College Basketball Picks Week 11 – #2 Duke vs #1 Virginia

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.

Monday, 11/4

#15Nebraska (12-4, 2-3 Big Ten) @ #25Indiana (12-4, 3-2 Big Ten) – 6:30 PM ET, FS1

In the most recent bracketology (which I should mention was the most accurate in the country last season) the Big Ten received an insane ten bids to the big dance just a year after getting just four in, so it is no surprise that Monday’s college basketball slate is headlined by two Big Ten games. I took Indiana to beat Maryland on the road last Friday, and it was looking good for a while, the Hoosiers were up 28-14 at the tail end of the first half, but they ended up choking it away and losing by three when all was said and done despite an incredible 28 point performance from star freshman Romeo Langford. Despite them killing me on Friday, I’ll take Indiana to beat a higher ranked team again here despite my better judgment.  The Hoosiers will have the home court advantage and Nebraska is just 1-3 in road games this year, the only win being by just two points over a disappointing Clemson team. IU shoots just about as well as anybody in the nation (57.5 eFG%) and I see them making Nebraska play at their pace and ultimately pulling away late.

Prediction: Indiana

#14Wisconsin (11-5, 3-2 Big Ten) @ #21Maryland (14-3, 5-1 Big Ten) – 8:30 PM ET, FS1

Wisconsin lost an absolute heartbreaker in overtime to Purdue on Friday, meaning that in their last five games against KenPom top-300 teams, the Badgers are just 1-4. They need a victory here badly. It’s been a season of heartbreakers for Wisconsin so far, every game they’ve lost has been by seven or fewer points and two came in overtime. That bad luck plus the fact that they’ve played a top 25 schedule in the country means that UW is a lot better than their record indicates, as you can tell by their KenPom ranking. They’ll go on the road here to take on Maryland team fresh off of a come from behind win over Indiana on Friday and winners of five straight. I’ve gone back and forth on this one for a while, but at the end of the day, I think Ethan Happ is just a tough matchup for Maryland. I’m not sure how much I trust Bruno Fernando on the defensive end of the floor, and also, Wisconsin just really needs this win and they’ll be playing desperately for it. Give me the Badgers to pull the upset on the road in a tight one.

Prediction: Wisconsin

Syracuse (11-5, 2-1 ACC) @ #1Duke (14-1, 3-0 ACC) – 7 PM ET, ESPN

Prediction: Duke

#19Florida State (13-3, 1-2 ACC) @ Pittsburgh (11-5, 1-2 ACC) – 7 PM ET, ESPNU

Prediction: Florida State

Texas (10-6, 2-2 Big 12) @ #9Kansas (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) – 9 PM ET, ESPN

Prediction: Kansas

Baylor (9-6, 1-2 Big 12) @ Oklahoma State (8-8, 2-2 Big 12) – 9 PM ET, ESPNU

Prediction: Baylor

Tuesday, January 15th

Seton Hall (12-5, 3-2 Big East) @ Providence (10-6, 0-3 Big East) – 6:30 PM ET, FS1

Prediction: Seton Hall

Arkansas (10-5, 1-2 SEC) @ #5Tennessee (14-1, 3-0 SEC) – 7 PM ET, ESPN2

Prediction: Tennessee

West Virginia (8-8, 0-4 Big 12) @ #22TCU (12-3, 1-2 Big 12) – 7 PM ET, ESPNU

Prediction: TCU

#15Kentucky (12-3, 2-1 SEC) @ Georgia (9-6, 1-2 SEC) – 7 PM ET, ESPN

Prediction: Kentucky

Rutgers (8-7, 1-4 Big Ten) @ #16Purdue (10-6, 3-2 Big Ten) – 7 PM ET, BTN

Prediction: Purdue

Marquette (14-3, 3-1 Big East) @ Georgetown (12-5, 2-2 Big East) – 8:30 PM ET, FS1

Prediction: Georgetown

LSU (12-3, 2-0 SEC) @ Ole Miss (13-2, 3-0 SEC) – 9 PM ET, SEC Network

Prediction: Ole Miss

Notre Dame (11-5, 1-2 ACC) @ #9North Carolina (12-4, 2-1 ACC) – 9 PM ET, ESPN

Prediction: North Carolina

Thursday, 1/17

#3Michigan State (15-2, 6-0 Big Ten) @ #11Nebraska (13-4, 3-3 Big Ten) – 8 PM ET, FS1

Nebraska has flown under the radar this year for the most part, but the computers really like the Cornhuskers, who rank 11th in KenPom, 9th in Haslametrics, and 10th in Sagarin. When you play in the loaded Big Ten, which could get ten teams into the big dance, you can rack up losses without losing a lot of credibility with the computers, while pollsters focus a lot more on the number. Tim Miles’ boys are coming off of their best win of their so far, a 14 point road win over a borderline top 25 Indiana team. They’ll face a much tougher test here when they run into Michigan State, although they’ll get the game at home. Tom Izzo and company are battle tested, having faced the #8 SOS and still being ranked the #6 shooting team (by eFG%) in the nation, as well as holding opponents to the #6 lowest eFG% in the country. Their only losses were by five points or fewer to top 25 teams away from home, and while this is another one of those games, I think they avenge those demons here. MSU comes into this one on the backs of ten straight wins, a streak I see them continuing despite facing a tough road environment (Nebraska has the #2 HCA in the Big Ten). The Spartans will lean on Nick Ward and Cassius Winston here due to the absence of Joshua Langford, and I think they get the win here in a tight one thanks to a strong shooting performance from the junior combo.

Prediction: Michigan State

Oregon (10-6, 1-2 Pac-12) @ Arizona (13-4, 4-0 Pac-12) – 9 PM ET, ESPN

Prediction: Arizona

Oregon State (11-4, 3-0 Pac-12) @ Arizona State (11-5, 2-2 Pac-12) – 10 PM ET, FS1

Prediction: Oregon State

Friday, 1/18

#20Maryland (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten) @ Ohio State (12-4, 2-3 Big Ten) – 6:30 PM ET, FS1

After a 12-1 start to the year, Ohio State has run into reality fast, and since the true start of conference play, they’re 0-3. To be fair, two of those losses were to Michigan State and @ Iowa, but this Ohio State team should not be dropping winnable games against teams like Rutgers. They get a chance to get back on the right foot against a Maryland team I’ve been a doubter of for much of the year. The Terps have gained my trust in recent weeks though, winners of six straight including games against Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Indiana. I’m late to the train, but I’m on board for Maryland as the #3 team in the conference, and I see the height of the Terps coming in big here against a reeling Ohio State team. The Buckeyes need this win more, I just think that Maryland will deny them on the backs of a strong performance from 6-10 monster Bruno Fernando, someone I’m not sure Kaleb Wesson will be able to defend.

Prediction: Maryland 69, Ohio State 67

Xavier (11-7, 3-2 Big East) @ #21Villanova (13-4, 4-0 Big East) – 8:30 PM ET, FS1

Prediction: Villanova 74, Xavier 62

Saturday, 1/19

#6Michigan (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten) @ #17Wisconsin (11-6, 3-3 Big Ten) – 12 PM ET, ESPN

Both of the two remaining undefeated will have to travel to take on KenPom top 20 teams Saturday, Michigan goes first, taking the short trip to Madison to take on a reeling Wisconsin team that the computers are still high on but the pollsters are less so. In their last six games against KenPom top-300 teams, the Badgers are 1-5 with losses @ Western Kentucky and vs Minnesota. To be fair, all six of UW’s losses have been by single digits, with two coming in overtime, but it isn’t like they’ve been lighting the world on fire outside of that. Apologies to Ken, but I really don’t see the Badgers quite at that top 20 level, and while I hope they prove me wrong and we get an upset to kick off the day, no team has been even within single digits of the Wolverines in over a month, they’ve been incredibly dominant, and while I don’t think they blow out Happ and the Badgers here, I think the stout John Beilein defense (didn’t think I’d be saying that) will win the day here and keep Michigan in control from tip to buzzer.

Prediction: Michigan 66, Wisconsin 60

Indiana (12-5, 3-3 Big Ten) @ #15Purdue (11-6, 4-2 Big Ten) – 2 PM ET, FOX

Indiana had really been impressing me, starting the season 12-2, with the only losses @ Arkansas and @ Duke, I really thought the Hoosiers, led by awesome freshman Romeo Langford, could make some noise in the crowded Big Ten, but in their last three games they’ve gone 0-3, and while two of three were away from home and all three were against higher ranked teams, I was really pulling for them to pick up a win. Now IU faces another conference road test against another higher ranked foe. It’s a tough break, but that is life in the Big Ten. Unlike Wisconsin, Purdue is a team with six losses that I do feel I can trust, three of their six losses are to teams ranked in the top seven, and they are fresh off of a road win against Wisconsin last Friday. With the home crowd behind them, I see them capitalizing on a Hoosier squad desperate for a win and taking this one convincingly thanks to their efficient offense led by one of the top distributors in the nation, Carsen Edwards.

Prediction: Purdue 74, Indiana 65

#13Kentucky (13-3, 3-1 SEC) @ #11Auburn (13-3, 2-1 SEC) – 4 PM ET, ESPN

Tennessee seems to already have the SEC crown locked up, and the race for the rest of the top-four spots (which give the holder a double-bye in the SEC tournament) will be close, with six teams ranked between 10th and 35th in KenPom right now, along with a South Carolina team off to a shocking 4-0 start. I haven’t trusted Auburn at all this year, especially after they got taken to overtime by UAB. I picked them to be upset by Ole Miss a couple weeks back and not only did they get upset but they were embarrassed, not holding a lead the entire game and eventually losing by 15. They have the home court advantage here, and they’re the higher ranked team in the metrics, but I just can’t pick them. Kentucky hasn’t quite lived up to preseason expectations, but after a rough start, they’re getting close, with their only loss in the past month coming by two @ an Alabama team that made my most recent bracketology, and they’ve picked up wins away from home against North Carolina and Louisville in that time. Really, ever since getting used to the absence of Quade Green, UK has, somewhat illogically, been a better team. Reid Travis provides some senior leadership, and Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro are starting to play like the high-caliber freshman they were prophecized to be. I’m going to disagree with KenPom here, and I see Big Blue traveling well and pulling a big upset on the road to take back control of the #2 spot in the conference.

Prediction: Kentucky 73, Auburn 71

#18TCU (13-3, 2-2 Big 12) @ Kansas State (13-4, 3-2 Big 12) – 4 PM ET, ESPN2

There’s a decent chance you might not have watched them play a single time this season, but make a note to on Saturday if the SEC game gets out of hand, because this TCU team is good. Outside of a loss to a borderline top-50 Lipscomb team, TCU’s only losses have come on the road by single digits against teams currently on top three seed lines in my latest bracketology: Kansas and Oklahoma. Despite their high KenPom ranking, the Horned Frogs don’t really have a lot of high quality wins, and I think the fact they’ve been so dominant against sub-100 teams may have inflated their standing a bit in the eyes of computer models and Vegas, and while I think they are a good team, top 20 is quite a stretch. This would, by far, be their best win to date, but I don’t think they get it. Kasnsas State sits as a ten seed in the bracketology right now, squarely on the bubble, so they need it more, and Manhattan is proven to be a really tough place to play (3.9 point HCA). Barry Brown is the star of the show for Bruce Weber’s Wildcats, sometimes taking the ball up the court, and other times shifting into the two and three roles. TCU just doesn’t have a playmaker like Brown, and with the weekend crowd at their backs, I think the Wildcats pull the upset and add a huge win to their resume that already features road wins against two top-30 KenPom teams in Iowa State and Oklahoma.

Prediction: Kansas State 68, TCU 66

#1Virginia (16-0, 4-0 ACC) @ #2Duke (14-2, 3-1 ACC) – 6 PM ET, ESPN

To be fair, you always hear about that “Vegas Bump” that popular teams like Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky get in the Vegas lines to ensure that the oddsmakers receive equal bets on each side, but when this line came out and Virginia wasn’t favored, I was shocked. The Cavaliers have undoubtedly been the best team in the country to me so far (and most metrics back me up on that), and Duke is missing a key piece in distributor Tre Jones. Had Jones been playing, it would’ve been a tough call, but I think I’d probably have ended up picking Duke given the home court edge, I just don’t think most people realize how key of a piece he is to this team’s success. He dishes well, doesn’t turn the ball over, and creates possessions by getting steals on the defensive end. He reminds me a lot of a young Aaron Craft in those ways. Just because you average single-digit points doesn’t mean you aren’t an important piece. Anybody could see that Duke missed him a lot after he left against Syracuse, and while if they had even an average shooting night they would’ve won that game, it shouldn’t have been that close to begin with against a Syracuse team that has been a pretty big disappointment this year after starting the season as a borderline top-ten squad. Although many could say Jones’ absence is what forced them to bomb threes unsuccessfully without him as an effective passer on the offensive end of the court. They’ll probably miss his defensive pressure on Ty Jerome even more than his contributions on the offensive end, though, as Jerome can hit it from anywhere on the floor. As for Virginia, they mauled Virginia Tech in their midweek game, playing the best half of any team I’ve seen this year to be up on the #7 Hokies 44-22 at the break. They treated the #7 team like they were Savannah State. This Cavalier team has been firing on all cylinders, they rank #1 in my bracketology, #1 in the computers, #1 in my personal power rankings, and even in a tough road environment, I think they do the same thing they did last year and walk out of Cameron with a win.

Prediction: Virginia 71, Duke 67

#10North Carolina (13-4, 3-1 ACC) @ Miami (9-7, 1-3 ACC) – 12 PM ET, ESPN2

Prediction: North Carolina 80, Miami 72

#23Florida (9-7, 1-3 SEC) @ Georgia (9-7, 1-3 SEC) – 12 PM ET, CBS

Prediction: Florida 70, Georgia 63

Arkansas (10-6, 1-3 SEC) @ Ole Miss (13-3, 3-1 SEC) – 1 PM ET, SEC Network

Prediction: Ole Miss 77, Arkansas 69

NC State (14-3, 2-2 ACC) @ Notre Dame (11-6, 1-3 ACC) – 2 PM ET, ESPN3

Prediction: Notre Dame 77, NC State 75

#9Kansas (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) @ West Virginia (8-9, 0-5 Big 12) – 2 PM ET, ESPN

Prediction: Kansas 76, West Virginia 69

Alabama (11-5, 2-2 SEC) @ #5Tennessee (15-1, 4-0 SEC) – 2 PM ET, ESPN2

Prediction: Tennessee 79, Alabama 67

Pittsburgh (12-5, 2-2 ACC) @ Syracuse (12-5, 3-1 ACC) – 2 PM ET, ESPN3

Prediction: Syracuse 71, Pittsburgh 63

Cincinnati (15-3, 4-1 American) @ Wichita State (8-8, 1-3 American) – 2 PM ET, CBS

Prediction: Wichita State 67, Cincinnati 66

#22Louisville (12-5, 3-1 ACC) @ Georgia Tech (10-7, 2-2 ACC) – 4 PM ET, ESPN3

Prediction: Louisville 70, Georgia Tech 65

St. John’s (15-3, 3-3 Big East) @ Butler (11-7, 2-3 Big East) – 4:30 PM ET, FOX

Prediction: Butler 73, St. John’s 69

#8Texas Tech (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) @ Baylor (10-6, 2-2 Big 12) – 6 PM ET, ESPN2

Prediction: Baylor 66, Texas Tech 62

Oklahoma State (8-9, 2-3 Big 12) @ #14Iowa State (13-4, 3-2 Big 12) – 6 PM ET, ESPNU

Prediction: Iowa State 77, Oklahoma State 62

South Carolina (9-7, 4-0 SEC) @ LSU (13-3, 3-0 SEC) – 6 PM ET, SEC Network

Prediction: LSU 80, South Carolina 69

Oregon State (11-5, 3-1 Pac-12) @ Arizona (13-5, 4-1 Pac-12) – 7 PM ET, Pac-12 Network

Prediction: Arizona 69, Oregon State 63

Oklahoma (13-4, 2-3 Big 12) @ Texas (10-7, 2-3 Big 12) – 8 PM ET, LHN

Prediction: Oklahoma 68, Texas 67

#25Mississippi State (13-3, 1-2 SEC) @ Vanderbilt (9-7, 0-4 SEC) – 8:30 PM ET, SEC Network

Prediction: Mississippi State 73, Vanderbilt 69

Penn State (7-11, 0-7 Big Ten) @ Minnesota (13-4, 3-3 Big Ten) – 8:30 PM ET, BTN

Prediction: Minnesota 71, Penn State 66

Oregon (11-6, 2-2 Pac-12) @ Arizona State (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) – 9:30 PM ET, Pac-12 Network

Prediction: Arizona State 72, Oregon 66

Sunday, January 20th

Providence (11-6, 1-3 Big East) @ Marquette (15-3, 4-1 Big East) – 12 PM ET, CBSSN

Prediction: Marquette 73, Providence 67

Illinois (5-12, 1-5 Big Ten) @ Iowa (15-3, 4-3 Big Ten) – 1 PM ET, BTN

Prediction: Iowa 80, Illinois 72

Leave a Reply