While it’s tempting to start looking ahead to March Madness, the reality is that there is a tone of basketball still to be played before then. Outside of the tournament, this is actually the best part of the college basketball season, as it’s when we get heavily into conference play, which is often when we see the true contenders rise to the top.
The teams that are high in the rankings right now may not be there when the regular season ends, as every game played between now and March Madness can have a huge impact on those final standings. Let’s take a look at some of the best games on the College Basketball betting radar this week.
Top NCAA Basketball Betting Picks of the Week – January 21st Edition
Virginia Tech Hokies at North Carolina Tar Heels – Monday
We are still very early in conference play, but it’s already fair to suggest that the ACC may well be the conference to watch. Heading into this week, there are no less than 6 teams sharing the top spot with a 4-1 record. Two of those teams will go head to head on Monday night, with the Virginia Tech Hokies hitting the road to face the North Carolina Tar Heels.
There is very little to separate these two teams right now, although the one thing that stands out is that both losses that the Hokies have taken this season have come on the road, which is why I think the Tar Heels edge this one.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kentucky Wildcats – Tuesday
The Mississippi State Bulldogs entered SEC play with a solid 12-1 record, but back to back losses to get things started in the SEC saw them drop down the rankings. They could easily have faltered badly, but they have instead bounced back with 2 straight wins over Florida and Ole Miss.
They have some work to do to get back in the hunt for a regular season conference title, but they can help their cause with a win over Kentucky, who have started their SEC play with a 4-1 record. Both teams are 14-3 on the season, but you have to like Kentucky at home here.
Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma State Cowboys – WednesdayIt is very often conference play that can disrupt a positive start to the season, which is exactly what has happened to the Sooners. They are currently sitting at 2-4 in the Big 12 and closed out last week with back to back losses.
They come into this meeting with the same conference record as the Oklahoma State Cowboys, but overall, it is the Sooners who have made the better start, winning 5 more games than their in-state rivals. The Sooners beat the Cowboys 74-64 when they met a couple of weeks back and I expect a similar outcome in this one.
Michigan State Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes – Thursday
The Spartans are on a roll right now, coming into the new week on an 11-game winning streak that includes a perfect 7-0 record in the Big Ten. As good as they have looked on their way to a 16-2 record, they will be well aware that both Maryland and Michigan are breathing down their necks in the conference standings.
Further down those rankings in where you will find the Iowa Hawkeyes, who have started their run in the conference at 2-4. They were pummeled 90-68 in an earlier meeting with the Spartans, and while this one should be closer, it should still be another win for Michigan State.