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Bunnell’s Bounces: Championship day already?

The Horned Frogs are playing in just their third game of the year, yet it’s already for a championship. Built. Different.

NCAA Basketball: Tulsa at Texas Christian Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Just one day later, and TCU Basketball is back in action this time playing for the Hall of Fame Classic championship against Liberty.

TCU took care of business last night against a solid Tulsa team behind Kevin Samuel’s 18 rebound double-double, bringing the Frogs to 2-0 on the year.

Even though RJ Nembhard struggled shooting last night, going 2-11 from the floor, his presence on the court certainly added some value for the Frogs, it’s nice to have him back.

In this series, we don’t only focus on wins and losses. As the saying goes, good teams win games and great teams cover the spread. Last night, after a few up and downs near the end of the 2nd half, the Frogs covered the spread of -3.5 with a 5-point margin of victory (70-65). Not only did the Frogs cover the spread, they also hit the over of 125.5 late in the 2nd.

TCU’s opponent this afternoon, the Liberty Flames, has gone 2-1 against the spread this season including two upset victories over Mississippi State and South Carolina. The Flames have proved to be a solid team, even in their season opener against Purdue they stuck with the Boilermakers for the majority of the game.

So the question is, can the Frogs cover today?

TCU vs Liberty

  • Tip-off: 2:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: TCU -5, Liberty +5
  • O/U: 120
  • Money Line: TCU -230, Liberty +185

The public is currently split roughly down the middle on the spread, 52% of bettors are siding with the Frogs and 48% are taking the Flames. Liberty has covered both a +4.5 and a +7.5 spread by winning outright in their most recent games, so I might be a little weary taking the Frogs to cover -5 tonight. My pick would have to be the Frogs money line at -230 as a parlay piece because I think this game might go down to the wire.

As for the over/under, I would hate to jinx myself, but this line seems a bit low to me again. Last night, the Frogs hit a combined score of 135, winning the over by 9.5 points. Liberty’s last two contests have an average combined score of 148.5, so I think Vegas might be relying too heavily on TCU’s relatively slow pace of play.

The team totals are set at Liberty o/u 56.5 and TCU o/u 61.5, and I like the over on both of these lines.

Outside of taking all the overs in the Frog’s game, I have put together what I believe are the three best bets for the later half of today’s college basketball slate.

Pick 1: Houston Baptist vs Arizona State under 169.5

  • Tip-off: 3:00 p.m.

Why: Watching Houston Baptist in action against TCU recently gives me no hope for the Huskies to put up a substantial amount of points against a top-25 team today. Arizona State has a more fast-paced offense than TCU, and are capable of going on runs at any time, so I think they’ll put up more than 69 on HBU like the Frogs did, but it won’t be enough to reach 170 combined points. 169.5 is a high total considering the Sun Devils are -34.5 favorites as well, even if Arizona State ends up scoring 100, I don’t think HBU has enough talent to make up for that extra 70 points.

Pick 2: Baylor (1H) -6.5 against Washington

  • Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. CST

Why: As expected, Baylor looked dominant in their season opener against LA-Lafayette, winning 112-82 and covering the spread of -21 by 9 points. Today I like Baylor’s first half spread. The full game spread is Baylor -11, but considering this is Washington’s first game of the year, against the #2 team in the country, I’m expecting them to come out to a slow start. As weird as it feels to root for Baylor in any sport, the Bears are typically a smart pick when it comes to basketball.

Pick 3: Virginia Tech -7.5 against South Florida

  • Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. CST

Why: USF looked less than impressive in their last outing against Rhode Island, losing 84-68 even though they originally opened as one-point favorites. The Hokies on the other hand looked great, winning a 81-73 overtime thriller against #3 Villanova in their last outing. I’m going to ride with VT’s momentum, as the Hokies are a tough opponent for USF to get their game legs back under them.

We went a perfect 3-0 on yesterday’s picks, 5-0 including the plays on the TCU game, so let’s hope that streak can stay alive today.

The comment section is open! What are your favorite picks for today? Do you see any upsets happening? Let us know!