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College Basketball Movers and Shakers

   by ASA - 02/15/2009

Each week I will be looking at some key injuries or suspensions in college and the NBA that may make affect the line. We’ll skip the NBA this week due to the All Star break. Sometimes you might be able to catch an edge if the odds makers have not yet caught up with these developments, especially in college.

Iowa Hawkeyes – Iowa was already a depleted team heading into Saturday’s contest at Wisconsin and it quickly got worse. Starting point guard Jeff Peterson injured his hamstring during the second half of Wednesday’s loss at Wisconsin. It doesn’t look like he will play on Saturday vs. Purdue and will be day to day after that. That’s not it for the Hawkeyes however. Leading rebounder, Cyrus Tate, has missed eight of the last nine games with an ankle injury. He came back and logged 13 minutes vs. Northwestern on February 7th grabbing five boards. He was unable to play in the following game last Wednesday night vs. Wisconsin. Key freshman Anthony Tucker played his last game on January 18th after being declared academically ineligible. Tucker was averaging 10 PPG. The opening line at home on Saturday vs. Purdue suggests that the injuries have already somewhat been factored into the equation. It opened with the Boilers as a 6-point road chalk. However, the line move was a bit curious as it dropped to -4.5 on Saturday morning despite the injury problems. Keep an eye on the status of Tate and Peterson on a game by game basis as their absence will be huge for this Iowa team.

San Jose State Spartans – The Spartans took a huge offensive hit last week when leading scorer Adrian Oliver sprained his ankle. Oliver averages 16 PPG, however he had been on a fantastic offensive tear leading up to the injury. He put up 29, 28, 15 and 37 points his previous four games prior to the ankle giving out. He missed Thursday night’s home game vs. Nevada which turned into a 12-point loss. It also looks like he won’t make the trip to Idaho on Saturday night. The Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened that line with Idaho as a 2-point favorite on Friday evening, however the major Vegas and off shore sports books opened the line at -5 which was more appropriate considering that key injury.

New Orleans Privateers – You might be able to pick up some line value with New Orleans over the next few games. The Privateers were a bit short handed a few weeks ago, however they are now back to almost full strength. Just a few games ago in a loss to Florida International, this team was down to only seven available players. Now junior guard Darrian McKinstry has returned from a suspension and is logging 26 minutes and 11 PPG. Another key guard, Charles Carmouche, missed five games recently due to an ankle injury. He has now been back and playing for the last two games. Junior forward Ejike Hart, who is one of the top rebounders on the team, missed nine straight games due to a knee injury, but returned to the line up last Saturday. The Privateers opened at a 10-point dog at Denver and the line dropped to +8.5 as the sharps know New Orleans is getting back to full strength. Even when those players were out, this New Orleans team was competitive and might be worth a look down the road, especially as a dog.

Arkansas Razorbacks – Oh how far the Razors have fallen. After knocking off both Oklahoma and Texas earlier this season, there was talk that this team was worth of top 20 mention. Making snap judgments after a few wins early in the season can be a major mistake in college hoops. Arkansas is proving that as we speak. Since knocking off those two formidable opponents at home back in late December and early January, this team has gone into a serious free fall losing eight of their last nine games. It doesn’t look like its going to get better any time soon. Now head coach John Pelphrey has suspended starting point guard Courtney Fortson for an unspecified conduct violation. The length of his suspension is unknown. Fortson is the leading assist man in the SEC at 6.5 per game and averages 15 PPG. They also lose a key man off the bench in Marcus Monk who is now academically ineligible. Monk had been withheld the last six games when his eligibility came into question. He is now gone for the year. Not only that, swingman Jason Henry, who averages 18 minutes per game, is also hobbled with a sore knee that’s kept him very limited. Those problems make this team very thin. After today’s match up with Kentucky, the Razorbacks play three games in eight days including two on the road. Keep an eye on the Fortson suspension because if he is out, this team will continue to struggle.

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