The Tuesday College Basketball picks are making another appearance. We are coming off an 8-4 Saturday bumping my record back up over .500 (38-37) for college basketball on the year.
It's a big slate today and we are going to cover it in detail including Arizona’s matchup in Pauley, how to beat Illinois without Kofi Cockburn, and we are going to look at some UGLY underdogs. While we are changing things up for these slate games, so without further ado let’s do a deep dive into.
Auburn at Missouri
Spread: Auburn (-13)
Let’s just get our ugly underdog out of the way. After beating Kentucky at home, Auburn was ranked the No. 1 team in the AP Poll for the first time in school history. Our guy Zac was able to write about all that. Let’s just say the Auburn family is feeling themselves.
First game off the docket after that home win against Kentucky, Auburn has to travel on the road to play arguably the worst team in the SEC. The Mizzou home crowd is going to be pumped hosting the No. 1 team in the country. Mizzou power forward Kobe Brown can do work inside, and Auburn is susceptible to second chance opportunities, and that is where Mizzou ranks top 60 nationally in. The letdown after a team gets the No. 1 spot happens all the time. This is simply the trap game of the century. I know it’s probably not going to be fun to watch. But I like this spot for Missouri. Auburn gets a scare but survives by the skin of their teeth.
The pick: Missouri +13
Michigan State at Illinois
Spread: Illinois (-4.5)
At the time of this writing Kofi Cockburn remains questionable. He remains in concussion protocol, and we are probably not going to hear anything until tip-off. Without Cockburn this line probably drops to Michigan State +2 or +1.5. Even if the Illini big man can go, he will be rusty having not played in over a week. Illinois has great size to protect the rim and dominated the boards. The Spartans counter with great size as well, ranking top 25 nationally in close proximity defense, 26th in two-point field goal percentage, and they are in the top 40 in offensive rebounding percentage. Marcus Bingham is the most underrated big men in the conference. This is a statement game for him. The Spartans are balanced on both sides of the floor ranking in the top 30 in offensive and defensive efficiency. Michigan State is 4-0 on the road this year. I think they will steal another road victory tonight. Give me the Spartans.
The pick: Michigan State +4.5
Georgetown at UConn
Spread: UConn (-15.5)
An underrated matchup in the Big East. The Hoyas really showed some life in a home game against Villanova. The Hoyas had an 8-point lead in the second half and ended up losing by 10. It was a bad matchup for the Hoyas with Villanova’s ability to play small plays and spread Georgetown at. UConn plays the exact opposite style as the Wildcats. Villanova shot 60% from two-point range on Saturday and they shot nearly 40% from three.
While the big number is enticing here, the Hoyas have not been good on the road.
Georgetown is kind of hard to figure out. They do rank 30th in pace and have been bad defensively all year. They may want to use pace to attack UConn here. I just don’t see them scoring on Huskies. UConn ranks 25th in defensive efficiency and ninth in effective field goal percentage defense. Georgetown is going to try to take threes from the perimeter, but the Huskies rank 21st nationally in three-point attempts allowed. They will try to make Georgetown’s shooters drive and finish in front of their big Adama Sanogo.
On offense UConn should slow things down. Georgetown has been awful defending the rim, but they do have bodies to throw at the UConn big man. UConn games have only gone over 148 in five out of its games this season, and three out of five of those games went into overtime. Georgetown is bad on defense, but they aren’t that bad. With a game spread this wide, there is a good chance we get to skip on sweating late game free throws. Let’s take the under in this one.
The Pick: UNDER 147
Arizona at UCLA
Spread: UCLA +3
The game of the day comes at Pauley Pavilion. Bill Walton is on the call and if you are on the East Coast, I promise this game will be worth staying up for. Arizona has been the delight of college basketball so far. Tommy Lloyd has impressed in his first season in Tucson. The Wildcats are the only team in the country that ranks in the Top 10 in both offense and defense on Ken Pom. The Wildcats play at the fastest rate in the country, and Arizona’s Benedict Mathurin is having an All- American caliber season averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Still, people forget this UCLA team is pretty good too. They were the number two preseason team in the country for a reason. Mick Cronin has excelled as underdog. UCLA has been hearing all the love Arizona is getting. This is the perfect spot to take the Bruins. UCLA ranks in the top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency. The Bruins will be playing in front of their first home crowd in more than a month. There should be a lot of electricity in the building. Arizona has beat up on some bad teams over the past month. UCLA has more depth than anyone in the country. With Cody Riley and Jaylen Clark healthy, UCLA is a different team defensively. I do worry about UCLA being able to score on offense considering Arizona is the second-best team in the country defending mid-range jump shots.
UCLA getting over three points at home is pretty ridiculous. We will see some regression from Arizona. Buy the Bruins low, sell Arizona high- give me UCLA as a home dog.
The pick: UCLA (+3)
Current Record: 38-37
Follow Austin Montgomery on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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