College basketball best bets for Monday

A new week in college basketball starts on a holiday Monday, so we actually have quite a few early games on today’s card, including a Noon ET tip-off. I’ll just have to treat this like a Saturday and take the later games so that there’s a little bit of lead time for the write-up(s). There are a good number of later starts, they just come from a lot of lesser-known conferences.

In total, there are 29 games today, but I only looked at the ones starting 3 p.m. ET or later in the interest of fairness and advance notice. As always, check out the college basketball odds and college basketball betting splits for more info.


Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders at SE Louisiana Lions (-1.5, 135)

7 p.m. ET

Let’s head on down to the Southland Conference for this clash between Texas A&M Corpus Christi (henceforth known as TAMU CC) and Southeastern Louisiana (henceforth known as SELA). There was a little bit of turnover early this season for TAMU CC, as quality head coach Steve Lutz took over at Western Kentucky and three-year assistant Jim Shaw took over. I feel like things are settling in now and this has been a good program the last two seasons under Lutz and I think can continue under Shaw.

In this game, specifically, there are some advantages that I like for the Islanders. They are the better rebounding team. Their strength of schedule has been a good bit lower than SELA’s, but they were a good offensive rebounding team in the two Lutz seasons and I don’t see why it would stop now, especially in conference play. 

TAMU CC also has a 45.6% shot share on Close Twos, while SELA has a 38.8% shot share, so I’m thinking the Islanders get more looks at the rim in this one. That’s always important to me, especially because the Islanders are only shooting 26.3% from 3 with a 28.5% 3P Rate. I do expect that number to rise, for what it’s worth, as that’s a really low success rate.

The Islanders rank in the top 100 nationally in 3P% against at 31.9% and SELA shoots a lot of 3s, so hopefully they’ll be able to stretch the defense and make it hard for the Lions to make shots.

Lastly, TAMU CC has a 21.1% TO% on defense and SELA ranks 345th in TO% on offense at 21.4%. If the Lions are turning the ball over a lot, that will require them to make a high rate of 3s to get something out of their possessions and they’re only shooting 31.3% from beyond the arc. The Lions also rank 335th in tempo, so throwing away possessions hurts them even more offensively, especially if they aren’t making shots.

Pick: Texas A&M Corpus Christi +1.5

Lamar Cardinals at McNeese State Cowboys (-12, 146)

8 p.m. ET

A double dose of Southland in today’s article, as Lamar and McNeese caught my attention. The Cardinals are getting a 12-point head start here in what looks like an interesting pace war game. The Cowboys rank 325th in adjusted tempo per Bart Torvik and the Cardinals are 66th. McNeese only has a 13.5% TO%, so they take great care of the ball and that allows them to dictate the tempo in most of their games. Lamar has a 20.1% TO%, so there’s some ball pressure from Alvin Brooks’ team and I’m curious to see how that affects the Cowboys.

There are a few reasons why I don’t think Lamar gets blown out here. For starters, they’re shooting 37.2% from 3 and McNeese has forced opponents into a 3-point attempt on 50% of their shots. As long as Lamar shoots a reasonable percentage, that will help them offensively. McNeese shoots 41.1% from 3, but they aren’t as eager to fire away with a 3P Rate of 30.6%. They do attempt to get inside with a shot share of 45.9% on Close Twos, but Lamar’s 31.4% shot share against ranks 38th in the nation.

Lamar is a top-70 team on the offensive glass, so they have a good chance at getting some ORebs in this one. I also like that McNeese is only shooting 66.5% at the free throw line. McNeese actually had a game with 42 free throw attempts and 31 makes with just 17 shots made from the field in their conference opener against Texas A&M Commerce, a game that they won by just six points against a vastly inferior opponent.

And that’s the other reason. Will Wade’s team made some waves in the non-conference by beating UAB, VCU, Louisiana, and Michigan, but they’ve won by 6, 9, and 9 in conference play and Lamar will be the highest-ranked Southland team they’ve faced. Maybe they flip the switch against a fellow 3-0 team, but they haven’t been all that impressive yet and I don’t know that they will be tonight.

Pick: Lamar +12