Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – January 27, 2024
TRENT’S NCAAB BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY – JANUARY 27, 2024 – There is a lot of parity in men’s college basketball this season. Each team has at least two losses, which means no undefeated teams remain. Auburn experienced the furthest jump from last week’s rankings, moving from 13 to eight.
Memphis fell nine spots to 19 after back-to-back losses to South Florida and Tulane. Expect a lot more moves before the conference tournaments start.
Read on for Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – January 27, 2024
Kansas at Iowa State
Kansas lost to West Virginia last Saturday, which marks their second loss in conference play this season. They dropped from third in the AP Top 25 to seven after losing last week. They have to travel to another raucous arena, the Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones fans are always loud and show up for big games. The Cyclones are ranked 23rd in the country, up one spot from last week.
These teams are similar in how they play. Neither relies on the three-pointer and scores most of their points inside the arc. Kansas moves the ball well, ranking first in the nation in assists (20.8) per game. Iowa State could thwart the ball movement if they get in the passing lanes. They rank fifth in steals (11.3) per game. They also have the second-best defensive rating (88.9) in the nation.
The area the Cyclones struggle is the free-throw line. They only make 69.9% of their free throws as a team, but three players make at least 75%. Home-court advantage should help the cause, but the team needs to knock them down if they want to beat a team as good as Kansas. Turnovers should be pivotal in this matchup between two ranked Big 12 teams.
Iowa State -5
Auburn at Mississippi State
Auburn is 16-3 and sits atop the SEC at the moment. Mississippi State is unranked, 13-6, and 2-4 in conference. Their conference wins came at home, against Vanderbilt and then-number-five ranked Tennessee. Their lineup has shrunk because role players KeShawn Murphy and Andrew Taylor, who only averaged about 11 minutes per game, have not been active for the team for personal reasons. They have been using a nine-man rotation in recent games, which should continue.
Auburn is one of the top offensive teams in the nation. They have a 120.6 offensive rating, score 83.3 points per game, and are twelfth in the country in assists (18.1) per game.
They also make 76.3% of their free throws as a team. Auburn gets to the line about 23 times per game, 35th in the nation. They recently lost to Alabama on the road and only made 14 out of 18 free throw attempts.
The Tigers also shot 20% from behind the arc on 25 attempts. They should bounce back, and head coach Bruce Pearl should get his team to take better shots in this matchup against a defensively sound Bulldogs team.
On offense, Mississippi State must limit turnovers if they want to compete. They average 12.2 turnovers per game. The Bulldogs cannot give Auburn free baskets off turnovers, or it could be a long game. They also need to make more free throws. They make 69.3% as a team and only have one player that makes more than 80% (Josh Hubbard – 81.2%). Auburn’s depth and consistency at the charity stripe should help them get the victory on the road.
Utah State at Boise State
The Boise State Broncos face the 18th-ranked Utah State Aggies at home. The Broncos are 5-1 in conference play, with their lone loss coming against UNLV. Utah State is also 5-1 in conference play and 17-2 overall. They dropped two spots after a loss at New Mexico. They had 14 turnovers and shot 23.5% from three. The Broncos must force them into a poor shooting night to gain an edge.
The Aggies average 82.2 points per game, but that number drops to 77.3 on the road. Most of their scoring comes inside the arc, as they only average six three-point field goals per game.
They move the ball well and take high-percentage shots. They make 50% of their field goals and have a true shooting percentage of 58.8%. The Broncos can slow them down inside by limiting their offensive rebounds. Boise State ranks 16th in the nation, allowing only 6.7 offensive rebounds per game. They also hold teams to just 29% from three, which is 15th in the country.
The Broncos must play their style of basketball on offense. They have a slow pace and take what the defense gives them. Their point distribution is pretty even across the board.
Utah State ranks seventh in the nation in opponents’ three-point percentage (28.1%), so expect Boise State to play inside the paint. They allow teams to shoot 53.2% inside the arc, which means Boise State should get good looks in their half-court sets. Home-court advantage should go a long way in this matchup between the Mountain West co-leaders.