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Courtside Players Club (2/6/24)

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(3 Picks)

6:30PM EST: St. John's -20. (3 Units).

St. John's is a team in need of a win in a big way. It's been a season of what ifs thus far as a few baskets have decided multiple games. They lost @ UConn by 4 but that went down to the wire, lost at Creighton by 1, and also lost to Marquette by 1. The 3 best teams in the Big East and all 3 are widely considered National contenders. This is a quality St John's basketball team with plenty of depth on the roster. We like them to come out with a purpose against a Depaul team that's pretty much thrown in the towel. The worst Power-6 team in the Nation sitting at 3-19 following 10 straight losses. Going back they lost 68-93 vs Xavier, 39-72 vs Seton Hall, and 62-85 @ Creighton. With the Red Storm just 1-5 over their last 6 Depaul couldn't come at a better time. This team needs a Big win and we trust Rick Pitino to try and blow this open as his team looks to get their swagger back. Depaul also lost their leading scorer against Providence a few weeks back and is out indefinitely.

7:00PM EST: North Carolina -6.5 (4 Units). Armando Bacot Over 13.5 Points (2 Units).

North Carolina's defense should be the difference maker and it's truly one of the best in Basketball. They're 7th overall in Adj D and it's a big reason why their transition game looks like the great Roy William Tarheel squads of years past. They've dominated the ACC thus far with a 10-1 record to date. They laid an egg on the road to Georgia Tech in the classic look ahead spot before they played Duke. They beat Duke 93-84 at Home their last time out. So far in Conference play UNC is averaging 79.1 points per game while allowing just 66.3.

While Clemson's offense is strong, 21st overall in Adj O, their defense isn't ranking 83rd in Adj D. They're also weakest in the one area you can't be when playing the Tarheels and that's in transition. They're 335th in PPP per SQ in transition defense. Clemson's also just 1-3 on the road in Conference play with their lone win coming against Florida State. They gave up 95 @ Miami, 87 @ VT, 72 @ Duke, and 67 @ FSU. North Carolina's also won every single Home game by at least 8 points this year.

Clemson's played 2 great defenses at Home and another solid one @ Duke and their offense has failed each time. UNC went into Clemson on January 6th and held them to just 55 points on 36.2% shooting. UNC also outrebounded them 44-33. Virginia held them to 65 points and 35.7% from the field at Home. And even @ Duke who's just 37th in Adj D they were held to 38.3% from the field. UNC's defense is going to force plenty of Clemson misses, and they'll be off and running afterwards.

UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis made it a point of emphasis for Armando Bacot to get aggressive and attack the basket when he receives the ball down low prior to the Duke game. He listened and scored 25 points on 10-13 shooting. He is one of the most talented bigs in the Country and someone who's used to averaging double digit shot attempts per game. They're a better offense when he's going to work down low as it puts a lot more stress on opposing defenses.

Clemson's leading scorer is starting Center PJ Hall. While he's averaging 19.9 points per game, he's not an elite defender and is frequently in foul trouble. He's fouled out of 4 games this year and finished with 4 fouls in 4 others. He fouled out and scored just 10 points against North Carolina their first time around. It was his worst performance of the year. UNC's transition game is going to place a lot of stress on Hall. Bacot can score on him and get to the FT line as it is but it's a lot more challenging playing defense as a bigger guy with tired legs. It leads to lunging and reaching and that leads to fouls. Getting him off the court is not only a plus for Bacot's point total but UNC as a whole.


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