Creighton v Connecticut
The Creighton Bluejays come into this one of an 18-point victory over St John’s on Thursday, reaffirming their place as the #9 team in the country after their second loss of the season on Monday to Marquette.
Marcus Zegarowski scored 20 points and added 5 assists for the 5-2 Bluejays on Thursday, where they had five different players score in double figures and two players have double doubles.
You 👏 can’t 👏 stop 👏 Marcus 👏 pic.twitter.com/RMKe9sNOsX
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) December 18, 2020
Creighton’s other loss was a one-point nailbiter to #5 Kansas in their only matchup against a ranked team this season. The Bluejays now face the UConn Huskies who are 3-0 on the season but are yet to play a ranked opponent.
James Bouknight had 18 and 7 in the Huskies last game, a three-point victory over USC on December 3rd. Bouknight is leading the team with averages of 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals while he is getting steady contributions from R.J. Cole and Isaiah Whaley.
UConn hasn’t played in over two weeks due to COVID-19 and the Bluejays seemed to regain their rhythm on Thursday. Creighton should be winning this one.
College basketball pick – Creighton by 13.
Rutgers v Illinois
The #19 Scarlet Knights host the #13 Fighting Illini in some Big Ten action. Both teams are 1-0 in conference play so far and will be wanting to keep their perfect record intact.
Rutgers are 5-0 in all games played and that is thanks to Ron Harper Jr. The Junior Guard is averaging 23.2 points and 7.3 boards per contest. In their last matchup against Maryland, Harper put up 27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in the 14 point win.
He will have to be the driving force against the Fighting Illini who, despite a 5-2 record, have a much better resume than Rutgers’. The Scarlet Knights are yet to face a ranked opponent whereas Illinois has played three.
— Rutgers Basketball 🏀 (@RutgersMBB) December 17, 2020
The Fighting Illini lost to #2 Baylor, but it has been the Bears smallest margin of victory by a long way from their first four. They then beat #21 Duke before narrowly losing to #16 Missouri.
Illinois is led by Ayo Dosunmu who is averaging 22.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, while Kofi Cockburn is putting up 16.7 points, 9.4 boards and 1.3 blocks.
Rutgers has a perfect record at the moment but haven’t faced a real hard test so far and that will be their undoing. The Fighting Illini have proven they can win with their offense or their defense and played against some of the best in the nation. Illinois will get over the line.
College basketball pick – Illinois by 7.
Texas v Oklahoma St.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are coming off their first loss of the season and travel to Texas to take on the #11 Longhorns.
The Cowboys started a perfect 6-0 before falling to TCU on Wednesday. With that being said, Oklahoma State is yet to face a ranked team and have a tough battle against the Longhorns.
Cade Cunningham is the main man for the Cowboys, with averages of 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks. He is all over the court for the side and gets some assistance from Isaac Likekele who is putting up 10.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
— Texas Men’s Basketball (@TexasMBB) December 17, 2020
They will need all of that and more if they are any chance of beating Texas, who are 6-1 on the season. Their only loss was by four points to #7 Villanova, while the Longhorns have claimed a ranked opponent scalp by beating #22 North Carolina.
Texas uses a three-pronged approach with Courtney Ramey, Matt Coleman III and Greg Brown leading the way for the team that has only allowed opponents to score 70 or more points once from their seven games.
Texas is the better side, has faced better sides, and will get over the line in this one.
College basketball pick – Texas by 13.
Houston v Alcorn State
The Houston Cougars play host to the Alcorn State Braves, in what will be just the Braves second game of the season.
Alcorn State hasn’t played since November 25th due to COVID-19 complications, where UAB beat them by 49 points. The Braves only managed 50 points and just two assists for the entire game, with Kurk Lee being the lead scorer with 14 points.
— GoCoogs.com (@gocoogs1) December 14, 2020
After three and a half weeks off, they face a #6 Houston side that is 4-0 on the season with a massive 11 point victory over #14 Texas Tech. The Cougars haven’t played since the 5th of December due to COVID-19, but have obviously looked a lot more convincing in their games.
Both Quentin Grimes and Marcus Sesser are averaging over 17 points per game while DeJon Jerreau leads the team in rebounds, assists and steals.
Houston already has one 40+ point win this season and this one could be very similar.
College basketball pick – Houston by 47.
Northwestern v Michigan State
The #4 team in the country, Michigan State, travel to Indiana to take on Northwestern.
Michigan State has started the season in fine form, with a 6-0 record and a big victory over #21 Duke on their resume. Last week in their victory over Oakland, the Spartans had seven different players score in double figures, led by Gabe Brown who dropped 20 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
Joey Hauser is the main man for a very even Michigan State team with averages of 13.3 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Henry has his hands in everything, putting up 12.2 points, 6 boards, 5.2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks per contest.
“In terms of the Big Ten season, this is definitely one of the better years in this conference so I’m just excited. I’m ready to go out and play.”
— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) December 17, 2020
The one query over the Spartans is that they haven’t had a victory of more than 18 points yet so far. A lot of the other teams around them have had some monster victories, but the Spartans don’t seem like they can put teams away for good.
Northwestern, who is just 3-1 on the season, will be looking to capatilise on that. The Wildcats are yet to face a ranked opponent and dropped a game to Pittsburgh, but come into this on the back of a 52 point victory over Quincey. Miller Kopp was the hot hand in that one, scoring 23 points while three of his teammates also scored in double figures.
Six players 10 points per game or more for the Wildcats, led by Kopp who is averaging 16.3 points per contest while Pete Nance is putting up 10 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks averages.
Despite no blowout victories, Michigan State is the #4 side in the country for a reason, and will show us why against Northwestern.
College basketball pick – Michigan State by 14.
*Odds correct at time of writing.
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