Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST.
9:30 PM EST. Wichita State was sitting at 24-5 at one point last season but then they lost three of their last four games, including a first round NCAA Tournament defeat against #13 seed Marshall. That was the first time since 2013 that the Shockers failed to win a game in the NCAA Tournament but what is notable is that this is a mid-major that has made an impact and that the market follows closely. It is therefore no secret that that the Shockers lost all five starters from last year, including Landry Shamet, Conner Frankamp and Shaquille Morris. As a result, the Shockers stock is way down because of it. We’re now the beneficiaries of a market that has overreacted to the Shockers starting from scratch. Make no mistake that Coach Gregg Marshall has brought in some talented players to fill the void and and although the Shockers are just 7-5, there is no shame in losing to VCU, Oklahoma, Alabama or Davidson. The Shockers other loss was in their very first game of the year against Louisiana Tech, when their coach was just beginning to evaluate or see what he had to work with. 12 games in and the Shockers are not going to be an easy out. The freshmen trio of Jamarius Burton, Erik Stevenson and Dexter Dennis are starting to provide options. The frontcourt returns Markis McDuffie and he’s a beast. The 6-8 senior missed the beginning of last season with an injury and never really got going after that but two years ago McDuffie averaged a team high 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds. The Shockers have a quality big man to work the offense through and we don’t see where this well-coached team should be taking back this many points in a game they can win outright in. The Shockers have played a tougher schedule than the Tigers (Memphis ranks 163rd in SOS while Wichita ranks 95th), yet their respective records are almost identical.
The excitement about the future in Memphis under Penny Hardaway has run head-on into the reality of the present. And the reality is that this is a team with a low ceiling. The team’s two top-100 wins are against No. 70 South Dakota State and No. 97 Yale, both of which were at home and the latter of which required two overtimes. Memphis is 8-5 (a half game better than Wichita) but those eight wins came against some ugly competition starting with Tennessee Tech and including, Canisius, the aforementioned Yale and South Dakota St., UAB, Little Rock, Tennessee State and Florida A&M. The Tigers play fast but they’re sloppy and absolutely not disciplined enough defensively to be spotting this many points to an equal opponent.
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#661 Wichita St. +6½ -103 (Risking 2.06 units - To Win: 2.00)