The college basketball schedule ramps back up on Friday, and our top picks have you covered.
I hope everyone enjoyed a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. The basketball action was exciting, with Michigan State storming back and stealing a game late against UConn and Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels pulling off a top-10 upset.
Friday’s post analyzes the NIT Season Tip-Off, as well as a game involving an ACC team that is hitting its stride after being upset on the opening day of the season.
Here are my top picks for Friday’s college basketball schedule (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Top College Basketball Picks
Virginia -19.5 (-110) vs. Lehigh ★★★★
Iowa State vs. Memphis Under 140 (+100) ★★★★
SEE ALSO: All College Basketball Odds
College Basketball Predictions
Virginia -19.5 (-110)
Ever since a shocking opening night loss to Navy where the Midshipmen shot 52.4% from 3-point range, head coach Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers have gotten back to the vintage smothering defense for which his program is known.
While there is a 20-point loss to Houston mixed in, the Cavaliers have held opponents to an average of 49.8 points per game in their four wins. Those include their last two games against Power Five teams Georgia and Providence.
This year's Lehigh Mountain Hawks are not one of head coach Brett Reed's most talented teams that have contended for Patriot League titles much of the last decade. Despite playing at one of the fastest tempos in the country, LeHigh still ranks 291st in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Mountain Hawks also commit turnovers on 24.6% of their possessions.
That will play right into Bennett's hands, and the Mountain Hawks do not have any defenders capable of handling the duo of G Armaan Franklin and F Jayden Gardner.
Back Virginia -19.5 (-110) to win big with our college basketball picks.
Iowa State-Memphis Under 140 (+100)
Head coach Penny Hardaway's Memphis Tigers have been smothering on the defensive end this season. Their best performance thus far was Wednesday's win over Virginia Tech, where they held Mike Young's complex offense scoreless for 4:25 down the stretch and finished the game on a 14-5 run. Hardaway's roster is littered with NBA talent, but he has his youngsters committing to playing solid defense.
Memphis plays at the fourth-fastest tempo in the country, and Iowa State has had its share of troubles with teams that play fast. The Cyclones scored just 68 points against an Alabama State team that plays at the 16th-fastest tempo and even committed 19 turnovers against an Oregon State team that played the opposite way and looked to turn the game into a half-court grind.
No matter whose style wins out in this one, the Cyclones will struggle to make shots over Memphis' front line that goes 6-foot-7, 6-foot-9, and 6-foot-11.
The Under is 8-3 in Memphis' last 11 neutral site games and is 13-5-1 in its previous 19 games against teams with a winning percentage greater than .600. Look for another grinder of a game on Friday.
College basketball picks made on 11/26/2021 at 7:45 a.m. ET.