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Winning Points
Jan 28, 2015 46 Years of Excellence in SPORTS Handicapping  
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7 pm
Villanova* over Creighton by 25

Besides the two blowout defeats to Creighton last season, Villanova comes in off a loss, an ugly one, at Georgetown on Monday night. Ain’t got no lookahead, only Depaul, who they’ve already beaten. Creighton comes in on an 8-game losing streak, and second-leading scorer, guard Isaiah Zierdenm will be missing his first game with an injury issue. ‘Nova head coach Jay Wright is waxing his violin bow so he can play a sad tune for them that resonates throughout the building. Creighton, a 50% shooting team from the field last season, is currently hitting only 41% of their shots. VILLANOVA, 75-50.

Added-Board College Hoops

9 pm
Idaho State* over Portland State by 8

Right back with the Idaho Staters. They hung in there for us the other night, taking +4.5 and losing by only 3. Being home and playing that zone for most of the game frustrates opponents, especially when the opponent has been on tour in the Great American Northwest, outside of its comfort zone. Portland State faced man-to-man for most of the game at up-tempo Weber State on Thursday. This is a much different affair, and for Idaho State, Portland State doesn’t own as many athletic mismatches as Sacramento State did. IDAHO STATE, 68-60.


2:15 pm
Minnesota* over Illinois by 18

The Gophers are desperate. They’re only 1-6 in Big Ten play. But they’ve been a little unlucky. It appears luck bounces their way here, with Illinois coming in minus two key guards, Rayvonte Rice, who has been out for a while, and Aaron Cosby, who has missed one game. They were able to beat Purdue without both in their last game, but Purdue was playing without leading scorer Kendall Stephens, a guard, leaving them with a bunch of big stiffs on the floor. Minnesota is a guard-laden squad whose strength is now a big edge vs. what is becoming a weakness for Illinois. MINNESOTA, 76-58.

Added-Board College Hoops

9 pm
Idaho State* over Sacramento State by 5

Idaho State comes home off two road losses, nice and angried up. For the first time in school history, Sacramento State is ranked in’s Mid-Major Top 25 men’s basketball poll, at #25. Big friggin’ whoop. No poll affects how teams play. Polls react to results, they don’t anticipate the next results. Sacramento State beat Eastern Washington 90-77, home, on Saturday to assume first place in the Big Sky Conference. You know what happens when you assume, right? Nowhere to go but down from here. Eastern Washington was a favorable style game for them. Up and down the floor in a hurry. Idaho State will be deliberate. When Sacramento State has to deliberate, they think too much. Half-court games are usually frightening for them. Although Idaho State plays a zone and Sacramento State is making 40% of their three-pointers, they don’t really take a lot of them per game – only 16. IDAHO STATE, 69-64.


9 pm
Washington over Colorado* by 12

The Huskies have a reputation for being a poor road team, but every dog has its night. Colorado is a depth-shy team whose third-leading scorer, Xavier Johnson, has missed two games with an ankle injury and is now suspended for tonight’s. Obviously, some internal issues goin’ on there. Johnson is a 6’7”, 230 forward averaging 12.8 ppg and 5.4 rebounds. Given that leading scorer and rebounder Josh Scott has also missed two games, Colorado will either be weakened, or very weakened in a spot that is Washington’s strength. No word on whether he’ll play or not tonight, but if he does, his missing wingman will allow Washington to overplay Scott. Washington has been playing much zone defense, and when a team’s #1 and #3 scorers are big men, as is the case with Colorado, it means that there aren’t many good outside-shooting guards. This team seems tailor-made to be beaten by a zone with good length, which Washington has plenty of. They lost 91-65 here last season, very nice motivation. They’re mindful of it, and, says leading scorer guard Nigel Williams-Goss, ‘We know that we can go into other people's territory and play well.’ Alrighty then. Just make sure you play well and win, kid. Or, play poorly and win. Either way, we’ll take it. WASHINGTON, 70-58.


8:05 pm
Oklahoma City over Washington* by 9

Fifth game in seven nights for OKC, second of back-to-backs coming out of Miami last night. But they are three games behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the West. Gotta keep playin’, man. It gets no easier after this with more road games coming right up at Atlanta and Cleveland, two of the hottest teams going right now. The Wizards are playing their final game prior to a long, Western trip. The bags are packed, and after playing a bunch of bums lately, their competitive energy could be packed along with them. OKLAHOMA CITY, 99-90.


7:35 pm
Oklahoma City* over Miami by 15

‘Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade hobbled, happy after 3-2 road trip,’ says the headline. If Wade’s happy, then everybody must be happy and looking forward to a little rest. They can get it while they go through the motions against the Thunder in tonight’s game, which takes place with only one day between their win at Sacramento and tonight’s tip-off. The Thunder are still 3.5 games out of a playoff spot in the West. They can’t afford to take anyone for granted like New Orleans did last night in New York. They have a stretch of games vs. Eastern Conference teams to help them pad the record. OKLAHOMA CITY, 105-90.


7:35 pm
Cleveland* over Chicago by 13

The Bulls’ Derrick Rose looks like a 16-year-old kid next to LeBron James. Every time James looks at him, he must think, ‘You were the MVP that year? What a joke!’ James has been back in the lineup for two games. The Cavs are back home, and they had two days to recover and prepare for the next opponent, not one, which would have been bad. Kevin Love might not play, which would be just fine, because Kevin Love is the most overrated player on the planet. He took Minnesota nowhere, and this team will carry him, never the other way around. Chicago has lost three of four and Joakim Noah, the glue, remains sidelined with an ankle injury. A week ago, Cleveland was the media’s ‘Woe is them!’ team. These things are always changing. CLEVELAND, 107-94.


8:30 pm
Washington* over Oregon by 12

Washington is big; Oregon is not. Oregon has some internal distractions. Washington does not, at least none that anyone knows about. Oregon has played only one (1) true road game this season and left it on the floor in an overtime loss at Washington State on Thursday. Oregon owned offensive glass 13-5 vs. Washington State but still couldn’t win. Washington figures to own offensive glass against them. WASHINGTON, 71-59.


OVER 210.5
LA Clippers at Sacramento

Who’s playing any defense? Sacramento never does, and their new owner cares so little about defense that he wants them to experiment with a basket-hanger on defensive possessions. Blake Griffin and DeMarcus Cousins will score on each other at will. Chris Paul knifes his way through the Kings’ matadors for driving buckets, or dish-and-swish to somebody else. When Griffin isn’t scoring, he has developed into a pretty good passer, leading all frontcourt players in the NBA with 5.0 assists per game (next-highest is Chicago’s Joakim Noah, 3.7).

Rudy Gay missed a game for Sacramento the other night in Miami and the Kings scored only 83 points. That oughta wake them up and make them realize that without Gay’s shot-hogging, there are opportunities for other guys to have some fun for a change. Head coach Ty Corbin: ‘I thought we couldn't create pace all night. Miami wanted to play at a slow tempo, so we talked about creating pace and pushing the ball down the floor. We ended up falling into a trap and playing at a pace that was favorable to the other team.’ Hard to believe that this particular team could do that stupid thing twice in a row, especially when the last thing the Clippers want to do is play at a slow tempo. SACRAMENTO, 116-112.


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