NCAA Basketball Monday Betting: Maui Invitational Free Picks

Oklahoma State basketball

Monday, November 21, 2016 5:13 PM GMT

Eight teams are vying for the Maui Invitational holiday tournament crown, and we've got free NCAA basketball picks for two of the four games being played in Hawaii on Monday.

 

College football has the Rose Bowl, also known as "The Granddaddy of Them All." When it comes to the hardwood, a similar distinction belongs to the Maui Invitational, which grew out of one huge upset 34 years ago and spurred the rise of early-season hoops tournaments.

This year's event gets underway Monday at Lahaina Civic Center in Maui with four contests, beginning with the Tennessee Volunteers taking on the Wisconsin Badgers and ending with the Chaminade Silverswords hosting the North Carolina Tar Heels in the nightcap. Between those two are the Georgetown Hoyas and Oregon Ducks, a game that hasn't yet made it on the NCAA basketball odds board, followed by the Oklahoma State Cowboys meeting the Connecticut Huskies. We're going to concentrate on the first and third games of the day.

Season record: 2-6 (-4.60 units)

Tennessee Volunteers Vs. No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers

Those of us fortunate enough to be at home this afternoon get a real treat with a 2:30 p.m. (ET) tip between Tennessee and Wisconsin. ESPN2 will carry the matchup, and the sportsbooks see this one as one-sided in the Badgers' favor with BookMaker posting the Big Ten entry as a 14-point favorites with 144.5 for the total.

Following a disappointing 15-19 showing in his first season in Knoxville, not much is expected from Rick Barnes' bunch this year. Two games into the campaign, the Vols are living up to those expectations. Favored by 3.5 in the opener vs. Chattanooga, Tennessee was instead slapped down by 13. The Volunteers then topped Appalachian State, 103-94, again failing to cover a -12.5-point spread. It's a young team with three of the top four scorers freshmen, led by Jordan Bone (14.0 ppg).

Greg Gard and Wisconsin have also tasted defeat in the early going with a 79-67 setback at Creighton, the Badgers favored by 1.5 on the road and their usual defensive prowess letting them down. Turnovers are also up, while 3-point shooting is down on a team that returned every player from a year ago. The Badgers will need to get more scoring inside from 6-foot-10 Ethan Happ to open up those outside shots.

The Badgers will win it, but I'm more settled on the final staying 'under' the total.

NCAAB Free Pick: 'Under' 143.5

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Oklahoma State Cowboys Vs. Connecticut Huskies

The prime-time tilt pits the Big 12 against the American Athletic Conference with a clash between Oklahoma State and UConn. A 9 p.m. ET) tip has been tentatively set with the Cowboys giving up 3.5 points after opening -2. Likewise, the total has been on the rise with the initial 146.5-point offering pushed up to 148 at BookMaker.

Oklahoma State has yet to lose under first-year head coach Brad Underwood, but this will definitely be the first real test for the former SFA coach and his squad. The Cowboys are led by an explosive backcourt where Jawun Evans (23.3 ppg), Phil Forte III (22.0) and Jeffrey Carroll (18.7) have poured in nearly 60% of the offense so far.

It hasn't been nearly as easy for Kevin Ollie and the Huskies as they dropped their first two games against Wagner and Northeastern before picking up a close 65-62 win at Loyola Marymount last Thursday on their way to the islands. Some of that can be excused by the early nature of the schedule, but most of it is accounted for by poor shooting, inside and out.

If UConn can slow the Cowboys down, the Huskies will have a shot. I just don't think they'll be able to do that and will make my free college basketball pick on OSU.

NCAAB Free Pick: OSU -3.5

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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