Bottom of the Barrel Picks for Saturday, November 12
Friday presented an amazing slate of college basketball, full of big-time names in big-time matchups. Saturday’s college football slate is similar in a lot of ways, and it’s even more important with just a few weeks left in the season.
But there in the back, in the last row of odds sheets in the sportsbook: college basketball’s extra games. That’s where you’ll find me; that’s my domain.
I live for these games and finding a winner where no one else is looking — that’s always been what I’ve enjoyed most about college basketball.
Sure, blue bloods are great. The Power Five matchups are exciting. But do you know which St. Francis is which? Are you familiar with Screaming Eagles Arena? Have you heard about the best 0-2 team in the country, the Stonehill Skyhawks?
That’s what the Bottom of the Barrel is for. Well, that, and a nice beverage recommendation. Let’s look at some of the games we find at the bottom of Saturday’s late.
Stonehill vs. Army
I love the Skyhawks, and I don’t care who knows it. I won’t even attempt to hide my bias for the first-year Division I team. It’s fun, it’s new, it’s exciting
To catch you up, Stonehill is a small Catholic college about an hour south of Boston. The university has just 2,500 undergraduate students and is entering its first year of Division I basketball as a member of the NEC.
A couple of fun facts:
- Its mascot, the Skyhawk, is a nod to the airfield that used to be where the campus sits now. The Airfield was used during both World Wars, bought by the congregation of Holy Cross after, and leased to the Navy until 1995. The Navy used the field for training and would employ the Skyhawk aircraft.
- One of its most notable alumni is a person college basketball fans know well: Providence head coach Ed Cooley. The American Dream.
But back to why we’re here: Stonehill is legit. The Skyhawks return four starters from a tough, experienced team that can shoot the lights out. They also love to push the pace.
In their first game, they lost to UConn by 31, just one point off of covering the spread — and they played awful. The Huskies slowing down the pace didn’t help either.
But looking at what they did against Quinnipiac — that’s what I expect to see from the Skyhawks .oving forward.
Despite losing, 102-95, the Skyhawks shot better than 60% on 2s and over 40% on 3s. Keep an eye on Max Zegarowski, who went off for 25 points and could be one of the best players in the NEC.
They’ll match up against an Army team that pushes the pace and scored 110 in its first game of the season, albeit against a D-II team.
Both of these teams reaching into the 80s seem like a foregone conclusion. Lines likely won’t be out until early Saturday morning, but this over should be good up to 150.
Stonehill is also likely to be a +7 dog or more against the Black Knights. I think it can win this game outright, so I’ll at the very least take the points with the Skyhawks.
Pick: Over 150 or Better · Stonehill +7 or Better
Bellarmine vs. Morehead State
They did it. I believed in them. I knew they could do it, and they did.
The win over Louisville is big, it’s a great start to the season for the Knights. But it’s a long season and there’s a long way to go.
Bellarmine now shifts its focus to the second team of five from the Bluegrass State that it’ll face this season.
Morehead State has been impressive over the last two seasons, but it loses four starters from a year ago. It struggled on both ends of the court in its first game against Indiana and gave up 21 turnovers.
The biggest issue against the Knights will be its 3-point defense. Morehead lost its two best perimeter defenders in the offseason, and that was evident against the Hoosiers.
However, Bellarmine has some defensive issues of its own. Louisville shot the ball terribly in their matchup. Despite their shooting, though, the Cardinals still found a way to get back into the game at the end.
Just because Bellarmine held off the Louisville comeback doesn’t mean it’ll fly by this Morehead squad. The Eagles still have a solid core and shouldn’t be overlooked; they could very well open as a favorite over the Knights.
But I think Bellarmine’s offense will shine when it’s all said and done.
Garrett Tipton led the team against Louisville, and while only one other player in Bash Wieland scored in double figures, I think the rest of the Knights offense only improves as the season goes on.
Don’t be shocked to see the Knights open as an underdog here, but take any points you can get. I think Bellarmine opens around +3 and expect that to fall quickly.
A bet on the Knights moneyline at -110 or better is still good, but don’t leave points on the table.
Pick: Bellarmine ML -110 or Better
Keg’s Drink of the Week
I wrote a Bottom of the Barrel for FCS football this season, and it just didn’t feel right to include a drink of the week. I could sit in silence, watch college basketball and drink a good bourbon for 12+ hours. It just isn’t the same with college football.
That brings us to this week’s selection: Larceny Barrel Proof.
Similar to Van Winkle Special Reserve in that they both use wheat as a secondary grain, Larceny Barrel Proof has a slight sweetness to it.
It won Bourbon of the Year in 2020 and is widely available. Make a point to try this if you haven’t yet.
Cheers, and best of luck this weekend.