Now that most the cupcake early season non-conference games are out of the way, it’s time to get down to business and the meat of the NCAA basketball season. Saturday boasts a full menu of wagering options with 20 games on the slate featuring ranked teams. Here’s a quick look at a few of those games and the picks that go along with them.
Temple 6-0 at #2 Duke 8-0
Even early in the season, a battle between undefeated teams is always exciting. Many thought Duke might have a down year this season, but so far so good for the Blue Devils, which have already earned victories against Ohio State, Kentucky and Louisville. It looks like somebody’s been avoiding fatty cupcakes after all.
Although Temple hasn’t knocked off any big names just yet, it has impressed just the same, winning in a wide variety of ways, from defensive to sharp-shooting to turnover margin. If the Owls can put everything together today, expect a very close ball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Temple did beat Duke last season, so there’s no reason to think the Owls couldn’t do it again, but on Duke’s home floor, it is almost more unbeatable than it usually is. With Mason Plumlee leading the way for the Devils, I like them to win this one outright.
Colorado 7-1 at #9 Kansas 6-1
The Buffaloes surprised everyone when they took down the Pac-12 title a season ago, but now this year’s hot start isn’t shocking anyone. Teams know Colorado is a threat and Kansas will most likely find that out as well when they take on Colorado today.
Kansas, which is undefeated at home so far this season, also is currently enjoying a 20-game win streak in the series against Colorado. Last time the two met resulted in a blowout win in favor of the Jayhawks last season 89-63. And although Colorado has started 7-1, its one loss came on the road.
All the signs point in favor of the Jayhawks in this one. I like Colorado and I think they will have another successful season in the Pac-12, but I don’t think they are ready to put an end to their longtime woes against Kansas just yet.
#13 Illinois 9-0 at #10 Gonzaga 9-0
This is possibly the most intriguing match-up of the day, pitting two unbeaten and top 15 ranked opponents against one another. The Zags have struggled against Illinois in the past, but they will be at home for this one and are coming into the game with an average margin of victory of nearly 25 points.
The Illini have gotten off to a nice start as well, notching wins against Georgia Tech, USC and Butler, but they have yet to defeat a ranked opponent, so the Bulldogs will present their biggest challenge of the year thus far.
Gonzaga has won 17 straight at home dating back to last season and I think that streak will continue today. They are playing with a ton of confidence and are off to their hottest start ever since joining Division I. Look for Gonzaga to win in a close one against Illinois.