Some bad news for a good Providence team as the Friars’ A.J. Reeves, one of the better freshmen in the Big East, will miss 4-6 weeks with a foot injury. Reeves is PC’s second-leading scorer, averaging 14.2 points per game, and has been their best 3-point shooter this season, shooting 45.3 percent from long range. Here’s a look at two interesting matchups around college basketball this week. Check back for NCAAB odds.
Top NCAA Basketball Betting Picks of the Week – December 17th
You always know Princeton will play sounds basketball and not beat themselves. The Tigers (5-4) are off an 85-81 win over Iona on Saturday. Jaelin Llewellyn had 22 points and senior Devin Cannady joined him with 22 to share game-high honors. Cannady is one of the best players in the Ivy League. His 22 points moved him past Bob Scrabis ’89 (1,365) for eighth on Princeton’s scoring list, now at 1,373. Brian Earl ’99 is seventh at 1,428.
Cannady continued to chip away at the gap between his third-place spot on Princeton’s career 3-pointers list and second place, held by Douglas Davis ’12 at 276. Cannady will head to Duke with 253 career 3s. Cannady is on pace for 532 points this season, just during the regular season. If he gets to 516 (he enters the Duke game at 149), he’ll have the highest-scoring season for any Tiger since Brian Taylor ’84 in 1971-72 (676). His current per-game scoring average of 21.3 would make him the first Princeton player since Taylor in 1971-72 to finish a season averaging at least 20.0 ppg.
The Gaels were up 11 when Princeton went on a 15-6 run to tie it at 68-68 with 4:28 to play, and from there, the game was never more than three points apart until the Tigers iced it with some late free throws. Princeton’s 55 points in the second half were the team’s most in a half against a Division I opponent since scoring 57 in the first half against Lafayette on Nov. 25, 2015.
Despite missing the season’s first seven games due to injury and illness, Llewellyn still has a shot at eclipsing the Princeton freshman scoring record, held by future MLB pitcher Chris Young ’02, who scored 387 points in 1998-99. At 19.5 ppg over his two games, Llewellyn is on pace for 390 points.
Duke is the highest-ranked team Princeton has played since the last time these teams met when Duke was ranked No. 1 by the AP. Duke beat Princeton 97-60 on Nov. 14, 2010, Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 18-1. The game comes one day after Duke’s final-exam period ends. The Blue Devils haven’t played since Dec. 8 because of finals.
Duke has scored 78+ in every game this season, including 84+ nine of 10 times. Duke’s home non-conference winning streak is at 145 games – the nation’s longest active streak. Duke is 954-217 when playing as a ranked team under Coach Mike Krzyzewski, including 552-101 when playing as a ranked Top 5 team under Coach K.
No. 8 Auburn at NC State
When: Wednesday, 7 PM ET (ESPN2)
This might be the best Auburn team ever as the Tigers are off to a 9-1 start. Their lone loss was in a holiday tournament by six to Duke. Auburn is off a 75-71 overtime win over UAB on Saturday. Daniel Purifoy saw his first action since March 8, 2017, following an NCAA suspension that spanned one full season and 30 percent of this year. The redshirt junior forward saw 7 minutes off the bench against the Blazers, finishing with two points, one rebound, and a steal.
Jared Harper scored 23 of Auburn’s final 30 points vs. UAB, including 10 of 12 points in overtime. Harper finished with a career-high 31, including 15-of-16 from the free-throw line, to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
Auburn is the 10th-most efficient offensive team in the country with an average of 116.0 points per 100 possessions. The Tigers are also the 17th-most efficient defensive team in the nation. Auburn allows just 92.3 points per 100 possessions. The Tigers tout the ninth-highest adjusted efficiency margin at +23.69. After being one of the youngest teams in the NCAA last year with one senior, Auburn boasts 13 upperclassmen and has 4,182 career points returning for the 2018-19 season – eighth-highest in the country.
North Carolina State beat Penn State 89-78 on Saturday. NC State’s lead was 68-64 with 7:35 to go when the Pack clinched the game with a 12-0 run. NC State scored on six consecutive possessions during the run while the Nittany Lions had seven consecutive empty possessions. The Pack outrebounded Penn State, 40-29, and has now outrebounded its opponent in eight of 10 games.
With the win, NC State improved to 9-1 on the season and is off to the best start for a Pack team since the 2005-06 squad started the season with a 12-1 record.
Expert NCAA Basketball Picks
Princeton covers what will be a big number and NC State pulls the upset.