How good has Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III been this season? He’s a leading national player of the year candidate for the No. 1 Blue Devils and has eight double-double this season, tied with Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy for the most in Division I. Here’s a look at two good NCAAB picks and matchups this week – both on Tuesday. Don’t forget top check the College Basketball odds on the same day before the games go off the board!
Top NCAAB Picks & Predictions of the Week – December 4th Edition
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) December 3, 2017
Syracuse vs. Connecticut
When: Tuesday, 9 PM ET (ESPN)
This game is part of the Jimmy V. Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Of course, these two used to be Big East rivals – now the Orange are in the ACC.
This past weekend was not a great one for Syracuse. It suffered its first loss of the season Saturday to No. 2 Kansas. Tyus Battle scored 22 points for Syracuse (6-1), which was playing away from the Carrier Dome for the first time this season. Frank Howard scored 15 and Oshae Brissett had 13 for Syracuse.
In addition, graduate transfer Geno Thorpe has left the program for personal reasons, the school announced Friday. Thorpe, who averaged a team-high 15.1 points and 4.6 assists to lead South Florida last season, played in all six of the Orange’s games this season and averaged 6.0 points and just more than 14 minutes of playing time.
The loss of Thorpe leaves the unbeaten Orange with only eight scholarship players. Last season, coach Jim Boeheim relied heavily on graduate transfers Andrew White and John Gillon, and the 6-foot-4 Thorpe was expected to help fill some of the void left by their departures. He shot 37.5 percent from behind the arc last season but was just 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from long range for the Orange.
The Huskies have won back-to-back games – both in overtime. It was 84-81 over Monmouth. Jalen Adams scored a game-high 31 points on 13-22 shooting while adding four assists and two steals. Adams’ 31 points were the most he has scored since dropping 34 on Oklahoma State in last season’s Maui Invitational. Adams shot gave UConn an 81-80 lead with 32 seconds left in extra time. Monmouth’s Micah Seaborn then missed a 3-pointer from the right baseline and Christian Vital hit two foul shots to give the Huskies a three-point lead with five seconds left.
Two years ago, Syracuse defeated Connecticut in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Last season, Connecticut knocked off Syracuse, 52-50, in a game played at the Garden.
No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 15 Gonzaga
When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (ESPN)
The first game of the Jimmy V. Classic at the Garden. Villanova is unbeaten and hasn’t been tested much yet, although it also hasn’t really played anyone of note. In Saturday’s 94-53 blowout of St. Joseph’s, the Cats had 19 3-pointers made, two shy of the NCAA record. Overall, Villanova shot 50.8% from the floor and 54.3% from deep. It was Nova’s 20th straight Big Five win.
It was a two-point game with just under four minutes left in the first half. Then the Wildcats hit four consecutive three-point shots, from three players, the last two from Spellman, to make it 41-27 at the break. They scored the first five of the second half, and 14 of the first 16. That’s a 26-2 run.
Coach Steve Lavin made a lineup change for that one. Donte DiVincenzo got the starting call over Omari Spellman at tip-off. Spellman was into the game relatively quickly, but was held out after missing weight this week. He made his case to get back into his starting spot with a second career double-double that included 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, and a steal.
Gonzaga, last year’s national title runner-up, has just one loss: in overtime to a very good Florida team. The Zags are off an impressive 91-74 victory over No. 25 Creighton on Friday. Gonzaga went into the break trailing 44-37, but came out of the locker room blazing. The Bulldogs unleashed a 14-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half and transformed a seven-point deficit into a 10-point lead by the 11-minute mark.
Silas Melson scored a personal-best 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting. The senior guard also shot 4-of-5 from the three-point line. The Zags played Creighton without freshman Corey Kispert, whose sprained ankle kept him in a walking boot. He is averaging 10.4 points. Kispert said he’ll test out the ankle Tuesday leading up to the game to determine if he can play.
Expert Predictions & NCAAB Picks of the Week
Take Syracuse – the Garden is basically a home game – and Villanova in the NCAAB picks.