New Year College Basketball Picks Of The Week

With the 2016-17 college basketball season heating up and steamrolling toward March Madness, it’s time for a trio of expert picks on three of the most attractive games on this week’s schedule.

New Year College Basketball Picks Of The Week

No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 25 Indiana
When:  Tuesday, January 3 at 7:00 PM ET
Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN
TV: ESPN

Analysis: The 25th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (10-4) will look to snap  two-game skid while bouncing back from their humbling 77-62 spanking against No. 6 Louisville on Saturday.

No. 13 Wisconsin (12-2) will ride an eight-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s matchup. More importantly, the Badgers are limiting their opponents to just 58.8 points per game this season to rank a stellar eighth nationally in points allowed under first-year head coach Greg Gard.

Both teams have lost twice to ranked opponents, but Wisconsin’s last defeat came a month ago at the hands of No. 4 North Carolina. The Badgers have a pair of outstanding players in senior guard Bronson Koenig (14.1 ppg) and senior forward Nigel Hayes (14.0 ppg) and play a brand of team basketball that is eerily reminiscent to the San Antonio Spurs if you ask me.

The Badgers beat the Hoosiers 82-79 in overtime almost one year ago exactly and are the pick to record another win over Indiana this time around.

Pick: Wisconsin by a handful

No. 1 Villanova at No. 18 Butler
When: Wednesday, January 4 at 6:30 PM ET
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: FOX Sports1

Analysis: The Butler Bulldogs (12-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) have won four of their last five games and beat  Providence 78-61 on Saturday. Butler is averaging a solid 78.0 points per game (97th) while limiting the opposition to just 64.6 points per contest to rank 44th nationally in points allowed.

Despite their fine play this season, the Dogs are barking up the wrong tree as they get set to face unbeaten No. 1 Villanova (14-0 SU, 8-5 ATS). The Wildcats currently rank a respectable 62nd in scoring at 79.9 points per game but have been outstanding defensively in limiting the opposition to just 62.1 points per game to rank 24th nationally in points allowed and that speaks to sacrifice for one another.

The Wildcats have a legitimate superstar and future NBA performer in shooting guard Josh Hart and another future NBA player in sweet-shooting small forward Kris Jenkins.

The efficient Hart leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 20.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while the beloved Jenkins is third in scoring at 13.4 points per game. Both players played significant roles in last season’s title run and re back at it again this season in even bigger roles.

Villanova beat Butler 77-67 just over a year ago in the last meeting between these Big East rivals and they’ll record a nearly identical win this time around to remain unbeaten.

Pick: Villanova by a ton

No. 21 Virginia Tech at No. 12 Florida State
When: Saturday, January 7 at 2:00 PM ET
Where: Donald Tucker Center, Tallahassee, FL
TV: ACC Network

Analysis: The Virginia Tech Hokies (12-1 SU, 6-3 ATS) are putting up a stellar 84.2 points per game to rank 24th in scoring nationally while ranking inside the top 20 in both, field goal shooting percentage and three-point shooting. The red-hot Hokies have won eight straight and nine of their last 10 games overall including their emphatic 89-75 beatdown over nationally-ranked Duke on Saturday.

The Florida State Seminoles (14-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) have been even more impressive in winning 10 straight and putting up a stupendous 86.2 points per game to rank 15th in scoring nationally.

Not only are the Seminoles elite offensively, but they’ve also been rock-solid in ranking seventh in field goal shooting percentage, but Florida State has also played some stout defense to rank 26th  in field goal shooting defense (38.5 percent).

The Noles will be looking to extract some revenge for their 96-85 loss to the Hokies a year ago and have a flat-out star in 6-7 shooting guard Dwayne Bacon (18.1 ppg).

I’m expecting a high-scoring affair that the Seminoles win by about a half-dozen points.
If the spread stays below six points, which is believe it will, then simply back the explosive Florida State Seminoles to get it done.

Pick:  Florida State 88 Virginia Tech 82

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