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  • College Basketball Picks Week 2 (11/30-12/6)

College Basketball Picks Week 2 (11/30-12/6)

Monday, November 30th

#17 Texas (1-0) vs Davidson (1-0) in Asheville, NC
12 PM ET, ESPN2
Maui Invitational Quarterfinal

Pick: Texas

Indiana (1-0) vs Providence (1-0) in Asheville, NC
2:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Maui Invitational Quarterfinal

Pick: Indiana

St. John’s (2-0) vs Boston College (1-1) in Uncasville, CT
6 PM ET, ESPNU

Pick: St. John’s

#14 North Carolina (1-0) vs UNLV (0-1) in Asheville, NC
7 PM ET, ESPN2
Maui Invitational Quarterfinal

Pick: North Carolina

Stanford (0-0) vs Alabama (1-0) in Asheville, NC
9:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Maui Invitational Quarterfinal

Pick: Stanford

Tuesday, December 1st

#17 Texas (2-0) vs Indiana (2-0) in Asheville, NC

1:30 PM ET, ESPN
Maui Invitational Semifinal

I rated both of these teams fairly equally coming into the week (Texas 18th, Indiana 27th), but yesterday the Hoosiers inched past Texas in my rankings. IU blew out a decent Providence team while Texas was taken buzzer to buzzer by Davidson. I love Texas’ defense and their ability to get to the line, but the Hoosiers are a fundamentally sound team that refuses to turn the ball over. Trayce Jackson-Davis is a legit All-American contender, and the Hoosiers crushed Providence despite a poor performance from him. This will be close, but I’m taking the Hoosiers.

Pick: Indiana

USC (2-0) vs BYU (3-0) in Uncasville, CT
2:30 PM ET, ESPN2

Pick: BYU

#14 North Carolina (2-0) vs Stanford (1-0) in Asheville, NC

4 PM ET, ESPN
Maui Invitational Semifinal

North Carolina was beaten off the block by UNLV last night, falling behind 13-0, but the Tar Heels rallied to end up winning by 27. They take on a Stanford program that flew under the radar this summer but impressed with an 82-64 opening win vs Alabama last night. The Cardinal have a claim to be the best defensive team in America outside of Virginia, but their propensity to turn the ball the over scares me a lot. UNC has a solid mix of talented freshmen and experienced seniors, and I’ll side with Roy Williams and the Tar Heels since I’m already picking an upset in the other game, but it wouldn’t shock me if we had a Stanford-Indiana final.

Pick: North Carolina

Davidson (1-1) vs Providence (1-1) in Asheville, NC
7 PM ET, ESPN2
Maui Invitational Consolation Semifinal

Pick: Providence

Oklahoma State (2-0) @ Marquette (2-0)
7 PM ET, FS1

Pick: Marquette

#8 Michigan State (2-0) @ #6 Duke (1-0)

7:30 PM ET, ESPN

Duke looked far from impressive in an 81-71 home victory over lowly Coppin State on Saturday. The Blue Devils were consistently beat inside and were out-efforted by a program that consistently ranks among the worst in college basketball. With that being said, I was high on Duke before the season, and I’m not going to overreact to a one game sample size, especially a win. Jalen Johnson and DJ Steward are a pair of potential All-Americans for the Blue Devils, and the home-court will be the difference in this top ten showdown.

Pick: Duke

UNLV (0-2) vs Alabama (1-1) in Asheville, NC
9:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Maui Invitational Consolation Semifinal

Pick: Alabama

#20 Kentucky (1-1) vs #7 Kansas (1-1) in Indianapolis, IN

9:30 PM ET, ESPN

Not only did Kentucky lose to Richmond on Sunday, but the Wildcats looked awful doing it. John Calipari’s crew shot a disastrous 0-10 from long distance and turned the ball over 21 times (!). The Wildcats run into a Kansas team that dropped their opener to #1 Gonzaga but rebounded with a 94-72 beatdown of Saint Joseph’s the day after. I am firm in my conviction that Marcus Garrett is the best defender in college basketball, and he will lead the Jayhawks to victory here, dropping UK to 1-2 on the year.

Pick: Kansas

Wednesday, December 2nd

Indiana (2-1) vs Stanford (1-1) in Asheville, NC
1:30 PM ET, ESPN
Maui Invitational Third Place Game

Pick: Indiana

#17 Texas (3-0) vs #14 North Carolina (3-0) in Asheville, NC

4 PM ET, ESPN
Maui Invitational Championship

Texas proved me wrong yesterday, dominating the Indiana team I picked to upset the Longhorns. It was a full team effort; Matt Coleman led the ‘Horns with 16 points, and sixth man Brock Cunningham added six and 11 rebounds. UT ended up with a 66-44 win, a dominating performance over a talented IU offense that averaged 74 points in their first two games.

As for North Carolina, the Tar Heels struggled with turnovers again (24!), but narrowly escaped a good Stanford squad 67-63. Playing their third game in three days, I am a little worried about UNC’s lack of bench play. Roy Williams’ group only had eight bench points vs the Cardinal. A sloppy, inexperienced team like the Tar Heels seems like easy prey for Texas’ superb defense. Expect Shaka Smart’s crew to pick up the win, securing the Maui Invitional title and a 4-0 start heading into a huge game against Villanova on Sunday.

Pick: Texas

Seton Hall (1-1) @ Rhode Island (2-2)
7 PM ET, CBSSN

Pick: Seton Hall

#11 West Virginia (3-0) vs #1 Gonzaga (2-0) in Indianapolis, IN

7 PM ET, ESPN

West Virginia looked great in Sioux Falls, sweeping three excellent mid-major programs: SDSU, VCU, and Western Kentucky, with ease. The Mountaineers are led by the best big man duo in the country: Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe, and have an absurd 43% offensive rebound rate this year.

With that being said, I do have concerns about WVU, mainly, their shooting, which struggled in South Dakota. There is a reason the big men got so many offensive boards. Gonzaga has looked like the surefire best team in America so far this year; Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme are both potential players of the year, and Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert aren’t far behind.

I like this West Virginia team a lot, but I’m not sure I will pick anyone to beat Gonzaga all year. Give me the Bulldogs.

Pick: Gonzaga

Providence (2-1) vs Alabama (2-1) in Asheville, NC
7 PM ET, ESPN
Maui Invitational Fifth Place Game

Pick: Providence

#21 Oregon (0-0) vs Missouri (1-0) in Omaha, NE
9 PM ET, FS1

Pick: Oregon

#5 Illinois (3-0) vs #2 Baylor (2-0) in Indianapolis, IN

10 PM ET, ESPN

After beating their first two opponents by a combined 121 points, Illinois received a wakeup call on Saturday, needing last second heroics to escape with a 77-75 win over Ohio. The Illini now run into the #2 team in the country, the Baylor Bears. I love Illinois’ awesome scoring duo of Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu, but the close call against Ohio worries me a lot. Baylor, meanwhile, dominated a good Washington team 86-52 their last time out, and is currently shooting at almost exactly the same clip as Illinois, against much tougher competition. These are two top-ten teams playing on a neutral court, so it should be a good one, but I’m trusting the better defensive team when both teams can score, and that is Baylor by a mile.

Pick: Baylor

Thursday, December 3rd

UConn (2-0) vs USC (3-0) in Uncasville, CT
7 PM ET, ESPN

Pick: USC

Friday, December 4th

#4 Wisconsin (3-0) @ Marquette (2-1)

7 PM ET, FS1

This pick seems out of left field. Marquette just dropped a home game to Oklahoma State, Wisconsin is in the top-five, but in a college basketball season as crazy as this, you have to take some risks, and I think this Marquette squad is too good to start 2-2. DJ Carton is a high volume shooter that is clearly being positioned as the next Markus Howard, and Dawson Garcia is the best freshman in the Big East. At home, against a Wisconsin squad that lacks a star, I’ll pick my first major upset of the year.

Pick: Marquette

#21 Oregon (0-1) vs Seton Hall (1-2) in Omaha, NE
9 PM ET, FS1

Pick: Oregon

Saturday, December 5th

#1 Gonzaga (3-0) vs #2 Baylor (3-0) in Chicago, IL

1 PM ET, CBS

Its always huge when #1 faces #2, but especially so this early in the season, as the winner of this will position themselves as the team to beat as the calendar turns to 2021. Both squads are coming off of impressive performances on Wednesday night. Baylor handled Illinois 82-69 and never felt in true danger, while Gonzaga, playing without star PG Jalen Suggs due to injury for much of the game, trailed by as much as nine to West Virginia before coming back to win 87-82.

These are clearly the two best teams in the country, and might be in a league of their own, so getting them head-to-head on a neutral court is a huge game that may have #1 overall seed implications down the line. For Baylor, the offense is playing better than anyone in the country this year. The Bears rank top ten in both three-point percentage (47.3) and offensive rebound percentage (46). As for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs like to run. Mark Few’s group plays with one of the fastest tempos in the country, and the Bulldogs take and make efficient shots. This should be a close, fun game, but to me the difference is the height of the Zags, along with the fact that Baylor struggles from the free-throw line. In a game shaping up to be as close as this, that’s huge.

Pick: Gonzaga

SMU (3-0) @ Dayton (1-0)
2 PM ET, ESPN+

Pick: Dayton

Sunday, December 6th

#12 Villanova (3-1) @ #17 Texas (4-0)

1 PM ET, ESPN

So, uh, Texas is back? The Longhorns come into this one fresh off of a Maui Invitational victory, wherein they beat Davidson, Indiana, and North Carolina in the span of three days. The Longhorns are led by sharpshooting senior Matt Coleman, who had 22 points in the win over North Carolina on Wednesday. The Longhorns are a deep time, with two significant contributors: Kai Jones and Brock Cunningham, coming off the bench every game. I still really like this Villanova team, led by sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, but the Wildcats have struggled on defense this year, and against a Texas team that may play the best defense in the country, I expect Jay Wright’s Wildcats to drop to 3-2 on the season.

Pick: Texas

Xavier (5-0) @ Cincinnati (1-0)
3 PM ET, ESPN

Pick: Cincinnati

Oklahoma (1-0) @ TCU (4-0)
4 PM ET, ESPN2

Pick: Oklahoma

Seton Hall (1-3) @ Penn State (2-0)
8 PM ET, BTN

Pick: Penn State

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