Purdue vs Ohio State
In what will be both teams first Big Ten conference bout for the year, the No. 20 Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Indiana to take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Wednesday.
Despite starting the season 5-0, the Buckeyes haven’t been playing their best basketball recently and may be tested by the Boilermakers, who will be Ohio State’s first opponent with a winning record this year.
The Buckeyes will also be coming into their toughest matchup of the season without their leading scorer E.J. Liddell, who is out indefinitely due to a non-COVID-19 illness.
Liddell has averaged a team high 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds through Ohio State’s first five games.
In his absence freshman centre Zed Key will be forced to step up for the Buckeyes, coming off his first career double-double against Cleveland State on Sunday night. Keys put up 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Purdue will begin their Big Ten conference play fresh off a win against rivals, Indiana State Sycamores, to remain undefeated at home.
Junior centre Trevion Williams scored 30 points and 11 rebounds off the bench against Indiana State, and was one of five Boilermakers in double digit scoring.
Williams 11 rebounds as well as a career high 13 boards for Aaron Wheeler helped lead Purdue to a 40-24 rebound advantage.
Ohio State announces E.J. Liddell is out indefinitely with a non-COVID illness
— Justin Holbrock (@NBC4Justin) December 11, 2020
With E.J. Liddell sidelined, Purdue should upset Ohio State on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten at home.
College basketball pick – Purdue by 6.
Villanova vs Butler
The No. 7 Villanova Wildcats will host the Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday, pursuing their fourth consecutive victory in a battle of Big East rivals.
With only one game under their belt this season, the Bulldogs are 1-0 after defeating Western Michigan 66-62 in November. Due to a player testing positive to COVID-19, Butler hasn’t played a game since.
It’s tough to get a read on a team that’s only played one game this season, especially with that game occuring almost three weeks ago.
However, Aaron Thompson stepped up with a career-high 21 points against Western Michigan, and Jair Bolden was instrumental running the offense with 15 points and nine assists.
The Wildcats improved to 5-1 following a 76-63 win over Georgetown in their Big East opener on Friday. Villanova prevailed despite once trailing by 18 points, completing their largest comeback victory since 2012.
Caleb Daniels and Collin Gillespie led the way with 18 points apiece in Villanova’s victory.
Gillespie is also the team’s leading scorer, with 15.2 points per game, and the team’s best facilitator, leading the Wildcats with 4.5 assists per game.
Villanova’s one blemish for the season came in an upset overtime loss to Virginia Tech in late November.
Collin Gillespie, No. 9 Villanova claw back from 18-point deficit to defeat Georgetown, 76-63 https://t.co/AbBanOhKii
— Coach Billy Carson (@CoachCarson) December 12, 2020
Villanova are the -150 favourite to win the Big East, with Butler coming in at +10000. The Wildcats should have no trouble notching another conference win, especially given that Butler hasn’t played since November.
College basketball pick – Villanova by 22.
Texas vs SAMHOU
The No. 11 Texas Longhorns will look to continue their march up the national rankings when they host the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Wednesday.
Sam Houston State slipped below .500 (3-4) following their 88-66 loss at LSU on Monday.
Demarkus Lampley led the Bearkats with 16 points in the loss, while Zach Nutall added 13 points, bringing his team high points per game average down to 21.1.
The Longhorns improved two places in the AP rankings, climbing from No. 13 to No. 11, following their 74-53 over Texas State on Monday.
The win over Texas State was just what the Longhorns needed after their 68-64 home loss against the now No. 7 ranked Villanova Wildcats.
With a 13 point lead at half time of their game against Texas State, freshman forward Greg Brown III scored 16 of his career high 18 points in the second half to help seal the victory.
— Texas Men’s Basketball (@TexasMBB) December 10, 2020
Given that the Longhorns have earned their highest AP ranking since 2015, Texas should have no trouble defeating Sam Houston State, progressing to 6-1 and leaving the Bearkats two games below .500.
College basketball pick – Texas by 18.
Notre Dame vs Duke
The No. 21 Duke Blue Devils will travel to Notre Dame to face the Fighting Irish for both team’s ACC season openers.
The Fighting Irish (2-2) are coming off a one point win against Kentucky. Notre Dame put on a scoring display against the Wildcats, going on a 19-0 run early in the game which resulted in a 22 point halftime lead.
Yes, the Fighting Irish did almost blow their big lead, only holding onto a one point win, however 21 points and nine rebounds from Nate Laszewski was enough to get Notre Dame over the line.
After suffering back-to-back losses at Cameron Indoor Arena for the first time since 1982, this will be the Duke Blue Devils’ first game since canceling their non-conference matches.
At 2-2, Duke’s talented but young roster has not played to their high standards this season and will need to put together a complete performance to bounce back against Notre Dame in their ACC season opener.
In Duke’s most recent game, they were defeated 83-68 by the now No. 13 ranked Illinois FIghting Illni.
Matthew Hurt (19.0 PPG) leads the scoring for Duke and is one of three Blue Devils averaging double digit points this season. Hurt is joined by DJ Steward, 11.8 PPG and Jalen Johnson, 11.5 PPG.
NEWS: Freshman Jalen Johnson is out indefinitely with a foot injury. He will not play tomorrow at Notre Dame. pic.twitter.com/f3KrMfAkZH
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) December 15, 2020
Given that Duke freshman Jalen Johnson (who is ranked No. 5 in ESPN’s 2021 NBA draft rankings) will not play against Notre Dame due to a foot injury, the Fighting Irish will come away with a home win against the Duke Blue Devils in their ACC season opener.
College basketball pick – Notre Dame by 4.
*Odds correct at time of publication.
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