Note: I’ve decided to use the KenPom Top 25 just because I find it much more accurate than the AP, plus, its updated daily
These picks will be updated every day.
#6North Carolina (11-3, 1-0 ACC) @ #18NC State (13-1, 1-0 ACC) – 9 PM ET, ESPN
We are peaking early in week ten, because this is probably the game I am most excited about all week. NC State finally gets a chance to prove themselves hosting North Carolina on ESPN. The Wolfpack have played practically no one this year. The only teams with a lower strength of schedule are Niagra and Fordham, but NC State is 13-1 and escaped Coral Gables with a close win on Thursday to start ACC play 1-0. Now it’s time to put up or shut up. UNC has been inconsistent this year (That’s what happens when you play at the #5 tempo in the country), and they have faced a top 20 schedule in America, but when they’ve looked good they’ve looked great, racking up double-digit wins over six top 100 teams including #3 Gonzaga. The only losses the Tar Heels have taken this year were away from home and to top 25 teams. As much as I want to believe in the Wolfpack, they really haven’t proven it to me this year. Eight of their 13 wins have come against sub-295th ranked teams in KenPom, and three of the other five wins were by single digits. I can’t trust them at this point, and I’m taking ol’ reliable Roy Williams to take North Carolina on a little run to start ACC play, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t lose a game all January.
#21Oklahoma (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) @ #9Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) – 9 PM ET, ESPNews
Unlike the first game, where we have a top ten team @ a top 25 team, here the top ten team has home court advantage, which makes things a little less interesting. Oklahoma’s #5 ranked schedule in the country finally caught up with them as they fell on the road to Kansas on Wednesday in what was a pretty close game. I came away impressed with the Sooners despite the loss, especially with senior SF Christian James. I just can’t pick them to win here on the road against the #1 defense in the country. Texas Tech is 13-1 and while they did struggle in their first conference game last week @ West Virginia, the Red Raiders came away with the win, and I will always pick a great defense at home. Give me Texas Tech in a close low scoring game.
Prediction: Texas Tech
#17Purdue (9-5, 2-1 Big Ten) @ #4Michigan State (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) – 9 PM ET, ESPN2
Purdue has been the most underrated team in the nation so far, the Boilermakers have five losses, but four of the five were away from home against top 25 teams. Four of the five losses were also by single digits, so Purdue has not only been victims of a tough schedule but also bad luck. I think that continues here as they go on the road to face #4 Michigan State. The Spartans are on an eight-game winning streak and come into Tuesday fresh off of a nine-point win @ a good Ohio State team. I see Cassius Winston and MSU winning by a similar margin here on the backs of a terrific shooting performance that we’ve come to expect from this time.
Prediction: Michigan State
St. John’s (14-1, 2-1 Big East) @ #24Villanova (11-4, 2-0 Big East) – 7 PM ET, FS1
#13Iowa State (12-2, 2-0 Big 12) @ Baylor (8-5, 0-1 Big 12) – 7 PM ET, ESPNews
Prediction: Iowa State
Maryland (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) @ Minnestoa (12-2, 2-1 Big Ten) – 7 PM ET, BTN
#7Tennessee (12-1, 1-0 SEC) @ Missouri (9-3) – 7 PM ET, ESPN2
Toledo (12-2, 0-1 MAC) @ Buffalo (13-1, 1-0 MAC) – 7 PM ET, ESPN+
Texas A&M (6-6, 0-1 SEC) @ #12Kentucky (10-3, 0-1 SEC) – 7 PM ET, SEC Network
#25Texas (10-4, 2-0 Big 12) @ Oklahoma State (6-8, 0-2 Big 12) – 7 PM ET, ESPNU
Prediction: Oklahoma State
Alabama (10-3, 1-0 SEC) @ LSU (10-3) – 9 PM ET, SEC Network
#19Mississippi State (12-1) @ South Carolina (6-7, 1-0 SEC) – 9 PM ET, ESPNU
Prediction: Mississippi State
#11Auburn (11-2) @ Ole Miss (11-2, 1-0 SEC) – 7 PM ET, ESPN2
Ole Miss is probably the best team you haven’t heard a word about this year. The Rebels are a top ten shooting team in the nation, 11-2, and 41st in KenPom. They come into this game with some momentum on the backs of eight straight wins. The majority of those were buy games, but it also features a road win @ Vandy that classifies as a top-50 win when adjusted for location on KenPom. Their only losses are to top 40 teams away from home and they’ve got the home court advantage here. On the other hand, Auburn hasn’t impressed me recently. In their last three games against top-175 teams, UAB took them to overtime, they lost to NC State, and played Murray State to the last minute. Give me Breein Tyree and the Rebels to pull the upset with the crowd at The Pavalion getting the assist.
Prediction: Ole Miss
TCU (12-1, 1-0 Big 12) @ #10Kansas (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) – 9 PM ET, ESPN2
The Big 12 regular season is crazy. The amount of great teams in this league is crazy. Depending on how good you are, you’ll play 12-14 KenPom “A Level” games, plus a couple B level games. That is wild. It also means I’m here writing about Kansas for the third time in eight days as one of my featured games. I picked the Jayhawks in both of the previous games, they took care of business at home against Oklahoma, but got taken to the woodshed on the road at Hilton, losing by 17 to Iowa State (although to be fair they were technically underdogs). They are back on their home court here against a TCU team that is better than most people realize, but not good enough to walk into Allen Fieldhouse and beat Dedric Lawson and the Jayhawks. I’ll take Kansas by a comfortable margin.
Marquette (12-3, 1-1 Big East) @ Creighton (10-5, 1-1 Big East) – 7 PM ET, CBSSN
West Virginia (8-6, 0-2 Big 12) @ Kansas State (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) – 7 PM ET, ESPNU
Prediction: Kansas State
Houston (15-0, 2-0 American) @ Temple (11-3, 1-1 American) – 7 PM ET, ESPNews
#8Virginia Tech (13-1, 2-0 ACC) @ Georgia Tech (9-5, 1-0 ACC) – 7 PM ET, ESPN3
Prediction: Virginia Tech
#22Ohio State (12-2, 2-1 Big Ten) @ Rutgers (7-6, 0-3 Big Ten) – 7 PM ET, BTN
Prediction: Ohio State
Clemson (10-4, 0-1 ACC) @ Syracuse (10-4, 1-0 ACC) – 8 PM ET, ESPN3
Louisville (10-4, 1-0 ACC) @ Pittsburgh (10-4, 0-1 ACC) – 8 PM ET, ESPN3
#23Florida (8-5, 0-1 SEC) @ Arkansas (10-3, 1-0 SEC) – 8:30 PM ET, SEC Network
Butler (10-5, 1-1 Big East) @ Seton Hall (11-4, 2-1 Big East) – 8:30 PM ET, FS1
Miami (8-6, 0-2 ACC) @ #20Florida State (12-2, 0-1 ACC) – 9 PM ET, ESPN3
Prediction: Florida State
Iowa (12-3, 1-3 Big Ten) @ Northwestern (10-5, 1-3 Big Ten) – 9 PM ET, BTN
Fresno State (11-3, 2-0 MW) @ Utah State (11-4, 1-1 MW) – 9 PM ET, Stadium
Prediction: Fresno State
Thursday, January 10th
#7Michigan (15-0, 4-0 Big Ten) @ Illinois (4-11, 0-4 Big Ten) – 8 PM ET, FS1
Penn State (7-8, 0-4 Big Ten) @ #16Nebraska (11-4, 1-3 Big Ten) – 9 PM ET, ESPN2
UCLA (9-6, 2-0 Pac-12) @ Oregon (9-5, 0-1 Pac-12) – 9 PM ET, ESPN
Indiana (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) @ #20Maryland (13-3, 4-1 Big Ten) – 7 PM ET, FS1
The Big Ten feels like the type of league where anybody could beat anybody. Nine of the 14 teams in the conference rank in the KenPom top 36, a pretty crazy feat for a conference that got just four of their 14 teams into the NCAA tournament last year. Michigan State and Michigan are the clear frontrunners, but the race for those other two double-byes in the conference tournament that come with a top-four finish will be tight, and every game will matter in that race. For Maryland, a 5-1 start in conference play would be huge. The Terps may be the most underrated team in the country right now. All three of their losses were by five points or fewer, so a few shots bounce differently, we could be looking at an undefeated team right now. They are undoubtedly the favorite here, especially with the home court edge, but I’m picking Indiana to pull a pretty big upset. The Hoosiers are the #8 team in the nation when it comes to shooting the rock (eFG%), and if Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan get hot, there is no stopping this team. I think they do that here against a fairly average (for the Big Ten) Maryland defense and stun the rowdy Terps crowd at the buzzer in a tight one till the end. Langford is a matchup nightmare for Darryl Morsell or whoever Mark Turgeon puts at the three, and matchups win games.
#17Purdue (9-6, 2-2 Big Ten) @ #11Wisconsin (11-4, 3-1 Big Ten) – 9 PM ET, FS1
#11 might be a little rich for my taste, but the fact that this Wisconsin team is unranked in the AP Poll is a disgrace. I realize this team just lost @ WKU and vs Minnesota, but they also went on the road and beat Penn State by 19, gave #2 Virginia their toughest game of the year, beat Oklahoma by 20 away from home, and handed NC State one of their only two losses of the year. Purdue is in a similar spot. The Boilermakers have played the #4 toughest schedule in the country. All of their losses were away from home, and five of the six were against top 30 teams. And here they are, playing another top 30 team away from home. Absolutely brutal draw for Matt Painter and company. I really like Wisconsin’s slow it down style, and while Purdue has a really efficient offense that can play at pretty much any tempo, I always say if a matchup is close, always take the good defense at home. I’ll take Wisconsin in another heartbreaker for Purdue.
Louisville (10-5, 1-1 ACC) @ #6North Carolina (12-3, 2-0 ACC) – 12 PM ET, ESPN
North Carolina is on quite the hot strike in recent weeks, picking up four wins in a row, all coming against KenPom top-100 teams, including a 2-0 start to ACC play with road wins over both Pitt and NC State, the latter coming on Tuesday. The Tar Heels and their quick offense take on a Louisville team that has had an up and down season in year one under new head coach Chris Mack. The Cards have lost five games, but the only bad loss in that was a road loss in overtime to a decent Pitt team, and the Cardinals more than make up for that with wins against Michigan State and @ Seton Hall. I won’t take them to pull the upset here on the road, but give this a watch because I think Chris Mack’s team could cause some chaos in ACC play down the road.
Prediction: North Carolina
#1Duke (13-1, 2-0 ACC) @ #23Florida State (13-2, 1-1 ACC) – 2 PM ET, ESPN
Duke had few issues in their first road game of the 2018-19 season earlier this week, @ Wake Forest, Florida State did have a lot of issues however in home game against Miami. The Seminoles also got embarrassed by Tony Bennett’s Virginia team last Saturday, trailing 65-36 with two minutes to go before UVa put their walk-ons in. Because of the home court advantage here, I don’t expect as much of a castration here when they face Duke, but I wouldn’t expect this to be a game much longer than a half.
#9Texas Tech (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) @ Texas (10-5, 2-1 Big 12) – 2 PM ET, LHN
You probably won’t be able to see this game (legally) because it is on the Longhorn Network, but this a huge game in the Big 12 title race. Texas Tech is probably the favorite in the conference now after Kansas lost Udoka Azubuike for the year against Iowa State, but they run into a nasty Texas team that hasn’t gotten enough attention thus far. The Longhorns hold wins against Arkansas, North Carolina, Purdue, Kansas State, and West Virginia. They’ve also taken some tough losses (Radford, VCU), but I think they pull the upset here with the home crowd at their back and kick off a tough slate (this one, @ Kansas, vs Oklahoma, @ TCU) with a win.
TCU (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) @ #19Oklahoma (12-3, 1-2 Big 12) – 2 PM ET, FSN
Another big one in the Big 12 that you might not be able to see here. Oklahoma needs a win to stay competitive in the Big 12 race, a win for TCU would earn them their first top 25 ranking in forever. The Horned Frogs are coming off their first loss since November 20th on Wednesday, a road game @ Kansas, but TCU stayed at least competitive in that one pretty much from start to finish against the royalty of the conference. Oklahoma really hasn’t impressed me since the start of Big 12 play, and I think they get upset at home here by Jamie Dixon and the Frogs, who are one of the best shooting teams in the nation.
#5Tennessee (13-1, 2-0 SEC) @ #20Florida (9-5, 1-1 SEC) – 6 PM ET, ESPN
Florida has been good this year, they have a top-five defense, they’re #20 in KenPom, but they just can’t seem to finish games. The Gators are a whole 1-4 in games decided by seven points or less, add to that their best win coming @ Arkansas by six, and the #20 team in the country is just a bubble team when it comes to their resume. UF still sits as one of my last four teams in the field in my latest bracketology. The Gators need this win badly, I just don’t think they’ll get it. Tennessee has been awesome this year. 13-1 with their only loss coming on a neutral in overtime to Kansas when their best player was fouled out. They take care of the ball, they can shoot the lights out, and they are well coached. They know how to win away from home, beating Gonzaga, beating Memphis, and dominating Missouri all away from Thompson Boling Arena. I like the SEC getting some shine here in the primetime ESPN spot, and the best team in the league will tighten their grip on the conference title with a win here. In fact, barring any injuries, a win in this one essentially wraps up the SEC title race in early January for the Vols.
#2Virginia (14-0, 2-0 ACC) @ Clemson (10-5, 0-2 ACC) – 12 PM ET, ESPN3
Kansas State (11-4, 1-2 Big 12) @ #12Iowa State (12-3, 2-1 Big 12) – 12 PM ET, ESPN2
Prediction: Iowa State
Pittburgh (11-4, 1-1 ACC) @ #21NC State (13-2, 1-1 ACC) – 12 PM ET, ESPN3
Prediction: NC State
Oklahoma State (7-8, 1-2 Big 12) @ West Virginia (8-7, 0-3 Big 12) – 12 PM ET, ESPNU
Prediction: West Virginia
Ole Miss (12-2, 2-0 SEC) @ #24Mississipi State (12-2, 0-1 SEC) – 1 PM ET, CBS
Prediction: Mississippi State
Seton Hall (12-4, 3-1 Big East) @ Marquette (13-3, 2-1 Big East) – 2 PM ET, FS1
VCU (11-4, 2-0 A 10) @ Davidson (11-4, 2-0 A 10) – 2 PM ET, CBSSN
#25Ohio State (12-3, 2-2 Big Ten) @ Iowa (13-3, 2-3 Big Ten) – 2:30 PM ET, BTN
Prediction: Ohio State
Texas A&M (6-7, 0-2 SEC) @ Alabama (10-4, 1-1 SEC) – 3:30 PM ET, SEC Network
#10Kansas (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) @ Baylor (9-5, 1-1 Big 12) – 4 PM ET, ESPN
Georgia (9-5, 1-1 SEC) @ #13Auburn (11-3, 0-1 SEC) – 4 PM ET, ESPN2
LSU (11-3, 1-0 SEC) @ Arkansas (10-4, 1-1 SEC) – 6 PM ET, SEC Network
Georgia Tech (9-6, 1-1 ACC) @ Syracuse (11-4, 2-0 ACC) – 6 PM ET, ESPN2
#14Nevada (15-1, 2-1 MW) @ Fresno State (12-3, 3-0 MW) – 8 PM ET, ESPNU
UConn (10-6, 1-2 American) @ Cincinnati (13-3, 2-1 American) – 8 PM ET, ESPN2
Vanderbilt (9-5, 0-2 SEC) @ #15Kentucky (11-3, 1-1 SEC) – 8:30 PM ET, SEC Network
#4Gonzaga (15-2, 2-0 WCC) @ San Francisco (14-2, 2-0 WCC) – 10 PM ET, ESPN2
Washington (11-4, 2-0 Pac-12) @ Colorado (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12) – 10 PM ET, ESPNU
Villanova (12-4, 3-1 Big East) @ Creighton (10-6, 1-2 Big East) – 12 PM ET, FOX
Butler (10-6, 1-2 Big East) @ Xavier (10-7, 2-2 Big East) – 12 PM ET, CBSSN
#4Michigan State (14-2, 5-0 Big Ten) @ Penn State (7-9, 0-5 Big Ten) – 4:30 PM ET, CBS
Prediction: Michigan State
Northwestern (10-6, 1-4 Big Ten) @ #6Michigan (16-0, 5-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 PM ET, BTN
USC (9-7, 2-1 Pac-12) @ Oregon (9-6, 0-2 Pac-12) – 8 PM ET, ESPNU
UCLA (10-6, 3-0 Pac-12) @ Oregon State (10-4, 2-0 Pac-12) – 10 PM ET, FS1
Prediction: Oregon State