Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Colorado St +100 over Charleston
TD Arena - Charleston, SC
5:00 PM EST. Although it is listed as a “neutral site”, this game is part of the Charleston Classic so it is indeed taking place in Charleston, SC. Charleston comes in with a 3-1 record after defeating Chattanooga, Richmond and Davidson. Its only loss this year was against #1 North Carolina, 102-86. On paper it looks pretty good for the Cougars, which provides us with an opportunity to get behind the vastly superior side at a discount.
You see, Colorado State is 4-0 but three of its four wins were against perceived cupcakes in Gardner-Webb, SE Louisiana and Weber State. Furthermore, CSU’s win over Gardner-Webb was by two lousy points while they failed to cover against SE Louisiana. That’s not the best look for the Rams but trust us when we strongly suggest that Garner-Webb, SE Louisiana and Colorado St are all very undervalued.
Pat Kelsey deploys a distinctive, fast-paced system (Winthrop ranked in the top 40 nationally for adjusted tempo in his last six seasons with the program, per KenPom) and the head coach turned up the heat at CofC last season. The Cougars played at the second-fastest tempo in the country in 2022, compared to 345th in 2021. Yesterday for instance, Charleston put up 72 shots to Davidson’s 51. Charleston plays offense but if they’re not hitting shots at a high rate, they could find themselves down 20 points in a real hurry.
Charleston finished slightly better than the national average in adjusted defensive efficiency last season. However, the Cougars graduated their all-defense performer in Dimitrius Underwood. Underwood ranked 24th nationally in steal rate, and he will not be easily replaced. Additionally, the Larson-and-Smith backcourt is more offensively inclined. Dangerous, yes but Colorado State is the far better team.
Every year, a few mid-major teams get lots of early preseason buzz. Rarely do those teams live up to hype quite like Colorado State did in 2021-22. The Rams entered the fall with mountainous expectations — it was their first-ever time being the Mountain West preseason favorite, and they received 11 preseason AP votes. Then, Colorado State proceeded to muster up 25 victories, sell out five home games and earn a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament, the best in program history. This isn’t anything new for HC Niko Medved. He inherited a seven-win Furman program and led the Paladins to a SoCon title share in Year 4, and then he guided Drake to a 10-win improvement before taking the Colorado State job. So, even though last season ended on a sour note in a first-round loss to 11-seed Michigan, Nedved is a master at his craft. Given less than 24 hours to prepare for its next opponent, we’d take Nedved over just about anyone. He’ll have the Rams making life miserable for Charleston’s shooters.
Isaiah Stevens is a Bob Cousy Award-level point guard, and he has some exciting weapons around him, namely Josiah Strong and John Tonje. Spacing and scoring won’t be an issue for a CSU team that finished 24th nationally in offensive efficiency last season. However, between this year’s two non-covers to open the year, Thomas leaving the program, Roddy’s eleventh-hour draft decision, the Rams are not getting the credit they deserve. Through four games, the Rams have been shooting well and they’re playing solid defense while Charleston must rely on nothing but hot-shooting to win. Wrong side favored.
Colorado St +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)