CBB Picks: Roll with West Virginia over Pitt, Oklahoma St., Ohio St.


The first few days of the college basketball season started to teach us what we can expect from nonconference play.

A handful of power-conference teams looked strong, as expected, and I feel more than comfortable throwing trust behind teams like Oklahoma State and West Virginia on Friday's college basketball board.

I'm also confident that Ohio State, who was on upset alert on Tuesday, will rebound in the proper manner at home against a mid-major foe.

Since we are still dipping into the college basketball betting waters together, I'm not ready to throw out a massive card on a certain night, but I did find five plays with some clear mismatches that I trust.

Friday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 5-4

Utah State vs. Richmond (-6.5) (6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Richmond is the main contender to St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10.

Jacob Gilyard and Co. opened the season with a solid 70-60 win over North Carolina Central.

The Spiders should come close to another double-digit victory on Friday against Utah State, who suffered one of the biggest upsets of the opening week against UC Davis.

Utah State is a shell of itself compared to last year. Previous head coach Craig Smith took Rollie Worster and Marco Anthony with him to Utah and Neemias Queta left the program for the professional level.

The Aggies may be decent under former UMBC head coach Ryan Odom at some point this season, but they are going through some turnover with a new coach and starting five.

Add in the fact that the Aggies have to travel across country to play in an early tipoff in Annapolis, Maryland and you have a brutal combination going against them.

Niagara at Ohio State (-19.5) (7 p.m. ET)

Ohio State was given an opening night shock by Akron, but it survived on a last-second game-winning shot.

The Buckeyes have their bad opening performance out of them and they should handle business at home against Niagara.

The Purple Eagles could have trouble with the Buckeyes' height. They gave up 39 rebounds in their opening loss to Xavier. The Musketeers received 16 boards from two of their frontcourt starters.

Look for Ohio State to pound the ball down to E.J. Liddell and Zed Key to create an advantage down low. We should also see a better shooting night out of the Buckeyes after they went 4-for-14 from three-point range versus Akron.

Oakland at Oklahoma State (-16.5) (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

I'm all aboard the Oklahoma State spite tour.

The Cowboys were handed a one-year postseason ban right before the season began. I was concerned about how they would respond to that. They passed the opening test with flying colors by beating Texas-Arlington, 88-45.

Mike Boynton has his team focused and we should see another taking out of the frustrations against an Oakland team that only scored 53 points against West Virginia.

Oklahoma State dominated the glass and shot 47.1 percent from the field against UTA. Look for more of the same against the Golden Grizzlies.

Pittsburgh at West Virginia (-15.5) (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Can a game really be called the "Backyard Brawl" if one team shows no fight?

Pittsburgh is a dead program right now under Jeff Capel. The Panthers opened with a shocking 15-point home loss against The Citadel.

There's no way this current group of Panthers can handle playing in Morgantown with a hostile crowd inside the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia brought back plenty of experienced players and it should be in the Top 25 at some point soon. A blowout win over an ACC team will help that case.

Arkansas State at Illinois (-15.5) (9 p.m. ET)

How much of a college basketball nut am I?

Well I'm glad you asked. I'm entered in a college basketball survivor pool. I pick two teams each week to win and the contest acts just like a NFL survivor pool.

Illinois is one of my two survivor teams. St. John's is the other. The Illini steamrolled past Jackson State as they conceded just 47 points on Tuesday.

Even without Kofi Cockburn, who is sitting out three games with a suspension, Brad Underwood's team has plenty of height and experience that should bother the Arkansas State Red Wolves.


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