Tennessee suffered a big blow recently when senior starting point guard Lamonte Turner announced he would be undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. Turner, the team’s best player and leading assist man, had been dealing with a shoulder ailment over the last few months. Turner isn’t really replaceable but Coach Rick Barnes might now have an option as the Vols have added Santiago Vescovi, a point guard from Uruguay who most recently played for the NBA Global Academy in Australia.
The 18-year-old is awaiting standard NCAA and SEC clearance protocols before becoming eligible to compete in games. That likely won’t happen until early January. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups around the country. Check back for Mybookie NCAAB odds.
Top College Basketball Betting Picks of the Week – December 30th Edition
Boston College vs No. 4 Duke
- When: Tuesday, 6 PM ET
- TV: ACC Network
- Live Stream: WatchACC
Boston College (8-4) has been off since a 64-60 non-conference win over Cal on Dec. 21 in the Al Attles Classic. Boston College used a 17-4 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good and a fourth straight victory. Jairus Hamilton led BC with 18 points. He added eight rebounds in 34 minutes. Julian Rishwain and Jared Hamilton scored 12 points apiece while Derryck Thornton added 10. The Eagles trailed by 11 (50-39) with 10:10 remaining before using the 3-pointer to get back into the game.
The Eagles‘ defense forced 11 Cal turnovers in the second half. Pressure from Jay Heath led to six steals and eight points off turnovers over the final 20 minutes. For the game, BC shot 41.3% (19-46) overall but 50.0% from the floor (12-24) and from the perimeter (4-8) in the second half.
What about Duke?Duke won its fifth in a row Saturday, 75-50 over Brown. Duke took the lead for good with an 11-1 run midway through the first half and pulled away late in the second half with an 18-2 spurt. Blue Devils point guard Tre Jones missed his second consecutive game because of a mild sprain of his left foot. Jones is averaging 15.6 points and 7.1 assists per game.
Duke’s 13 steals were one shy of their season high 14 versus Central Arkansas – seven different Blue Devils had at least one steal. Duke’s bench scored 34 points and has totaled 167 bench points over the last five games (32.6 per game). For the season, Duke’s bench is averaging 25.3 points per game, its highest bench scoring average since 26.9 by the 2007-08 team.
Duke is now 988-223 when playing as a ranked team under Coach Mike Krzyzewski, including 584-107 as a ranked top five team. Duke extended its streak of at least one made three-pointer to 1,071 games – the nation’s third-longest active streak.
It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between BC and Duke. Last year, they played once and Duke rolled 80-55 at home. Cam Reddish scored 24 points, Zion Williamson had 16 points and 17 rebounds, RJ Barrett finished with 19 points and Jones added 11 points for Duke. Reddish, Williamson and Barrett were all first-round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. Jones returned to school. The Blue Devils missed 14 of 15 3s in the first half while trailing 30-28 at the break. And then Duke hit four of its first six in the second half while it pulled away. Jordan Chatman scored 16 points while Ky Bowman finished with 11 for BC.
Illinois vs No. 14 Michigan State
- When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
- Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Big Ten game, with the Spartans as preseason conference College Basketball Betting favorites and they somewhat underachieved out of conference but are the only Big Ten team without a conference loss thus far.
This is the first of two scheduled meetings between these schools. MSU visits Illinois on Feb. 11. Last year, they played just once and the Illini pulled off a 79-74 home upset when it entered with an 8-14 record and MSU was ranked ninth in the country. Ayo Dosunmu scored 24 points, and the Illini used its swarming defense to shock the Spartans.
Illinois forced 24 turnovers by Michigan State, including 17 in the first half. Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 16 for Illinois, and Trent Frazier added 15. Cassius Winston led the Spartans with 21 points. Xavier Tillman added 16. The Illini led for all but a three-minute stretch late in the game, pushing ahead by as many as 14 points. Illinois went 22 of 43 from the field (51.2 percent), while Michigan State hit 26 of 58 (44.8 percent).
Illinois comes off a 95-64 rout of North Carolina A&T on Sunday. Kofi Cockburn scored a career-high 26 points to lead Illinois. The freshman shot 11-of-16 from the floor and pulled down nine rebounds. Dosunmu scored 19 points and Alan Griffin added 18 and drained a career-high four 3-pointers. Illinois’ 11 3-point field goals tied a season high.
The Fighting Illini leads the NCAA in rebound margin (+12.7) and ranks third in offensive rebound percentage (40.1%). Illinois is No. 2 in the nation in defensive free throw rate at 18.4% (FTA/FGA), a contrast from last season when the Illini defense ranked 338th out of 353 teams in that same category (42.4%).
What about the Spartans?Michigan State won its fifth in a row Sunday, 95-62 over Western Michigan. Sophomore guard Foster Loyer scored a career-high 16 points and had six assists to lead four players in double figures. The Spartans opened the game up in the first half with a 25-0 run to take a 33-14 lead and never looked back, taking a 48-24 lead at halftime.
Winston, an All-American, did not play in the game following a bone bruise in his left knee suffered in practice on Friday. MSU handed out 28 assists on 32 field goals. Michigan State held a 46-24 advantage on the boards and scored 36 points in the paint. Michigan State closed out its non-conference slate with an 8-3 record and enters the remainder of the Big Ten slate with a 10-3 record (2-0 in league play).