There will be a new No. 1 team in the polls on Monday as top-ranked Gonzaga was knocked off by No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday in Phoenix. Admiral Schofield hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left and scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half. The new No. 1 likely will be Kansas. Here’s a look at two interesting matchups this week. Check back for college basketball odds on game day.
Top NCAA Basketball Betting Picks of the Week – December 10th
This concludes the Philadelphia Big 5 schedule for the defending national champion Wildcats. They won their 25th straight game against city competition on Saturday, 70-58 over Saint Joseph’s. The streak began with a 68-55 win over Penn on Dec. 8, 2012.
The Wildcats built a 22-point second half lead before seeing the Hawks shave the deficit to 62-56 with 2:39 to play. But a clutch 3-pointer by redshirt senior Phil Booth helped put a stop to the Hawks surge and helped lift Villanova to its sixth straight win.
Senior Eric Paschall led Villanova with 14 points and nine rebounds. Booth contributed 12 points, six assists, and a single turnover. Joe Cremo (12 points) and Jermaine Samuels (11 points, eight rebounds) were part of a bench scoring effort that added 31 points on the day. On the season the Wildcats’ +8.0 rebounding margin is second in the Big East (DePaul +9.7).
That was Villanova’s final home game of the 2018 calendar year. The Wildcats won’t play at home again until Jan. 2 when they open the Big East portion of their schedule against DePaul at the Finneran Pavilion.
For this one, the Wildcats visit the Palestra for the second time this month, having downed La Salle 85-78 there on Dec. 1. The Wildcats have taken the last eight meetings with the Quakers at the Palestra, a stretch that dates to 2003.
Penn (8-2) won its Big 5 opener at La Salle on Saturday, 83-65. A 25-4 run spanning both halves let the Quakers pull away for good. The lead got as large as 28 points before Penn got a bit sloppy. As Penn rolled up 13 second-half turnovers of its own, the Explorers briefly threatened with a 14-4 run that cut the deficit to 16 points with under eight minutes left, but they would get no closer than that.
Penn’s 18-point margin of victory on Saturday was its biggest in a Big 5 win since a 71-47 win over La Salle on January 14, 2004. That win also took place in the Explorers’ Tom Gola Arena. Penn’s average margin of victory in its seven Division 1 wins this season is 16.2 points. Penn shot 57.4 percent from the field and improved to 8-0 this season when shooting a better field-goal percentage than its opponent (La Salle shot 40 percent). Penn improved to 6-0 this season and 42-6 under head coach Steve Donahue when leading at the half.
Penn’s 8-2 start is its best since the 1994-95 team also started 8-2.
LSU at Houston
When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET (ESPN2)
Houston should be ranked in Monday’s new polls as the Cougars are one of just a handful of unbeatens left in the country at 8-0. They already knocked off ranked Oregon and Saturday won at Oklahoma State, which is never easy to do. Junior guard Armoni Brooks led all players with 23 points. Brooks enjoyed his fourth 20-point game of the season, thanks to 7-of-13 shooting from the 3-point line, tying his personal best for 3-point field goals made. Brooks is one of only two players to rank among The American Athletic Conference’s Top 11 leaders in both scoring and rebounding.
Houston also enjoyed its first victory in Stillwater, Okla., after falling in their previous eight tries. Oklahoma State dropped its third straight and fell to 4-5. The 2018-19 Cougars are just the third team in school history to start 8-0 and the first since 1969-70. They have a 21-game home winning streak, the second-longest active streak in the nation.
LSU is off to a 7-2 start – it also has played Oklahoma State in the early going and lost to the Cowboys on Nov. 25, in a holiday tournament in Florida. The Tigers are off a 91-50 rout of something called Incarnate Word on Sunday. Naz Reid, back in the starting lineup after a one-game absence, scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 22 minutes. LSU outrebounded UIW 43-20 and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, led by Kavell Bigby-Williams’ 10 rebounds – six on the offensive glass. He also tossed in 14 points for his first double-double of the season.
LSU’s bench was limited on Sunday, as Emmitt Williams and Daryl Edwards were not dressed out. Every healthy Tiger saw the floor against Incarnate Word, and everyone scored at least two points.
Expert NCAA Basketball Betting Picks
Take Penn and the points as Villanova may be looking ahead to facing Kansas on Saturday. Also, bet Houston.