A couple of years in the past, a Division I head coach advised ESPN that he all the time worries about video games throughout the holidays. Unusual issues can occur as gamers take into consideration going residence and seeing relations they have not seen in years, he mentioned. Gamers are fatigued. They want a break. And who may blame them for occupied with a great home-cooked meal and an opportunity to relaxation?
This stretch issues, although, as a result of each coach within the nation desires to enter the break with some momentum; a great win, earlier than everybody hops onto flights or into vehicles, may observe groups into late December and January, the crucial interval when most groups start the majority of their convention schedules. A loss? That would linger and weigh a crew down for weeks. Possibly longer.
For this weekend, we have listed a handful of video games with apparent implications, and some others that function groups that crave an enormous win. Or any win. Final week, we completely predicted Kentucky‘s 87-83 victory over North Carolina. However we had no clue Michigan State would dominate Baylor the best way it did.
That is the way it goes all through the vacation season. There will likely be pleasure, blended with some heartbreak.
All odds from ESPN BET.
Friday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The preseason was promising for these groups, with each receiving votes within the AP preseason ballot. They seemed to be squads with NCAA event ambitions. However neither the Terps (losses to Davidson, UAB) nor the Bruins (loss to Cal State Northridge) are talked about in Joe Lunardi’s newest Bracketology. They’re previous the purpose of desperation as they entered the week with sub-100 NET rankings.
UCLA’s Adem Bona (12.8 PPG) has flirted together with his ceiling however hasn’t fairly reached it. And Maryland’s Jahmir Younger (17.7 PPG, 4.3 APG) has 12 turnovers over the previous three video games (which the Terps received). A victory for both could be a great vacation reward.
Medcalf’s decide: Maryland, 70-66; Towards the unfold: Maryland (-3.5)
Friday, 9 p.m. ET, St. Louis, FS1
On Dec. 12, 2020, Illinois had simply come off a win at Duke when it met longtime rival Missouri. Brad Underwood’s squad, ranked sixth within the nation coming into the sport, suffered an 81-78 loss that night time to the unranked Tigers. Rivalry video games are bizarre like that.
As we speak, it feels as if Dennis Gates and Missouri are a great distance from the squad that received 25 video games a 12 months in the past. The Tigers have misplaced back-to-back video games to Kansas and Seton Corridor, and Iowa State switch Caleb Grill (8.4 PPG) is out indefinitely with a wrist harm. Plus, they’ve a résumé-shattering loss to Jackson State.
For Illinois, Terrence Shannon Jr. and Southern Illinois switch Marcus Domask are a powerful tandem, and the Illini are high 15 in adjusted defensive effectivity. Ought to be a straightforward night time for them, then, proper? We mentioned the identical factor concerning the top-10 Baylor Bears earlier than they bought bullied by Michigan State final weekend.
Medcalf’s decide: Illinois, 79-72; Towards the unfold: Illinois (-6.5)
Saturday, midday ET, FS1
Getting into the season, each groups have been afterthoughts within the Huge East race. Windfall, which misplaced former head coach Ed Cooley to Georgetown, had been picked to complete seventh within the league’s preseason ballot. And Butler, coming off a 14-18 season, was picked to complete tenth. Each, nevertheless, are within the 50s within the NET rankings coming into this matchup. That is bubble territory.
Bryce Hopkins and Devin Carter have mixed to common greater than 32 factors per sport for the Friars, whereas Pierre Brooks (16.5 PPG) hopes to steer the Bulldogs to their eighth win in a row. This sport will likely be essential for a pair of groups chasing an NCAA event at-large bid.
Medcalf’s decide: Butler 76-73; Towards the unfold: Unavailable on the time of publication
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, Las Vegas, FOX
Throughout its run to the Last 4 final season, FAU’s energy was its skill to stall the ambitions of elite guards. Kendric Davis, the previous American Athletic Convention Participant of the 12 months, completed 5-for-15 in Memphis‘ first-round loss towards the Owls. Tennessee‘s Santiago Vescovi and Josiah Jordan-James mixed to go simply 6-for-22 within the Candy 16. Even Kansas State‘s Markquis Nowell completed 3-for-10 contained in the arc within the fabulous Elite Eight matchup towards FAU.
The Owls must take the identical method to cease Caleb Love — who scored 29 factors (4-for-9 from the 3-point line) in Arizona’s 92-84 loss to Purdue on Saturday — in the event that they hope to have an opportunity to beat the hungry Wildcats.
Medcalf’s decide: Arizona 88-84; Towards the unfold: Unavailable on the time of publication
Medcalf’s picks straight up: 18-7
Towards the unfold: 11-14