College Cram Session: A view from the stands

David Payne Purdum

One of the most difficult parts of handicapping college basketball for me is narrowing down the card.

With more than 80 games on a Saturday slate, it can be quite intimidating.

So how should you go about sifting through the games?

The best way, obviously, is to focus on teams you’ve seen play.

Unfortunately, that means I usually end up with the high-profile teams that are on TV the most. I seriously doubt that by watching a couple North Carolina blowouts that I have gained any more inside knowledge on the Tar Heels than the oddsmakers.

Edward Golden of Right Angle Sports takes a different approach to forming his card.

Based in Southern California, Golden focuses on local schools, specifically lower-profile teams from the Big West, Big Sky, West Coast Conference and WAC.

This is such a smart move for so many reasons.

Golden shuts down his college football service eight weeks into the season and turns his full attention to college basketball. He then attends as many scrimmages, exhibitions and practices as possible.

How many oddsmakers do you think are sitting in the crowd at California-Riverside exhibition game?

Golden’s extra legwork has especially paid off on college totals, where he won a documented 49 of his first 66 totals plays this season.

“I don’t spend really too much time on statistical stuff,” he said. “I focus more on tempo and [offensive] efficiency,” says Golden.

“I evaluate the talent and situation the teams are in. Certain teams struggle against the zone, certain teams are gong to do well against the zone. Certain teams don’t play zone. Certain teams press, and some teams can’t handle the press.”

Injury notes

•Bradley is down to only five experienced scholarship players. Leading returning scorer Andrew Warren has yet to play this season while recovering from offseason foot surgery.

The Braves lost starting sophomore center Will Egolf to a torn ACL in late November.
Bradley hosts Southeast Missouri State Sunday.

•San Diego State’s best player senior forward Lorrenzo Wade made his season debut in Thursday’s loss to Arizona. Wade was suspended for the first seven games of the season for a felony burglary charge.

•Portland State senior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez, the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year, is questionable for Sunday’s game at Washington. Dominguez has missed the last two games with a chip fracture in his right index finger.

“Hopefully, we’ll get Jeremiah back here in the next day or two, “ PSU coach Ken Bone said Friday on the school’s web site.

•Syracuse’s third leading scorer Eric Devendorf is facing a suspension for the remainder of the academic year for allegedly hitting a female student in the face. Devendorf is appealing the suspension and is expected to play when the Orange host Long Beach State Saturday.

•Undefeated Xavier got star freshmen point guard Terrell Holloway back in Wednesday’s win over Ohio. Holloway had missed several games with a stress fracture in his left foot.

“We’re just a different team when you add Terrell Holloway to the group we already have,” coach Sean Miller told the Associated Press.

Xavier is at Cincinnati Saturday.

Covers Community Q&A w/ AirForceWR19

Q: In a recent Covers post, you briefly talked about the "models" you use when handicapping games? Please briefly expand on your model for handicapping college basketball totals.

A: My models consist of the points for and points against per team in the matchup. I look at the previous three matchups leading up to the game and then use the averages.

If the team is playing a conference game or maybe a second game in two days, then I’ll add fatigue and other things that may be going on with the team.

Line movement is key also. Always watch the line throughout the day on the matchup you like.  When my models add up to the Vegas line movement, I then make the solid play. Do they win every time? No, but the percentages and value over the course of the season will produce consistent winners.

Q: Give us three teams that are flying under the radar.

A: Michigan, Miami and LSU.

Q: Three overrated teams?

A: UCLA, Michigan State and Purdue.

Q: Team to watch out for in March?

B: Wake Forest.

Q: Three Covers Community college hoops cappers you respect.

A: I have respect for all of the cappers here. But I would have to go with Rod Steel, BillyBuck and HappyKane. AirRainman and his Pipe players are classic and usually right on.

Q: What kind of car do you drive?

A: An Infiniti QX56.

Payne Pondering of the Week:

What information best benefits bettors heading into the college basketball weekend?

I’ll be with you guys throughout the college hoops season and want to make sure I’m providing the kind of information that will benefit you the most.

Do you want injury reports? Statistical breakdowns? Picks with writeups?

You make the call.

I’ll be posting my plays before Saturday’s noon tip-offs in the commenting section and hope to find lots of suggestions on what kind of info you guys want throughout the rest of the hoops season.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

Tough one, CashCow ... McD ... I hope so. Think S.D. is still getting a lot of respect off of last year's upset, but has not been playing at same level. I look for Oregon's Porter to have a big night against depleted S.D. backcourt. Let's go!
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Posted by mcdermmw
8 years ago

I like the Oregon pick, these kids are fired up to play at the Rose Garden, Torreos are lost right now
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Posted by dogpiles
8 years ago

Thank you, David. I found this article quite enlightening. I look forward to your next posting.
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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

DaRaiders ... I looked at G'Town a little bit, but was worried that Memphis maybe hasn't played its best game yet. It's a big contrast of styles, and if Calipari's TIgers can get out and run, I'm not sure the Hoyas can keep up. Tennessee looks like a solid play ... good luck.
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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

DePaul vs. UCLA Pick: UCLA -16.5 DePaul is making its second trip to California in nine days and has struggled shooting the basketball. The Bruins haven’t been playing their trademark defense, but I look for that to change against the Blue Demons, who are shooting just 37 percent on the season. South Alabama at Mississippi State Pick: S. Alabama +7 This is just the kind of game that S. Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow’s teams thrive in. The Jaguars have played a difficult schedule, including road games at Ole Miss, Louisville and Southern Miss, so I doubt the trip to Starkville will intimidate them. San Diego vs. Oregon Pick: Oregon -7 There were a lot of injury questions surrounding the Ducks, but reports from Friday’s practice have big men Josh Crittle and Michael Dunigan ready to go. San Diego, on the other hand, has already lost star guard Brandon Johnson for the season and will be without defensive specialist De’Jon Jackson against the Ducks. This will be the Toreros fourth game in eight days. I’m also hoping to find a total on the Texas A&M-Alabama game. I’ve got this game pinned at less than 125. Anyone else playing any of the early games
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Posted by DaRaiders
8 years ago

I like Tenn and GTown today. What do you think about those games
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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

super .. try betting on it.
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Posted by supercurb4x4
8 years ago

I am not much of a basketball fan. Can you give me some pointers on how to sit through a hole game
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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

Hmm ... got cut off again ... guess maybe that's I sign I should zip it. But one last thought. I believe Oklahoma will eventually be exposed by a lack of depth, erratic point guard play, and Blake Griffin can't shoot free throws.
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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

Got cut off ... Like I was saying, instead of criticizing Mr. AirForce, who, by the way, has a proven track record on here, why don't you offer your overrated teams
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Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

Why must we bang on each other during the holiday season, WarrenMoonfan
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Posted by warrenmoonfan12
8 years ago

Man, I thought he would have some more front page news than that... I could get those overrated/underrated off of Sportscenter. It would be nice to know which of those teams he thinks will have a drastic upswing or downswing. I think UCLA and Purdue will be on the other side of thinsg by the end of the season.
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Posted by elbuzzard
8 years ago

My mom drives an Infiniti QX56.
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Top Response

Posted by David_Payne
8 years ago

"DaRaiders ... I looked at G'Town a little bit, but was worried that Memphis maybe hasn't played its best game yet. It's a big contrast of styles, and if Calipari's TIgers can get out and run, I'm not sure the Hoyas can keep up. Tennessee looks like ..."