Happy basketball season to all who celebrate it! Division I college basketball teams will square off for their first regular season games tonight. The majority of the 350+ teams in action are playing in matchups that are expected to have a margin of victory in double digits. However, we are excited to watch this holiday five pack of games that feature betting spreads under 10 points per FanDuel’s lines. As always, we like to highlight the transfers that will be featured in matchups.
USC vs Kansas State [USC -2.5]
The Trojans come into Las Vegas for the opening game of the season favored by 2.5 points behind DJ Rodman, the forward formerly of Washington State. Jerome Tang of Kansas State has proven to be one of the best transfer portal recruiters in the nation and will turn to a couple of high profile transfers this year. Tylor Perry arrived from North Texas and is expected to be one of the best guards in the country and a top performer in the Big 12. Arthur Kaluma had a great season at Creighton last year and is expected to play a major role for Coach Tang in Manhattan this year.
Oregon vs Georgia [Oregon -6.5]
The first of two matchups being played in Las Vegas today. Oregon is currently sitting at 6.5 favorites on the Dawgs. The Ducks lost a big piece in Kel’el Ware , landing at Indiana. N’Faly Dante will no question be asked to play a large role down low, the Dana Altman also brought in Mahamadou Diawara from Stetson who is a big bodied forward. Oregon also brought in a couple of guards that could have an impact: Jesse Zarzuela, formerly of Central Michigan, and Kario Oquendo, who will take on his former team tonight when he squares up against Georgia. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs brought in Noah Thomasson, from Niagara, who is one of the best scorers in the transfer class of 2023 behind his 39% shooting from 3-point land. Mike White also brought in Jalen DeLoach, from VCU, and RJ Melendez, from Illinois, who will bring some additional experience to the rotation.
Missouri State @ West Virginia [WVU -4.5]
About a week ago, this was not likely going to be a single digit spread game. However, the Mountaineers have suffered some really unfortunate luck. First, Raequan Battle (formerly of Montana State) had his waiver request denied by the NCAA. Next Akok Akok (formerly of UConn and Georgetown) collapsed on the court during their exhibition game and his return is unknown. To top it off, Kerr Kriisa (from Arizona) got handed a lengthy suspension from the NCAA due to an incident that occurred last year while he was still at Arizona. The Mountaineers do still have Jesse Edwards (via Syracuse) as well as Quinn Slazinski (via Louisville and Iona) who both will play an integral role tonight and throughout the season. Edwards was one of the top transfers of the 2023 class and Quinn Slazinski has plenty of experience to bring. Missouri State had two transfers this off-season (Cesare Edwards – Xavier, Nick Kramer – Saint Louis) but will be relying on two former transfers, who were selected as pre-season all conference players, to carry the load. Chance Moore, formerly of Arkansas, and Donovan Clay, formerly of Valpo, combined for 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists last year and are expected to take big steps forward this year.
Iona @ Charleston [Charleston -7.5]
There are plenty of transfers who are expected to play major roles in this matchup. Coach Tobin Anderson comes into his first year leading the Gaels and has brought some great talent with him. Wheza Panzo (Stetson) is one of the best shooters of the transfer class of 2023. Joel Brown, from Cal, is expected to be one of the best guards in the MAACand Idan Tretout (Harvard). Terrell Williams (Southern), and Cam Krystkowiak (Dartmouth) round out their Anderson’s transfer class. Pat Kelsey enters his fourth season as head coach of the Cougars and brought in two talented transfers as well. Frankie Policelli (Stony Brook) and CJ Fulton (Lafayette) both shot over 36% from beyond the arc. Policelli nearly averaged a double-double with over 13 points per game and just under 10 rebounds per game.
UMBC @ Louisville [Louisville -8.5]
Kenny Payne lost several players to the transfer portal, including one of the best transfers this off-season, when El Ellis left for Arkansas. Payne did manage to bring in several players who will try to replace the production lost in the portal. Tre White (USC) showed a lot of scoring ability last year with 13 performances scoring double digits, including 22 against UW in February and 16 in the PAC-12 tournament. Skyy Clark (Illinois) brings experience at the guard position as he played a significant role for the Illini last year in the early part of the season. Meanwhile, Jim Ferry, brought in some talent himself this year when Bryce Johnson (Chicago State) and Khydarius Smith (SC Upstate) committed earlier this year. Johnson is a deadly shooter, shooting nearly 39% from three last year while hitting almost 2 threes per game. Smith played four years at SC Upstate and brings some welcomed experience downlow.
Enjoy the games!