Oklahoma Sooners boasts best player, Trae Young
January 02, 2018 5:27 PM
by Ramon Scott
It is going to take some performance to wrestle the title of college basketball’s best player away from Oklahoma guard Trae Young.
Young did it again on Saturday, leading the Sooners to a double-digit comeback over the final 10 minutes against host TCU. While there are several great stars continuing their emergence this season including Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson and Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, only Young is breaking out as the must-see player game-in and game-out.
Meanwhile, our list of underachievers is led by Michael Porter Jr., of Missouri, who has been injured, but why all the drama? Other disappointments include Robert Williams, of Texas A&M, and Ethan Happ, of Wisconsin, who it could be argued can’t do it alone.
And our short list of unheralded stars includes Arizona State’s Tra Holder, TCU’s Kenrich Williams, Villanova’s Mikal Bridges and Kentucky’s Hamadou Diallo.
Finally, the player of the year candidate that gets no pub is St. Mary’s senior Jock Landale, another in the line of Australian nationals with the Gaels.
North Carolina (+2.5, 164) at Florida State (Wed., 4, ESPN2): Nineteenth-ranked ‘Noles are on an 8-2-1 ATS run at home this season and are also on a 9-3 run to the OVER at home dating back to the first week of year. No. 12 Heels failed to get the money at home in ACC opener vs. Wake on Saturday and are at tough UVa after this. FSU lost its conference opener at Duke, but got the money at +12.
Kentucky (-5.5, 158) at LSU (Wed., 5:30, SECN): Seventeenth-ranked Wildcats have seven-straight OVERs coming in and the Tigers are 13-3 to the OVER at home back to last mid-December. LSU has had a soft schedule of late, including a home loss to Sam Houston State, but knocked off Houston at home. UK crushed Louisville on Friday then won its SEC opener at home over Georgia.
Arizona (-2, 144) at Utah (Thu., 6, ESPN): No. 16 Arizona and wonderful frosh Deandre Ayton got a big conference opening win over ASU Saturday night in a late push, as only early backers claimed the cover. Utes have gone UNDER in five straight games and are 1-8-1 to the UNDER back to last February. ‘Cats now have won eight straight and have actually settled to go UNDER in three straight.
Cincinnati (-6.5, 134.5) at Temple (Thu., 6, ESPN2): Owls have spread woes of late with a 1-6-1 ATS mark and 0-9-1 at home back to last February. The 23rd-ranked Bearcats, meanwhile, are in UNDER form with a 2-7 streak to the low and a renowned 45-13-2 historical UNDER run on the road dating back a little more than five years.
UCLA (-5.5, 155) at Stanford (Thu., 7, FS1): Stanford is currently in a 1-7 streak to the UNDER following a high-scoring conference opening loss to Cal that saw the Cardinal record fall to 6-8 overall. The Bruins are at a season high confidence level following a home sweep of the Washington schools, giving them three straight covers and five of last seven to the OVER.
Northwestern (+5, 137.5) at Penn State (Fri., 5, FS1): Penn State is off to a strong UNDER start at home this season with six straight lined contests to the low. Lions had a bad home loss to Rider on Friday as part of a soft five-game stretch into the B10 opener on Tuesday at Maryland. ‘Cats opened at home with Nebraska on Tuesday and have gone UNDER in six of last nine.
Oregon (-4.5, 142.5) at Oregon State (Fri., 7, FS1): Ducks are on a bad 2-8 ATS run coming into this one and have a 1-1 conference mark after covering double-digits at home against Colorado on Sunday night. The Beavers lost a pick’em game at home against Utah on Sunday, while the Ducks beat the Utes by 10 two nights earlier to cover the hook.
Xavier (-4, 154) at Providence (Sat., 9, FOX): Ninth-ranked XU took a nine-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s home game with Butler with its only loss this season coming to Arizona State. Providence has covered just three of the last 13 games and has gone OVER in nine of those 13. Providence was 1-1 in the conference coming into Wednesday’s home game with Marquette.
Florida (+1.5, 147) at Missouri (10, CBS): The Gators (1-1 SEC) beat Vandy at home on Saturday, but were just 1-6 ATS of late heading into Tuesday’s road game at A&M and had gone UNDER in five of those contests as UF continues on the decline so far this season. Missouri lost and failed by a point to Illinois in a 6-point loss on Saturday heading into Wednesday’s conference opener at South Carolina
Seton Hall (+2.5, 153) at Butler (Sat., 11:30, FS1): After a huge win over Villanova, 101-93, on Saturday Butler had covered seven of the last eight and was OVER in seven in a row heading into a tough Tuesday road game at XU. But it is 21st-ranked Seton Hall getting the attention from these two at the polls. The Pirates are off to a 2-0 conference start, including 90-84 at home vs. Creighton last week.
Arkansas (PK, 172.5) at Auburn (Sat., 3, ESPN2: The Hogs are on a 9-3 run to the OVER into Tuesday’s road game at Mississippi State, while AUB is 4-1 to the OVER so far at home this season and 13-3 to the high, back to mid-December 2016. Arky needed OT in its SEC opener to beat UT, 95-93, but failed to cover two more points. The Tigers had a 10-game win streak, but were dogs on Tuesday at Knoxville.
Oklahoma (+3.5, 175) at West Virginia (Sat., 4:15, ESPN2): The must-see Sooners rallied big to win at TCU as a slight ‘dog on Saturday for their ninth straight win into Wednesday’s home game with OSU. Seventh-ranked Sooners had gone over in 10 of 11 games this season into the game with the ‘Pokes. Fifth-ranked WVU had a 12-game win streak of its own before Monday’s near toss up at Kansas State.
Kansas (-1.5, 160) at TCU (Sat., 6:15, ESPN2): Fifteenth-ranked KU got the money in a six-point road win at Texas on Friday’s conference opener heading into Tuesday’s big home game with 22nd-ranked Texas Tech. The Frogs (12-1) are eighth in the rankings despite the collapse against the Sooners and they had a tough game last Tuesday at Baylor and went over in six of seven into that one.
Utah St. at UNLV (Sat., 7, ATTSN): The Rebels hopefully got a wakeup call on Saturday in their home loss to Boise and have now failed in four straight contests as favorites. They went OVER in those four games, before Wednesday’s MWC game at San Jose State. UNLV continues to roll as an OVER this season, including 11 in a row at home so far. USU beat the Spartans by 14 at home last week.
Michigan St. at Ohio St. (Sun, 1:30, CBS): The Bucks had failed four straight into Thursday’s road toss-up at Iowa in their B10 opener. OSU has gone UNDER in five straight home games this season. The third-ranked Spartans a 13-game win streak into Thursday’s conference opener at home vs. Maryland. Sparty went into that with four-straight OVER and a historical 26-11 OVER mark on the road over nearly the last three years.