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DAYTON, OHIO - MARCH 14: Kyle Lofton #0 of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies celebrates their 74-65 win over the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the championship game of the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 14, 2021 in Dayton, Ohio. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Emilee Chinn / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Thursday's college basketball slate is loaded with 54 intriguing games, including the opening-round matchups of the Myrtle Beach Invitational and the Charleston Classic. Bettors can get in on the action early with our top college basketball picks.

The best picks today include a game involving a top-25 team, a selection from one of the most fierce intrastate rivalries in the sport, and a high-profile West Coast matchup.

Here are my top picks for Thursday’s college basketball schedule (odds via DraftKings, and pick confidence is based on a one-to-five star scale)

Thursday's Top College Basketball Picks

St. Bonaventure-Boise State Over 130.5 (-110) ????Ohio State (-1.5) vs. Xavier (-110) ???San Diego State (-8.5) vs. Arizona State (-110) ????

SEE ALSO: All College Basketball Odds

Top College Basketball Predictions

St. Bonaventure-Boise State Over 130.5 (-110)

St. Bonaventure is widely considered the best defensive team in the Atlantic-10 conference, and also one of the country's top squads defensively. The team's guards and wings can play much more aggressively on the ball and in passing lanes while knowing that Osun Osunniyi, one of the nation's best rim-protectors, is behind them.

However, Osunniyi is dealing with a back injury that sidelined him during the second half of St. Bonaventure's last game, and his status for the next couple of days is in doubt. The entire complexion of the Bonnies' defense changes with Osunniyi out or potentially limited.

Osunniyi is just three blocks behind the country's top shot-blocker despite playing 22 fewer minutes. He missed seven games two seasons ago, and the team went 1-6 straight up. The Bonnies are also 6-8 when he plays 20 or fewer minutes.

St. Bonaventure is a much more complete team this year than two years ago, so don't write them off from a point-spread standpoint. However, Boise State is shooting over 55 percent from two-point range this campaign and will find it much easier to score around the basket without Osuniyi's intimidating presence.

Additionally, expect positive regression from each team from distance, as neither squad has shot better than 21 percent entering this contest.

Ohio State (-1.5) vs. Xavier

Something was off about No. 19 Ohio State through its first two games. The Buckeyes needed a buzzer-beater to knock off Akron, and they led Niagara by just one point at halftime before pulling away for an uninspiring 10-point victory. However, they put together their most impressive performance of the young season during a 31-point beatdown of Bowling Green, and that momentum should serve them well tonight.

In their last game, five Buckeyes players scored in double figures, and they shot 51% from the floor as a team. Ohio State also connected on a season-high 12 3-pointers during its second contest without the injured Justice Sueing.

Xavier's struggles while shooting from deep (the school ranks 295th, according to KenPom) and defending the three (274th) will lead to the team's undoing in this nonconference battle.

San Diego State (-8.5) vs. Arizona State

San Diego State is coming off a disappointing loss at BYU, but that defeat doesn't look as bad after the Cougars handily beat No. 12 Oregon in a 32-point rout. One can forgive that loss much more so than Arizona State dropping a game at home to UC Riverside. Bobby Hurley's Sun Devils aren't clicking just yet, and they'll struggle to score against the Aztecs' rock-solid defense.

San Diego State ranks sixth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. Returnees Trey Pulliam and Nathan Mensah lead a loaded roster out to secure the team's third consecutive Mountain West title. Meanwhile, Arizona State's offense looks lost early in the season after the departures of Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge from its backcourt.

Arizona State is 1-7 against the spread over its last eight road games, while San Diego State is 9-3 ATS following a straight-up loss. Count on yet another bounce back from the Aztecs and back San Diego State with our top college basketball picks.

SEE ALSO: All College Basketball Picks

Picks made 11/17/2021 at 11:11 p.m. ET