Best Bets: Top 25 Matchups on Tuesday

Ryan Coleman gives his best bets for an action-packed day in college basketball, with the Jimmy V Classic and a ranked matchup among the big ones to watch:

Texas Tech vs. #1 Louisville
6:00 pm central, ESPN
Line: Louisville -7.0
O/U: 131

The Pick: Louisville -7.0

This is a bit of a toss up here: I expect this one to hang right around that 7-point number,but I have confidence in this Cardinals team. Texas Tech has struggled recently, currently riding a three-game losing streak with losses Iowa, Creighton and Depaul. Granted, two of those three were on neutral courts and one on the road, but the Red Raiders certainly could have won all of those games and it shows their early lack of ability to play away from home. Louisville has not faced an opponent as tough as Texas Tech outside of the KFC Yum! Center yet but showed their ability to do so with a season-opening victory at Miami. While Texas Tech has the 13th-best defensive efficiency via KenPom, their three-point defense ranks in the bottom 200 in the nation and the Cardinals’ perimeter shooting can thrive. Louisville also boasts the third-best defensive efficiency in the nation, so Texas Tech will have trouble scoring throughout. This is an exciting game for the Jimmy V Classic, but expect Texas Tech to continue their losing streak and Louisville to cover.  

#4 Maryland at Penn State
6:00 pm central, ESPN 2
Line: Maryland -2
O/U: 144

The Pick: Penn State +2

Honestly, I have no idea what to expect here and would avoid this game altogether. Maryland may be undefeated but they barely escaped Illinois. Penn State on the other hand seems to be one of the more inconsistent programs early on with dominating wins over Syracuse and Georgetown, but was curb stomped by Ohio State (who hasn’t been) and lost a tough one to Ole Miss. This is why I don’t particularly expect this to be a one point game but rather Maryland by 20 or Penn State by 20. The Nittany Lions’ two losses have come when their opponent shot greater than 40% from beyond the arc and I can’t see Maryland doing that, as they average just above 30 percent this season. The Terrapins interior offense is solid but Penn State can hold their own and run in transition. While I am not quite confident on this one, I’m predicting the Bryce Jordan Center to be packed for this one, and Penn State to hand Maryland their first loss of the season.     

Milwaukee at # 2 Kansas 
7:00 pm central, ESPN+
Line: Kansas -26.0
O/U: 138

The Pick: Kansas -26.0

It’s always fun predicting if a team will win by more than 26 or not, isn’t it? Well, Kansas can. Milwaukee’s offense is real bad and they are about to face the gauntlet of Kansas’ defense. I wouldn’t be shocked if Milwaukee doesn’t eclipse 50. Milwaukee fouls a lot so not only will Kansas be able to score inside the arc nearly at will, but from the free throw line as well. It may be a bit to cover 26 points but Kansas is up for the challenge, especially in Allen Fieldhouse.

#18 Butler at #11 Baylor
8:00 pm central, ESPN 2
Line: Baylor -5
O/U: 130.5

The Pick: Butler +5

I’m sorry, did the oddsmakers forget how Butler just dismantled Florida? Oh, and they beat Ole Miss, Stanford, Missouri and Minnesota too. Sure, Baylor just beat Arizona, but they did so by the exact amount they were expected to. Butler depends a fair amount on scoring from inside the arc but Baylor’s defense is only 47th in the nation in two-point defense. On the flip side, Baylor depends a fair amount on points from beyond the arc but Butler ranks 10th in the nation in defense from three. Butler has been consistent this year with their quality of play and has proven they can play away from home. The Bulldogs slow pace will dominate the game and cover the five points, if not win outright.

Northern Iowa at #24 Colorado 
8:00 pm central, PAC 12 Network
Line: Colorado -10
O/U: 126

The Pick: Under 126

It is tough to judge this Northern Iowa team, as they are 8-1 with no wins over a top-100 team and their one loss is a five-point setback to West Virginia. But Colorado is in a similar boat, with no wins over a top-50 team and a 14-point loss to Kansas. One of Northern Iowa’s strengths is their two-point offense but Colorado ranks 17th against. But the Buffaloes’ offense has struggled, ranking 89th overall and 306th from inside the arc and Northern Iowa’s slow pace will bring down the score as well. 126 may be a bit low but Colorado has hit the under in five of their eight games and Northern Iowa may surprise here, putting up a fight in Boulder.   

Last week: 17-11

Season Record: 57-34-2*

*While I do not publish all my plays, you can follow all my college basketball bets on the Action Network App @RcCola3

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