After a thrilling night on the college basketball odds board, the 2022 Maui Jim Maui Invitational wraps up with a trio of intriguing games. I’m honing in on No. 9 Arkansas against No. 17 San Diego State for my college basketball best bets.
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San Diego State vs. Arkansas: Spread, Moneyline, Total
If you’ve monitored my college basketball power rankings, you might’ve noticed that these programs are positioned differently than what the latest AP Top 25 poll showcases. Subscribe to the Outside Shots podcast, as Scott Phillips and I dig into all of the upcoming holiday action, including the PK85 tournaments.
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Brian Dutcher’s Blocker-Mover Offense
San Diego State’s attack was stymied by Arizona on Tuesday evening, tallying just 0.92 PPP. Not only did the Wildcats help off the Aztecs’ bigs, trapping their guards in the process, but they also “top locked” on post entries. Dutcher and the rest of SDSU’s coaching staff were clearly unprepared for either look.
Meanwhile, Arkansas fell to Creighton in its second game in Maui. But ShotQuality noted that the Razorbacks should’ve pulled out a one-point victory. Hence, Eric Musselman’s team would appear to be the one to back on the surface.
Nevertheless, the Aztecs possess a mismatch with Dutcher’s structure. For one, it revolves around ball-screen action. Although the Hogs boast top-10 defense overall, their ball-screen coverage is their most vulnerable aspect.
Assuming San Diego State is at least somewhat efficient in that regard, it’ll open up its perimeter shooting. After going 3-of-19 from behind the arc against Arizona, I’d expect some positive regression. Despite Arkansas allowing a mere 28.8% 3-point clip thus far, it’s susceptible off the bounce, which Creighton exploited.
Bounce-Back Spot For Aztecs’ Defense
Tommy Lloyd’s motion sets carved up SDSU, and Dutcher doesn’t have an ample amount of prep time for Musselman’s pro style offense.
But as long as the refs allow the Aztecs to impose their physicality via their ball pressure, they should manufacture their fair share of takeaways. The Hogs have yet to face a tenacious defense, but their turnover rate (18.5%) still ranks in the middle of the pack across Division I.
Led by Seattle transfer Darrion Trammell, SDSU utilizes a pack-line defense as well. This strategy is designed to limit dribble penetration, and Arkansas relies on that because of its heavy use of isolation scoring.
If the Razorbacks aren’t governing this contest in transition, five-star freshman Anthony Black & Co. will be forced into plenty of outside shots. Unlike Arizona, this formula isn’t ideal for Arkansas — given its below-average 32.2% clip.
Related: 2023 March Madness Futures Odds
College Basketball Best Bets Conclusion
If you’re not already subscribed to our aforementioned Discord betting channel, I backed the Aztecs on the moneyline. With a shortened rotation (and their third game in three days), the Hogs may run out of gas. If you’re unable to bet -1 or better, try to live bet this game.
Eli’s Bet: SDSU ML (-110)
Best Available Odds: SDSU
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