The third week of the 2020-2021 college basketball season gets started with an incredible slate of Tuesday games thanks to the return of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and all the December 8 CBB lines are live on BetRivers.com.
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Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, breaks down the December8 CBB lines and has questions to ask about Duke-Illinois.
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COLLEGE BASKETBALL ODDS: TUESDAY DECEMBER 8 CBB LINES
#6 ILLINOIS (3-1) at #10 DUKE (2-1), 9:30 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Duke -175, Illinois +143
SPREAD: Duke -3.5
OVER/UNDER: 146.5 points
Click here for the full list of Illinois-Duke odds.
This line does not make any sense to me, but I also may be the one person on the planet that is the lowest on this Duke team.
I’m just not buying them as the No. 6 team in the country, which is where KenPom has them ranked. And I’m certainly not buying Illinois as the 24th-best team in the country. To me, that reads as fun with small sample sizes and tricks played by recruiting class rankings.
Duke has no kind of interior presence. They are going to play Jalen Johnson and Matthew Hurt at the four and the five. I’m not convinced Wendell Moore or Jordan Goldwire will be the answer to slow down Ayo Dosunmu, and I’m really concerned about the rest of their backcourt overall. Throw in the lack of a home-court advantage with the Cameron Crazies nothing but cardboard cutouts, and this seems like an obvious spot to back Illinois coming off of a loss to maybe the best team in college basketball in Baylor.
Now, that said, I also tend to lean towards the over here.
If Kofi Cockburn is on the floor, I don’t see how Duke is going to be able to slow him down. Johnson is not a post presence. Hurt weighs about 70 pounds less than Cockburn. Mark Williams is a promising freshman, but he’s absolutely a long-term project, not someone that will be able to handle a 6-foot-11, 290-pound behemoth right now.
At the same time, if Duke is going to play five-out, that means that Cockburn is going to have to defend Hurt or Johnson on the perimeter. That is a nightmare matchup for him. Put another way, I’m not sure how either of these teams is going to get stops. Combine that with the fact that Duke wants to run and Illinois is willing to run, and I think that the over is just as good of a play.
#8 CREIGHTON (3-0) at #6 KANSAS (4-1), 5 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Kansas -167, Creighton +140
SPREAD: Kansas -3.5
OVER/UNDER: 150.5 points
Click here for the full list of Creighton-Kansas odds.
This is another matchup where I tend to lean towards the road dog more than the blueblood playing at home, and I know how weird that sounds.
Creighton has yet to really get it going offensively yet. They’ve broken 90 points in both of their last two games, but they are still shooting under 33 percent from three on the season; compare that to last year, when the Bluejays made better than 38 percent of their triples, good for sixth nationally. Marcus Zegarowski and Mitchell Ballock, who were two of the best shooters in the sport a season ago, are a combined 12-for-39 from three right now. That’s going to change.
Zegarowski is going to be the best player on the floor, but his matchup with Marcus Garrett is going to be a key. Garrett is a nightmare on-ball defender. What can Greg McDermott scheme up to get him some breathing room?
I also think that Bill Self’s insistence on starting and playing David McCormack major minutes will be put to the test here. McCormack is playing 16 minutes a night with an offensive rating of 72.8 (which is atrocious) and a usage rate of 32.6 (which is the highest on the team by a good margin). That’s to say nothing of the issues he brings defensively against everyone, let alone a team that wants to go five out. If he’s not turning every single paint touch into a dunk, and he’s not making Kansas elite defensively — think Udoka Azubuike did as a senior — than what is the point?
(That said, if I’m being honest, Kansas’ biggest issue is decision-making at this point. Not McCormack.)
Jalen Wilson has been awesome since taking over the small-ball five role, and the emergence of Tyon Grant-Foster and, hopefully, Tristan Enaruna should help move KU to five-out soon.
Will it be tonight?
I don’t think so.
And that’s enough for me to back Creighton in early December in the Phog.
#16 NORTH CAROLINA (3-1) at #3 IOWA (3-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Iowa -200, UNC +170
SPREAD: Iowa -4.5
OVER/UNDER: 157.5 points
Click here for the full list of UNC-Iowa odds.
The key to watch here is the health of Garrison Brooks, the Preseason ACC Player of the Year. Brooks sprained his ankle against Texas last week. He had not been cleared to return to practice, as of Monday. Losing the 6-10, 240-pound star on a night when the Heels have to go up against the Hawkeyes is, in a word, suboptimal.
Now, the Tar Heels have some other bodies upfront. Armando Bacot is fine, Day’Ron Sharpe has looked promising early on this season and Walker Kessler is a five-star recruit. But even with Brooks healthy, I still think Luka Garza wins that battle with the frontcourt. Garza, in back-to-back games, has outscored the other team in the first half. That’s insane.
Either way, the real issue that Iowa has is on the defensive end of the floor, particularly on the perimeter and guarding ball-screens. NC’s guards have not looked like they are really going to threaten that perimeter through the first two weeks of the season. So I’ll be on Iowa, and I’m grabbing it now before the line inevitably moves with Brooks banged up