The NFL may draw the majority of attention on Sundays, but don’t overlook a great slate of college basketball matchups at some of the top national tournaments. We have three picks representing the Paradise Jam, Charleson Classic, and Myrtle Beach Invitational for our top college basketball picks for Sunday.
Here are my top picks for Sunday’s college basketball schedule (odds via DraftKings; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Top College Basketball Picks
Colorado State -2.5 (-110) vs. Creighton ★★★★
Mississippi +1 (-110) vs. Boise State ★★★★
Utah State +4 (-110) vs. Oklahoma ★★★★
SEE ALSO: All College Basketball Picks
College Basketball Picks and Predictions
Colorado State -2.5 (-110) ★★★★
Two undefeated teams meet in the semifinals of the Paradise Jam when Colorado State (4-0) battles Creighton (4-0) in The Virgin Islands.
After two unimpressive wins to start the season, Creighton has returned to its hot-shooting ways from beyond the arc, hitting over 40 percent (15 of 37) from three in its last two wins. The Bluejays have also been strong on the defensive end, ranking 16th best in effective field-goal percentage allowed, per KenPom. However, they will face a Colorado State team that is offensively superior to all four of their opponents this season.
The Rams received a huge boost when top defender Kendle Moore returned from an ankle injury in Colorado State’s 66-60 win over Bradley. In that game, the Rams shot an uncharacteristic 26.3 percent (5 of 19) from beyond the arc. As a team, the Rams shot 37.3 percent from deep in Mountain West play, and currently average 40.7 percent from three even with that poor performance.
The biggest discrepancy resides in offensive turnovers, where Colorado State ranks 34th and Creighton ranks 297th.
I’m backing Colorado State in my top college basketball picks and laying the small number against a young Creighton team that will struggle to score consistently against a veteran Rams team.
Ole Miss +1 (-110) ★★★★
I really like Leon Rice’s Boise State (2-2) team. It’s a veteran squad that ranks 12th in experience and competed well in two tough games in the Charleston Classic. However, against a physical and tough Mississippi team, I project the Broncos to fall short.
The Rebels’ only loss came against a suddenly tough Marquette team in a fantastic back-and-forth battle. Marquette made 13 threes to move past Ole Miss late in the second half. Boise State was blistering hot from three (12 of 23) against Temple on Friday, but is still only shooting 30.8 percent as a team on the year.
Mississippi (3-1) head coach Kermit Davis stresses defense and has the Rebels again as a top 30 defensive unit. Led by 7-foot center Nysier Brooks and Duke transfer Jaemyn Brakefield, Ole Miss has tallied the second-best defensive rebounding percentage, per KenPom.
The Rebels are physical and aggressive, a combination Boise State does not normally see in the Mountain West. I expect Ole Miss to wear down the Broncos and earn the outright win as a small underdog.
Utah State +4 ★★★★
New head coach Ryan Odom has impressed with a Utah State (3-1) roster that has built instant chemistry with several new players. Odom brought point guard R.J. Eytle-Rock (5.8 points per game, three assists per game) and versatile 6-foot-10 forward Brandon Horvath (15.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 63 3-point percentage) to Utah State from UMBC.
However, the biggest impact may be from Utah-transfer Rylan Jones (14.5 PPG, 4.8 APG, 1.5 steals per game, 47 3-point percentage). He has fit perfectly with Aggie veterans Brock Miller (8 PPG) and leading-scorer Justin Bean (24 PPG, 53 3-point percentage).
Oklahoma (4-0) has also thrived under a new head coach, Porter Moser. The former leader of Loyola-Chicago has already translated his offensive efficiency to the Sooners. Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in 2-point percentage (63.9), while shooting 39.8 percent from three.
Utah State will bring an interior defense similar to East Carolina, who the Sooners struggled to beat, 79-74 in this same tournament.
Horvath is an incredibly difficult matchup, and Utah State will be able to find open shots with Bean and Horvath drawing defensive attention on the interior. I make this a coin-flip game in my top college basketball picks, and will grab the four points with an Aggies team that could easily win this game. I don’t expect this line to hover at Utah State +4 for very long.
Top College Basketball Picks made 11/21/2021 at 1:40 a.m. ET