutson’s tenure).

Friday’s game against Fresno State is the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Boise State opened conference play with a 65-55 win over the Bulldogs on Dec. 28 in Boise. At the time, FSU playing without Holland, who was out because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

#9 Duke at Louisville, Saturday

It’s a noon tip on ESPN. Why did Louisville fire Mack? He was suspended without pay for the first six games of the season and Louisville is 6-8 since his return. The relationship between Mack and the fan base had also deteriorated, dating to last March when the Cardinals fell short of the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals started 9-1 but collapsed over the final two months. Overall, Mack went 68-36 at Louisville.

Duke (16-3) escaped at home vs. Clemson on Tuesday, 71-69. Freshman Paolo Banchero scored 19 points, including four in the final two minutes to lead the Blue Devils. Each of Banchero’s late buckets extended the Blue Devils’ lead to four, and Duke held on defensively in a back-and-forth affair that featured 17 lead changes. Duke finished 10-of-20 from three-point range, marking the team’s third game this season shooting .500+ from three-point range.

Sophomore Jeremy Roach matched his career high in assists for the second straight game with another 9-assist, 1-turnover performance. Over Roach’s last four games, he has 28 assists and three turnovers.  Sophomore Mark Williams recorded his fourth double-double this season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Over Duke’s last four games, Williams is 24-of-30 (.800) from the field and averaging 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Duke leads the ACC in scoring offense (82.0 ppg), field goal percentage (.491), assists (18.0 apg), assists-turnovers ratio (1.72), blocked shots (5.7 bpg) and scoring margin (+16.2).

Mack’s final game for Louisville (11-9) was a 64-52 loss at Virginia on Monday. The Cavaliers jumped to a quick, 5-0 lead to start the game after Kihei Clark nailed a 3-pointer, then pushed the lead to 22-5 nine minutes into the contest. Louisville never led and its 52 points were a season low.

Louisville picked up 30 of its 52 points off the bench on Monday. The Cardinals have scored at least 30 points off the bench in nine games. Jarrod West led the Cardinals with 14 points and four three-pointers made for the second consecutive game. West was Louisville’s leading scorer for the second straight game coming off the bench. The Cardinals’ leading scorer has come off the bench in eight games this season.

The Cardinals’ 1972 and 1982 NCAA Final Four teams will be recognized on their 50th and 40th anniversaries, respectively, Saturday.

Duke leads the all-time series with Louisville 11-9 but the Cardinals have won three of the last four matchups. UofL won two of three meetings last season, but Duke prevailed 70-56 in the last encounter in the 2021 ACC Tournament second round.

Expert Picks

  • Back Fresno State and Louisville (to cover not win)

 


 

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