College Basketball Odds & Preview — CBI Game 1: North Texas Mean Green at San Francisco Dons

Well, the North Texas Mean Green came into their post-season action with a losing record, but now they have remedied that. And they have a chance for even greater glory, as they have made it to the championship of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). On Monday, they will engage in Game 1 of that tournament’s best-of-three series, as they visit the San Francisco Dons, starting at 10 PM ET at the War Memorial Gymnasium in San Francisco. ESPNU will televise this matchup, and BetAnySports customers can place their wagers in real-time after the opening tip, as they access Live Betting Ultra.
Among the four post-season tournaments, the CBI is unique in that it does not do a single game to crown its champion. So Game 2 will take place on Wednesday at North Texas, as will the third and deciding game, if needed, on Friday.
North Texas had to go through some injury problems this season, but one key player, Jorden Duffy, is back in the lineup, and he is having an impact. Duffy scored 31 points against Mercer in a 96-67 victory, and he has made 14 of his 21 shots from downtown. But he’s not the only hot hand on the UNT squad. Roosevelt Smart, a 6-3 sophomore, has led this team in scoring all season long, and he has notched 85 points in the three victories, which have come by a combined 64 points. Coach Grant McCasland, who has done wonders with this program after it finished 8-22 last season, made a couple of lineup changes, with Duffy and Michael Miller assuming starting roles. North Texas is a relatively small team, and will usually put four guards on the floor at the same time.
San Francisco has probably accomplished more this season, if you want to use significant victories over Nevada and St. Mary’s as a barometer. Of course, this is where Bill Russell played his college ball, and the school one back-to-back NCAA titles in 1955 in 1956. They have not been as dominant as North Texas in their three CBI games thus far, winning them by a total of the dozen points. But they are winning, and that’s what counts. San Francisco is now 21-15 straight-up, although they have not accomplished much against the number, going just 13-19. North Texas, on the other hand, is 18-17 straight-up and a very solid 18-11 against the basketball pointspread.
In the college basketball betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, San Francisco is the favorite at home:
San Francisco Dons -5
North Texas Mean Green +5
Over 142 points -110
Under 142 points -110
North Texas had lost in the Conference USA tournament to Louisiana Tech and averaged 74 points per game on the season, but they have definitely ramped things up in the CBI, scoring at least 90 in all three games. They have also held their opponents to 22% shooting from beyond the three-point arc, and that will pose a problem for San Francisco, where 43% of their field-goal attempts are from downtown. You have to applaud the Dons’ balance, as they have four starters averaging about the same on a per-game basis, and if they need to, they can bring forth more size the North Texas. But toward what end? That’s a good question.
North Texas has had a rebounding margin of at least +6 against all three CBI opponents, and they dominated Jacksonville State on the boards 38-23 in their last game, a 90-68 victory. They are also road warriors to a certain extent, going 12-4 against the pointspread when visiting. And they have gotten perhaps unexpected contributions out of freshman center Zack Simmons, who has hit 13 of his 17 shots from the field. Duffy is the long-range bomber to look out for; his hot streak in the CBI is not much of a fluke, as he is 40% overall from triple-ville. We see no reason not to grab the points in Game 1.
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