With a big slate of College Hoops on this Monday ahead of the New Year, Robert Morris and Oklahoma State will tip at 7 on ESPNU. Both teams get back in action after over a week layoff since its last game. The Cowboys open as huge 25.5-point favorites over the Colonials of the NEC.
Robert Morris is a program on the rise. Not only did it make the National Invitational Tournament last season. It won its first round game against a Kentucky team that was the preseason AP #1 team in the entire country last year. Now, UK wasn’t the team everyone expected it to be but it still required a big-time performance from the Colonials. This season, Bob Morris is just 5-8 but has won two of its last three and stayed close in many games against big-time teams. The Colonials kept it very close at Youngstown State and Oakland and against Toledo. It did lose by 28 at Kentucky earlier this year but the Wildcats should pose as a tougher matchup than the Cowboys.
What Robert Morris has is some athleticism and talent on the perimeter. Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones are senior and junior guards, respectively, that lead the team in scoring. Both shoot the three-point shot very effectively and enjoy taking on the opponent’s best scorers. And that’s exactly what will have to happen against Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. In fact, Oklahoma State has three three or four extremely talented wing players if you throw Phil Forte and LeBryan Nash into the equation. What Robert Morris has working for itself is that Oklahoma State doesn’t have much down on the block that can dominate a game on the offensive end, which is where the Colonials are susceptible. Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins are big bodies that don’t do much more beyond rebound and make their presence felt on the defensive end. If Robert Morris can keep the rebounding margin even somewhat close they have a great shot to cover this huge number.
Oklahoma State is in a tough spot to cover such a big spread. The Cowboys are off of a big win against a highly-ranked Colorado team before the holidays and may look ahead to the beginning of conference play at Kansas State, which will be a very competitive ball game to begin Big-12 play. I don’t expect Oklahoma State’s tip top effort in this one, which means Robert Morris keeps this within 20 and covers.
Free Pick: Robert Morris +25.5