Mississippi State at Cincinnati -11.5 O/U 138
There are only a handful of coaches in the country that you can confidently rely on to have their team ready on the defensive end after a bad performance. Cincinnati's Mick Cronin certainly qualifies. Two weeks ago, the Bearcats were punched in the mouth by rival Xavier, 89-76. They fired back by holding Florida to only 66 but lost the game thanks to 21 turnovers. Off back-to-back losses, bettors can expect a focused effort against Mississippi State tonight. The Bulldogs (8-0) are one of only a few undefeated teams remaining due in large part to an ultra-soft schedule. When asked to step up in class, MSU barely slipped past Jacksonville State (59-56) and Dayton (61-59) in Starkville. You'll notice that in both contests, the Bulldogs struggled to score which suggests points could be at a premium tonight. I used Florida as an example the other day as a defensive-minded team that fell in love with simply outscoring weaker foes. Cincinnati has had a similar experience after hanging 107, 102, and 97 its first three games. But the Bearcats are notorious slowing down the pace and grinding out games once the competition level toughens. We saw it against Florida with only 128 points on 68 possessions. Unfortunately, that total was as high as 148. Here we see a 10-point adjustment. Still, with the home side sitting on a strong defensive showing and the road team facing a massive step up in class, this projects to be a 73-58 type game.