The 2021-22 College Basketball season is upon us, and the nonconference schedule loaded with matchups between the top teams in the country. Below, check out my analysis and favorite bets for the Tuesday slate of games.

 

 

Michigan vs. Seton Hall

(Line: Michigan -8.5, Total 138.5, FanDuel Sportsbook)

Both Seton Hall and Michigan are off to hot 2-0 starts in this intriguing Gavitt Games matchup in Ann Arbor. Seton Hall hasn’t quite been tested yet in their first two games as they smothered their mid-major opponents, but the key takeaway has been how good their defense has been. They are giving up a ridiculous 0.61 points per possession to start the season. The addition of wiry Kadary Richmond at point guard has vastly improved the Pirates’ pick-and-roll defense along with shot blocker Ike Obiagu patrolling the paint and the emergence of Tyrese Samuel as an elite post defender. These defensive improvements for Seton Hall perfectly combat Michigan’s strengths. The Wolverines are one of the heaviest pick-and-roll teams in the country and the focal point of their offense is their 7-foot All-American bruiser, Hunter Dickinson. On the offensive side of the ball, this is where this Pirates’ team may struggle in this one. Not only is Michigan’s defense elite (ranked No. 2 in the nation per KenPom), but also Seton Hall’s best player offensive player Jared Rhoden still may not be 100% after missing the last month or so with an ankle injury. Although Seton Hall’s defense should give this normally crisp Michigan offense a ton of trouble, I don’t see them having the firepower to keep up. I see this game being relatively close throughout with Michigan pulling away at the end. Taking the points scares me in this scenario, but the under should be the right play.

The Pick: Under 138.5

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Virginia vs. Houston

(Line: Houston -7.5, Total 123, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Virginia and Houston have both had rocky starts to the season, with Houston barely escaping Hofstra in overtime and Virginia taking a home loss on opening night to Navy. The good news here is that one of these programs will get a marquee win, but the bad news is that this game is going to be very ugly. We have two teams here that play elite defense, play at a slow tempo and have undergone pretty significant roster turnover, which is why the total is sitting at 123. Where Houston excels is their ability to attack the glass and outrebound their opponents through their physicality. Tony Bennett’s Virginia teams are known year after year to be one of the most physical pack line defenses in the country and very rarely get “bullied” inside. Virginia has two 7-footers along with East Carolina import Jayden Gardner to combat Houston’s physical frontcourt. Where the Hoos are struggling is with their lackluster offense, which currently sits at 84th in the country per KenPom. They will not be getting any favors here as Houston will clog the lane and disrupt Virginia’s mover-blocker motion. That said, I do think the Virginia’s loss to Navy is a over reaction and in a game where both teams are going to struggle to score (Houston’s second-best player Tramon Mark is confirmed out for this game) I want to be on the side of the team getting points. Houston has historically struggled against pack line defensive schemes and unless Marcus Sasser is on fire from three (which is possible) Virginia should be able to keep this close.

The Pick: Virginia +7.5