What an amazing start for the Degen Madness tournament! 4 underdogs have covered and 2 seed Baylor was upset at the buzzer by 15 seed Washington. We have live lines and over/unders available over at MyBookie.ag .Sunday’s lineups are no slouch either. Game 1 is Oregon @ Louisville followed by Memphis @ Creighton. Both games very well could be big time upsets.
Oregon (Ore -2.5, 85.5) @ Louisville
A higher seed road favorite against a ACC blue blood? Louisville is led by 2nd year head coach Chris Mack who’s Cardinals finished the season with a 24-7 record. Mack’s Louisville team ranks 103rd in the nation in points per game and 91st in the nation in field goal percentage. Louisville is 12nd in the nation in assist as well so it’s pretty clear offensive efficiency is the strength of this Cardinals team. The downfall of this team offensively is the free throw line where Louisville is 288th in the nation.
The Cardinals clear cut best player is forward Jordan Nwora who averages 18pts and 8 boards a game. The Cardinals game plan should strictly revolve around getting Nwora the ball. Nwora is in good company with forward Dwayne Sutton 9 points and 8 boards a game. Together they are good for 26 points and 16 boards. The fate of the Oregon matchup may just be who wins the rebounding battle.
At Center the Cardinals have Steven Enoch who at roughly 10 points and 6 boards will also pose a threat to the Ducks. The weakness of this Cardinals team is perhaps the guard play. The Cards are led by Ryan McMahon (8.7 ppg) & David Johnson (6.3 ppg). Oregon will have the edge against the Cardinals back court so its essential that the Cardinals win with their bigs.
The Oregon Ducks are led by head coach Dana Altman who’s Ducks also went 24-7 during the regular season. The Ducks are 55th in the nation in scoring. The key to stopping Oregon may just reside on stopping their 3 ball. Oregon is currently 5th in the nation in 3 point shooting. The Ducks are 28th in the nation in field goal percentage and 91st in the country in assists.
The Ducks have one of the best players and shooters in the country in senior guard Payton Pritchard. Pritchard averages 20.5 ppg shooting 47 percent from the field. Pritchard can also dish the ball averaging 6 assist per game. Along side Pritchard are two other guards who can light it up with Chris Duarte (13 ppg) & Will Richardson (11 ppg). The key to the Ducks winning this game is the three guard tandem. Forward Shakur Juiston (8 ppg) & Center N’Faly Dante (6 ppg). They will be dealt the tough task of trying to stop Louisville’s bigs.
Oregon has Payton Pritchard who can hit three’s from basically anywhere on the court. Will this simulation account for that? Who knows but I can’t fade Pritchard after watching him hit countless big shots throughout his career. Give me the Ducks in what should be an upset from a seeding stand point.
Memphis @ Creighton (Cre -4, 82.5)
The Memphis Tigers were on track for potentially being a top 5 to 10 before the NCAA gave the boot to a few players including their star big man James Wiseman who was averaging 20 points and 11 boards a game. Since then Penny Hardaway has done a decent job keeping Memphis together. The Tigers ended the season 21-10. Sure, this team lacks experience but Hardaway’s Tigers are a team full of talent and athleticism.
One great example of the Tigers athleticism is that they are 6th in the nation in blocks. Led by forward Precious Achiuwa averages 16 points 11 boards and 2 blocks a game. Achiuwa will be a next level player and a likely 1st round pick. The Tigers must find a way to get Achiuwa the ball if they want any hope of upsetting Creighton. Forward D.J. Jeffries is a nice counter piece. Jeffries averages 11 points per game and shoots 39 percent from three.
The Tigers also have a talented backcourt led by Lester Quinones who averages 11 points and 4 boards a game. Alongside Quinones is gritty guard Alex Lomax who averages 7 points 4 boards and 5 assists per game. This backcourt will need to step up their play if they are going to beat Creighton. The one thing they need to improve on is taking care of the ball. Memphis is young and with youth comes recklessness which leads to turning the ball over.
The Creighton Blue Jays are one of the most explosive offensive teams in the country. Led by head coach Greg McDermott the Blue Jays are 21st in the nation in scoring and 9th in the nation at shooting the three ball. Creighton went 24-7 and won a share of the Big East title. The Blue Jays went 15-1 at home this season and it’s clear that the home court environment is one of the best in the nation.
The Blue Jays are led by 4 guards that all can shoot the heck out of the ball. Their leading scorer is junior Ty-Shon Alexander who averages 17 ppg and 5 boards a game. Alongside Alexander is guards Marcus Zegarowski (16 ppg), Denzel Mahoney (12 ppg), & Mitch Ballock (12 ppg). Together this frontline is one of the most explosive in all of college basketball. Forwards Damien Jefferson & Christian Bishop are solid contributors combining for 18 points per game and 10 boards. These bigs will be essential in stopping the height and athleticism of the Memphis Tigers.
Creighton doesn’t lose much at home. Memphis will press the Blue Jays and take them down to the wire but the Bluejays are too explosive and too good at home. Give me the Blue Jays and Ty-Shon Alexander to get a close win.