11.5. That was the spread for Saturday's Ball State/Kent State game. The gambling gods were not kind to us, as the Cardinals fell to the Golden Flashes by twelve when we had BSU and the points. The four KSU free throws in the final minute of a game that was essentially already decided makes for a bitter pill. Anyone not a sports bettor looking for a laugh, hit the sportsbook next time you're at a casino. It's quite a sight to see seemingly rational individuals lose their mind because a true freshman at Avocado A&M bricked a pair from the charity stripe to fall just short of covering the spread. Kid's probably shaving points. I would. Would you? Hell yeah you would. I don't think we're supposed to be talking about this. Let's win a little something for the collection plate. Your January 12th picks:
Northern Illinois at Bowling Green (-8)
It's a considerably sexier matchup on the gridiron is it not? You could argue that to this point Northern Illinois has overachieved. This squad had nothing cooking when the season began. The Huskies are certainly capable of being worse than 6-7 after 13. That said, their best win so far is a November 16th 60-59 home win over San Jose State (RPI: 249.) They opened MAC played on Wednesday against Buffalo, falling 67-46. The Huskies are last in the MAC in points per game, field goal percentage, and 3 point percentage. They clean up on the boards though, pulling down 42 per contest, best in the conference. The Falcons are looking to stop the bleeding. BGSU has lost three straight, including a 56-51 decision to Eastern Michigan (RPI: 41) on Wednesday. That's one of four games the Falcons have played this season against teams in the RPI top 50. Were it not for the Huskies, Bowling Green would be last in the conference in scoring, so don't expect these two to light up the scoreboard on Sunday. Richaun Holmes is on an impressive run, averaging just shy of 18 points his last eight games. Bowling Green hung with EMU, Northern laid an egg against Buffalo. Take the Falcons, lay the points.
Akron at Ohio (-4.5)
Streaky Akron. Started the season winning four straight, followed by three losses, followed by three wins. The Zips have one win in the RPI top 100 (Cleveland State), and three in the top 200 (Oral Roberts, Oregon State, Detroit.) The game with Ohio could turn out to be a close one, and Akron had better hope it doesn't turn out to be a battle on the free throw line. The Zips are the worst free three shooting team in the MAC at a cringe worthy 61.9 percent. Demetrius Treadwell and Quincy Diggs will need some help on Sunday if they are to knock off Ohio. The Bobcats have the MAC's leading defense, yielding a scant 64.1 points a contest, the 33rd best defense in all of Division 1. At 11-3 Ohio has netted some impressive wins. The Bobcats have three wins against top 100 RPI opponents, (Northern Iowa, Richmond, and Mercer), and produced impressive efforts against UMass and Ohio State. The Bobcats could be the class of the MAC East this year, Akron figures to be in that conversation, and Buffalo is a comer. I say Ohio delivers the first blow, but there's a lot of talent in the East this year, and it should be fun to watch the Zips and the Bobcats battle it out. Take Ohio, lay the 4.5.