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Free NCAA Pick Sunday

#873 UC-Irvine +5 over Oregon 8:40 PM CT

Often times when smaller conference squads pull off a Round of 64 upset they are fade material in the following game. UC-Irvine doesn’t fit that mold however as the Big West champions now have 31 wins and haven’t lost since mid-January. The Anteaters were also a very small underdog against the Big XII co-champion Kansas State on Friday and will actually be an even bigger underdog against Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon Sunday.

Getting a shot at a Pac-12 squad on this stage is very alluring for one of the top defensive teams in the nation, featuring the #5 effective field goal rate defensively nationally, and #1 nationally from 2-point range. That is an ideal trait taking on a Ducks offense that is limited and has minimal 3-point shooting potential. This young Ducks team has momentum with nine straight wins but there is not much quality on that late season run in a very weak Pac-12. Oregon is now in a sixth game in 12 days and there could be a bit of a letdown after Friday’s big win over Wisconsin.

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The Badgers had posted two recent NCAA Tournament wins vs. Oregon and the 18-point final margin was very misleading. Oregon shot 47 percent on 3-point shots while Wisconsin shot 20 percent on 30 3-point attempts. Oregon was crushed on the offensive glass against Wisconsin but was better at the line and had fewer turnovers to pull away. The Ducks won’t have the advantage of being the west coast team in this west coast venue this time and Irvine will be more than comfortable at Oregon’s deliberate pace. Oregon’s front-line won’t have the same success in this matchup and Payton Pritchard had seven turnovers on Friday as really the only backcourt ball handler on the Ducks, he will be liable for more mistakes against a fierce set of perimeter defenders for the Anteaters.

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Big E is 9-5 in the Big Dance and 13-7 in his past 20 picks. Sunday’s 4 x 4 offer is available for $24.94 or get individual Biggie plays for $9.94 each.

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Free NCAA Pick Friday

#828 Kansas State -4 over UC-Irvine 1:00 PM CT

There is great focus on the absence of Dean Wade but the Kansas State forward missed eight games this season and played just eight minutes on last season’s Elite Eight run for the Wildcats. The return of Cartier Diarra provides an off-setting boost with Diarra putting up 23 points in two Big XII tournament games after missing the second half of the conference season. Kansas State has some of the absolute best defensive numbers in the nation and this will be a difficult draw for UC-Irvine, a team with just two top 100 wins all season long. One of those wins was at Saint Mary’s but the Anteaters also lost by 24 hosting Utah State and lost by 17 at Butler for the closest comparables.

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The Big West rated as the 19th best conference last year but tournament representative Cal-State Fullerton lost by 26 to Purdue in the tournament last season while regular season champion Cal-Davis lost by 10 against Utah in the NIT. Irvine was clearly the top Big West team going 18-1 but the conference rated 24th this season. Underdogs draw more attention than usual in March and Irvine is an appealing squad with a great record but the Big West champion being a slight underdog vs. the Big XII champion is a rare price. Kansas State was similarly priced vs. a TCU team that needed to win last week in the Big XII tournament in Kansas City. Kansas State was a 14-point favorite when these teams met in November 2017, a 22-point win for the Wildcats. Much is being made of the strong defensive numbers for Irvine but Kansas State is comfortable at a slow pace and has the far superior defensive resume. Size and experience will still be edges for the Wildcats even with Wade out of action.

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Location Winners and Losers

NCAA Tournament Location Winners and Losers

03/18/2019

While the focus in the aftermath of Selection
Sunday is often on seeds and the matchups, many coaches might prioritize the
venue draw in those announcements as the programs scramble to make travel
arrangements and hope to get fan support thrown into often random location
assignments. The committee allegedly only makes location concessions for the
top handful of seeds but certainly there were winners and losers in the
location assignments.

Hartford, Connecticut (Thursday/Saturday)

Winner – Villanova: Playing just over 200
miles away the Big East champions have a great location draw in Hartford to
easily calm any hostility regarding being a surprising #6 seed, especially with
the Marquette team they topped for the Big East title being a #5 seed. Saint Mary’s
is playing nearly 3,000 miles away from home for this contest though the Gaels
at least avoided being handed a daytime slot. Villanova should have the bulk of
the audience in this pod as by far the closest of the top seeded teams in this
grouping while also getting the primetime time slot Thursday night.

Loser – Purdue: A Purdue squad that
was the regular season co-champion of one of the top conferences in the nation didn’t
land either of the two Midwestern sites in Des Moines or Columbus. They also
pull a late night time slot and will deal with a Big East heavy crowd following
up the Villanova contest Thursday night. Norfolk isn’t exactly close to
Hartford but #14 seed Old Dominion has a much shorter trip to this site as
Purdue certainly could have had a better draw in this pod. Staring at the
defending national champions for a potential Round of 32 Saturday matchup is
also daunting particularly given how the makeup of the crowd will likely look. A
Florida State squad that was in the ACC title game also failed to land a
preferable spot in Jacksonville or Columbia.

Jacksonville, Florida (Thursday/Saturday)

Winner – Maryland: Jacksonville is a 10
hour drive from College Park but Maryland has to feel good about this draw,
landing a #6 seed despite a late season slide. Teams that win the First Four
games can often be dangerous but that Tuesday victor is going to go from
playing a late night game in Dayton to facing an early afternoon game Thursday
in Jacksonville for a difficult turnaround. This pod also lacks a local
favorite with Florida State and the other ACC powers sent elsewhere. Kentucky
fans will dominate the stands but all things considered Maryland landed in a
decent spot.

Loser – LSU: The Tigers, not the Wildcats were the SEC regular season champions yet LSU will share this venue with the rabid Kentucky fanbase. Baton Rouge is technically a bit closer to Jacksonville than Lexington but while Kentucky gets the Thursday night primetime billing, LSU has a very early start game vs. Yale on Thursday with the Ivy League teams being very dangerous in recent years. Kentucky will be almost three times as big of a favorite as LSU in the opening round despite these teams only being one seed apart.

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Des Moines, Iowa (Thursday/Saturday)

Winner – Michigan: Much is being made of
Michigan getting the more favorable bracket draw than Michigan State and both
of those teams will land in Des Moines for the opening rounds. Ultimately the committee
likely locked in their choices when Michigan had a double-digit lead in the
second half of the Big Ten championship. Both teams are heavy favorites Thursday
but while Michigan State plays an under seeded Bradley team that is less than
four hours away from Des Moines, Michigan draws an injury depleted Montana
squad that makes a long trip. Michigan would have a bigger location edge Saturday
in a potential round of 32 game vs. Florida or Nevada as well while Michigan
State would draw Louisville or Minnesota who both have reasonable trips to Des
Moines.

Loser – Louisville: The Cardinals had a much
closer option in Columbus in its sights and despite the selection committee
handing out three #1 seeds to the ACC, Louisville was dropped to the #7 line
even with a win over Michigan State plus ACC road wins over North Carolina and
Virginia Tech. Add that the committee had to have a laugh in engineering a
matchup of Richard Pitino against his dad’s former school and the Cardinals
have a tough opening draw. The Gophers also are playing in the closest possible
venue for them fewer than 250 miles away and then if Louisville wins they
likely pull the Michigan State team they beat in overtime in November to
provide plenty of motivation for the Spartans.  

Salt Lake City, Utah (Thursday/Saturday)

Winner – Baylor: Gonzaga was a natural
fit for Salt Lake City even though Spokane is still over 700 miles away. Waco
is more than 1,200 miles away but this is a good draw for a slumping Bears team
that most pegged for an even lesser seed. The Bears get to face a zone team
that they will be comfortable with and an east coast Syracuse team faces longer
travel west and will face the late night start time to give the Bears a bit of
an edge in the timing and location. The status Tyus Battle, the best player for
the Orange, is also unclear and putting Syracuse in a Thursday group makes for
one less day for his recovery. A Bears team on a four-game losing streak, while
just 4-7 in the past 11 games, didn’t deserve these potential breaks.  

Loser – Auburn: A dominant SEC
championship game victory Sunday didn’t boost Auburn’s stock much nor did it
provide a favorable venue as Salt Lake City would not have been high on Auburn’s
first travel choices. Auburn will also draw an early game Thursday for a quick turnaround
with long travel after Sunday’s win in Nashville. New Mexico State is a
dangerous team with great depth and while Las Cruces isn’t exactly close to
Salt Lake City, it is about half as far as Auburn has to travel. Auburn fans
will also be drowned out by Gonzaga and Kansas fans that figure to take over
this arena.

Columbia, South Carolina (Friday/Sunday)

Winner – Mississippi: The Rebels have only defeated three teams that made the NCAA Tournament this
season but with a #8 seed Ole Miss doesn’t appear to have been remotely close
to the bubble despite losing five of the final seven games of the season
including three losses to non-tournament teams. Mississippi draws an Oklahoma
squad that most also expected to be closer to the cut line and a team that hasn’t
been at its best in recent weeks. Opposing a Virginia program that has
struggled in the NCAA Tournament in recent years is also the path most #8/#9
seeds would likely choose. Ole Miss also played in this arena in February as they
will have some familiarity with the court.

Loser – Virginia: Columbia is the venue
Virginia would have chosen but the selection committee isn’t giving the first
team ever to lose as a #1 seed in the Round of 64 a free pass the following year.
Gardner Webb is only 112 miles away from Columbia and Virginia is going to have
to deal with Duke being in this pod as well. UCF and VCU should also get decent
support in this group as the Cavaliers will have plenty of folks cheering
against them on Friday and Sunday in this venue. Virginia also failed to land a
spot in the East region where Washington D.C. will host the Sweet 16 and Elite 8
games. Instead will have to potentially face a team playing very close to home
in Louisville should Cincinnati, Purdue, or Tennessee advance to the regional
final. In a potential Sweet 16 game Virginia could also pull a Wisconsin or
Kansas State team that is more than comfortable at a deliberate pace.

Columbus, Ohio (Friday/Sunday)

Winner – Cincinnati: The American
champions have a right to complain about being a #7 seed but looking at the
draw and not the seeds there are a lot of things working in favor of the
Bearcats. Cincinnati is one of only a few teams playing in their home state and
they are barely 100 miles away from Columbus. Iowa is also a team that has
played as poorly as any team in the field in the last month for a favorable
first matchup. Tennessee is waiting as a difficult Round of 32 game but the big
picture path is favorable with the South bracket leading to Louisville, a city
less than 100 miles away from Cincinnati.

Loser – North Carolina: A one-point loss to a Duke team they beat twice last weekend flipped the Tar Heels out of more favorable venues in the bracket, missing out on Columbia or Jacksonville while also not placed in the East region that winds up in Washington D.C. While Chapel Hills is only 450 miles from Columbus the Tar Heels haven’t had to leave the Carolinas the past three years in the opening round games. If North Carolina makes the Sweet 16 they could wind up facing Kansas in Kansas City for a big potential disadvantage.

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Tulsa, Oklahoma (Friday/Sunday)

Winner – Houston: The Cougars lost by
double-digits Sunday in the AAC final and despite using an incredibly weak
non-conference schedule to help create the 32-3 record but stayed on the #3
line in a favorable venue. This pod will have some Big XII support but the
Cougars get a Friday game unlike some of the other teams that played on Sunday and
now face a Thursday game. The Tulsa/Kansas City path would have been where
Houston would have placed itself in the bracket given the choice. Likely
opposing Houston in the Round of 32 would be an Iowa State team that mostly
struggled in the last month might be a bit over seeded from its Big XII
tournament championship, a run that didn’t include facing the top Big XII team
Texas Tech.

Loser – Buffalo: Getting a #6 seed is
a big deal for a MAC team but Buffalo has the disadvantage of not knowing who
they will play until late Wednesday night. They also could wind up facing
Arizona State, coached by Bobby Hurley, the former Buffalo coach who gave Nate
Oats his entry to the division I level and will be intimately familiar with how
the Bulls play. The Bulls also face a long trip to Tulsa when far more
attractive venues were available in terms of travel distance. With Houston,
Iowa State, and Texas Tech playing relatively close to home in this draw the
Bulls might not get the support they expected.

San Jose, California (Friday/Sunday)

Winner – UC Irvine: The Anteaters haven’t
lost since mid-January and won’t have to leave California for the NCAA
Tournament unless they win twice. They also get to face a wounded Kansas State
squad that appears to possibly be playing without Dean Wade in the tournament for
the second straight season. Add that this team lost 71-49 at Kansas State early
last season and Russell Turner’s team has a lot to work with to try to engineer
an upset bid.

Loser – Virginia Tech: The Hokies have some
good news with Justin Robinson cleared to play but Virginia Tech is getting
sent out west and has the late night draw with a game starting around 10:00 PM
Eastern Time. Saint Louis won four games in four days to win the A-10
tournament but getting a Friday draw helps the Billikens who won that title
game on Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. The Hokies played only one non-conference
road game this season and lost it and actually has never left the Eastern Time zone
all season. A squad reliant on 3-point shooting could have trouble in an
unfamiliar venue at an irregular time slot. The Hokies also land in the
grouping with #1 overall Duke should they advance to the Sweet 16 though that opportunity
would come in a favorable Washington D.C. venue.

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Free NCAA Pick Friday

#797 Wichita State +2 over Temple 8:30 PM CT

Regarded as one of the top coaches in the country Gregg Marshall has endured a disappointing season at Wichita State and barring a great run in Memphis the Shockers will be out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, when they won the NIT. This year’s team started 1-6 in AAC play but has rallied to win nine of the final 11 conference games and took out East Carolina in tournament action yesterday. The draw with Temple is a difficult one and the Owls won in Wichita in an 85-81 overtime result in early January. Temple is a definitive NCAA Tournament bubble team with a high-end win over Houston but not much else and four overtime wins boost the win count for the 23-8 Owls but only five wins this season have been top 100 results. Wichita State beat Providence and Baylor early in the season taking on a very difficult non-conference slate and the Shockers are still capable of clamping down defensively. Wichita State takes great care of the ball as Temple won’t get its usual filling of turnovers and the Owls can struggle on the glass at times. Temple is 8-2 in the past 10 games but they didn’t face either of the top two AAC teams in that stretch and the big regular season finale win over UCF came in a favorable spot after the Knights had defeated Houston and Cincinnati in consecutive games.

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Nelly’s
went 3-1 Thursday for an 18-9 start to March – we have hit 64% and are 40 games
above .500 since early December. Join for all of March Madness for $199 through
April 8 – and don’t miss tonight’s 2* Top Play – hitting 75% on 2* picks this
season.

Bobby
Dalton has a huge card for Friday night with a HIGH FIVE 3/5 guarantee for
$39.99 – Dalton headed into Friday 26-13 in March selections this season so
far!

Big E is
6-2 in conference tournament picks and has his next Biggie play for $9.94
Friday night!

Point
Train has also released a rare 7-unit for his Conference Tournament GOY!

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Free NCAA Pick Thursday

#629
California +11.5 over Stanford 10:00 PM CT

A great
comeback bid fell short for Stanford Sunday hosting Pac-12 leader Washington
with a 62-61 final score. Stanford can reach .500 in conference play for the
season and maintain an above .500 overall record with a win in this finale but
covering by double-digits may be a big ask for this erratic group.

Stanford
has posted six double-digit wins in Pac-12 play but has also lost three home
games and playing at California the Cardinal won 84-81 just over a month ago. California
led by seven with about six minutes to go in that games, then seeking its first
conference win. The Bears have gone 2-0 since losing the first 15 conference
games and California has lost by more than 11 just twice in the past nine games.

The strength
of the Bears is creating turnovers on defense and that was a factor in the
first meeting between these teams with an 18-11 edge for California. Stanford
had a 30-19 edge in free throw attempts in that three-point win and this rivalry
game should favor the heavy underdog especially if Daejon Davis again sits out.

Nelly’s
has hit over 63% in basketball picks the past 91 days including going 7-3 so far
in March. Don’t miss a major conference pick tonight for only $15.

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#703 Vanderbilt +6.5 over Texas A&M 5:00 PM CT

Vanderbilt is 0-15 in SEC play but the Commodores have lost a lot of close games. This should be a motivated team in early March as the next two games are two good opportunities to break the slide. Texas A&M has won five times in SEC play with four of those wins in the last month. The Aggies have lost five SEC home games and will enter this game coming off a big showcase game with LSU while the home finale is next on the schedule as this could be an overlooked spot on the schedule.

The statistical picture isn’t too different for these teams, mostly ranking in the both five in the SEC in most categories on both sides of the ball. Neither team shoots well from 3-point range nor the free throw line and both teams are vulnerable on defense. Vanderbilt has played the #1 schedule out of 14 SEC teams however for a brutally difficult path facing Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida twice each with Texas A&M playing each of those powers just once. Texas A&M also hasn’t played Mississippi State yet this season.

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The past
five road losses for Vanderbilt have come by an average of just eight points vs.
exclusively teams that rate higher than Texas A&M. The Aggies look like
they competed well in the last game vs. LSU but they never led in the game and
trailed by 21 late in the first half in what was a more lopsided result than
the final score. Look for the ugly underdog to have a shot at the upset looking
to avoid a winless league campaign.

Nelly’s closed February with a winner on Thursday and we opened March 1-0, now 32 games above .500 since early December. We are 150-113 in March/April college picks the past five years and we are 22-10-1 the past 11 Saturdays. Win with today’s 2/3 offer for just $25!

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Bobby
Dalton has a 10* in major conference action today as part of a Trips-2-Win run
riding a 72 percent run in college Best Bets while posting huge March returns
historically. Dalton also has three AAF football releases this weekend in a
guaranteed offer!

Big E
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Point
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action today as well!

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Free NCAA Pick Thursday

#638 San Diego -16.5 over Portland 9:00 PM CT

San Diego has lost three games in a row but the defeats came by three points at Pepperdine, by six points in overtime hosting BYU, and by a very respectable 12 points against a highly rated Gonzaga squad that could set a national record for margin of victory this season. That result was the closest game Gonzaga has had in 12 WCC games. It will go down as a lost season for the Toreros but this will be a team that could make some noise down the stretch. This is the second to last home game and the last game that San Diego will be a heavy favorite in all season long. The roster has been in flux all season but the starting lineup is back in place for San Diego and this is a matchup that resulted in a 21-point road win earlier in the season even without two starters playing.

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San Diego lost to Portland at home last season to provide an extra spark for this matchup that might be otherwise overlooked following the Gonzaga home game. Portland is 0-12 in league play but is coming off a heartbreaking opportunity as the Pilots took San Francisco to overtime at home on Saturday. Terry Porter’s team has lost by double-digits in eight of 12 conference games and after three straight home games this will be the first road game for the Pilots in nearly three weeks. Portland rates as the clear bottom team in most offensive and defensive categories in the WCC and that is even with two of the tougher road games on the WCC schedule still remaining as the 0-12 mark includes seven home losses. In a desperate spot off three straight defeats, a San Diego squad that has much more potential than the overall numbers suggest should come to play for a lopsided result.

Nelly’s is 6-2 the past five days (all six wins have been outright underdog winners) while on a 70-39 run in picks since early December. Get a college selection for Thursday night for just $15! We’ll also resume our excellent NBA season in the coming days as well!

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Bobby Dalton is on a 20-8 run on Wednesdays and he’ll look to deliver a Thursday Best Bet winner to build on a strong start to February. Get his TV 10* Best Bet tonight for $19.99!

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Free NCAA Pick Thursday

#616 Connecticut +9.5 over Houston 6:00 PM CT

Houston owns a glowing 23-1 record and is in control of the AAC thanks to the 65-58 home win over Cincinnati on Sunday. That was a misleading final score as Cincinnati led at several points in the second half before ending the game with an over six-minute scoring drought while the Cougars caught several breaks with close calls including two questionable out-of-bounds calls where the near official was overruled. That was the biggest game of the AAC season and this could be a flat spot with Houston surviving several close calls on the road this season.

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Connecticut
is a shell of its past stature as a basketball power but the Huskies have won
four straight home dates and own an early season win over Syracuse. Despite the
marginal record Connecticut rates as an above average offensive team and should
be able to keep pace with the Cougars in this matchup. A big area of opportunity
is rebounding with the Huskies potentially towering over a small Houston team
in many lineup possibilities. Coming off back-to-back losses this is a great
opportunity for Connecticut as a heavy home underdog.

Nelly’s Basketball is on a 63-36 run since December 6 – join us for tonight’s offer of play the rest of February for only $149.

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Bobby Dalton is 11-3 the past 8 days in basketball after a 3-0 Wednesday. A rare 15* Best Bet is posted for Thursday’s schedule – $34.99 pay after you win!

The Big
E is 3-0 the past two days and has 20* picks planned for Friday & Saturday
this week!

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#724 Northern Kentucky -9.5 over Oakland 6:00 PM CT

Northern Kentucky has a one-game lead over Wright State in the Horizon standings with Oakland two games back. This is a critical home game for the Norse after losing by two at Oakland in early January and knowing they head to Dayton next Friday. Northern Kentucky is 6-0 at home in Horizon play and 14-0 at home on the season. The average margin of victory for the Norse has been 17 points at home in league play while Oakland is drawing a second straight road game after a double-digit loss at Wright State on Thursday night.

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Oakland actually led that game early before getting outscored by 20 points in the second half and a highly vulnerable Grizzlies defense will face the top Horizon offense in this contest. Northern Kentucky also features the top 3-point shooting numbers on both offense and defense in Horizon play and Oakland has been turnover prone this season. After losing the past two meetings in this series including losing in Highland Heights last season in this matchup this is a huge game on the schedule for the host. Seven Northern Kentucky conference wins have come by 15 or more points and the Norse are capable of pouring it on against one of the worst defensive teams in the nation.

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Free NCAA Pick Sunday

#824 George Washington +3 over Duquesne 3:00 PM CT

George Washington owns terrible offensive numbers in a 6-11 start to the season but the Colonials have posted a 2-2 A-10 record, even with losses in both home games. Those contests came with a tight loss vs. Dayton, perhaps the top team in the conference, and then a 20-point loss to Richmond for a great contrast. The overall season numbers are a bit deflated taking November losses to Virginia and Michigan and ultimately the team has capable defensive numbers while avoiding turnovers.

Duquesne sits at 12-5 overall and with a 3-1 conference record but the gap between these teams doesn’t look significant despite the contrasting records. The three A-10 wins for the Dukes have come by a combined total of 12 points while three quarters of the team’s wins have come outside the nation’s top 200. The Dukes take a great deal of 3-point shots while hitting at just over 32 percent and Duquesne has struggled with turnovers on offense. This will be a second straight road game for the Dukes after winning in Richmond on Wednesday and a big contest with Saint Louis is on deck on the schedule with the Billikens the current leader in the conference. There isn’t a single upperclassman in the current Duquesne rotation and this is the first time all season the young team has drawn consecutive road games, with Wednesday’s win the first true road win of the season. After a 2-point home loss in this matchup in the last meeting between these teams George Washington should be motivated and this is a team that could start to perform better in the coming weeks after facing a transition with Illinois transfer DJ Williams taking over a big role and the team losing Arnaldo Toro to injury early in the season.

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Nelly’s is on a 24-15 NFL run and we also have a championship pick posted for Sunday. Point Train has posted a 7-unit NFL Playoff Game of the Year this weekend as well!