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Courtside Players Club (2/3/24)

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(4 Picks)

8:00PM EST: Baylor -3.5 (4 Units), Langston Love Over 12.5 Points (2 Units).

Iowa State has one of the best defenses in the country but the 1 area they struggle to defend is the 3-PT Line. They're 152nd in Opponent 3-PT %, 251st in Open 3 Rate, 296th in SQ PPP against Catch and Shoot 3's, and 85th in SQ PPP against Off the Dribble 3's. They're also 356th in opponent 3-PT Rate. There are only 362 teams. 46.6% of their defensive possessions end with a 3-Point attempt. Part of that's forcing teams to settle because they do such a good job preventing you from getting to the Rim but it's a bad formula against Baylor.

Baylor's 2nd in CBB shooting 41.2% from deep and that's up to 43.3% at Home. There are usually 4 guys on the floor at all times shooting 36% or better from 3 but there's always three of them. Their led by a dominant backcourt trio but Forward Jalen Bridges is also shooting 37.2% from deep. Langston Love is their best 3-PT shooter knocking them down at a 50% clip. Iowa State's defense hasn't exactly traveled too well either. They're 2-2 on the road this year but gave up 80 in a Win @ Depaul, 71 in a Loss @ Oklahoma, 87 in a Loss @ BYU, and 72 in a W @ TCU.

BYU is very similar to Baylor offensively. They're both very good shooting teams that move the ball well and record assists on a high number of possessions. BYU torched Iowa State 87-72 and knocked down 13 triples. ISU allowed double digit 3's and 37.1% or better from Deep in 3 of their 4 losses this year. Iowa State's offense isn't anything special either. They're just 49th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They're 248th in 3's made per game and 304th in 3-PT Rate. They live to attack the Rim and that's been the stronger part of the Baylor offense so far.

Baylor's played UCF and Cincinnati already this season. They're two very similar defenses to Iowa State's. Long, Physical, and tough to score at the Rim. Baylor did win both games, but Langston Love specifically went 5-7 and 3-6 from deep in those games. Even against Kansas State who's 24th in Adj D he went 3-7 from Deep. He scored more than 12.5 points in all 3 of those games. Despite being the most efficient, he's only 3rd on the team in 3-PT attempts. He's their 6th man and 5th on the team in minutes per game but his usage ticks up against strong interior defenses.

8:30PM EST: Tennessee +1.5 (4 Units), Jason Aidoo Over 11.5 Points (2 Units).

Tennessee did just suffer quite an embarrassing loss to South Carolina as they struggled to manufacture points outside of Dalton Knecht. The Gamecocks defense proved they were the real deal that night. That's the 1 area of concern for Tennessee. Outside of Knecht this team can struggle to find points at times. Fortunately, Kentucky's defense just isn't very good. They're 75th in Adj D and rank 295th in points allowed per game.

Kentucky just hasn't looked great the past couple weeks. Going back, they lost at Home vs Florida 91-94, Won @ Arkansas 63-57, Lost @ South Carolina 62-79, and Won vs Georgia 105-96. The Wildcats have only played a few strong defensive teams this year and the results have been underwhelming. UNC ranks 4th in Adj D, Kansas is 22nd, and South Carolina is 43rd but they've proven stronger than that. Just seasonal rankings. Kentucky shot 41.7% against UNC, 32.9% against Kansas, and 40.3% against South Carolina. Tennessee is the 2nd best defensive team in the Nation behind Houston and are a true defense first team. They've also played the 5th hardest offensive schedule.

The Wildcats are a great shooting team and can get lethal from Deep. Tennessee's holding teams to just 30.1% from deep and rank 8th in Open 3 Rate however. They also rank 3rd in opponent 2-PT % and are one of the best teams defending the Rim. The Volunteers defense still did their thing in their Loss to South Carolina and will travel here today.

Tennessee's offense also has strong matchups against Kentucky's defense. Over 50% of Tennessee's possessions result in a Catch & Shoot 3 (30%) or Midrange Shot (22%). They rank 25th and 29th in SQ Points Per Possession in those categories while Kentucky's defense ranks 256th and 259th. Kentucky's also 310th in PPP in post up defense. Jason Aidoo is Tennessee's 2nd leading scorer and their big man down low. He's averaging 11.3 FG attempts per game in Conference Play and has shot a total of just 3 3-PT shots. Outside of Knecht they'll need a strong game from Aidoo, and he's best positioned to exploit the weakness of the Kentucky defense.


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