Daily NCAA Basketball Picks: Top 3 Bets For Monday's Matchups

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 3:53 PM GMT

Just a few ranked teams in action on the college basketball schedule on Monday night off the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, led by No. 1 Kentucky. Here are my NCAA Basketball picks.

Illinois State vs. #1 Kentucky 
Do the Redbirds (3-4) have any shot of an upset at Rupp Arena? Highly doubtful. But there might be a decent chance of covering if  Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis doesn't play. He hyperextended his right elbow in Friday's 84-63 win over South Florida and is being called day-to-day. Ulis might not be Kentucky's best player but he might be their most important in running the offense. Ulis, who hasn't been able to practice since the injury, averages 14.2 points and 4.8 assists per game. If he can't go, it should mean more minutes for Dominique Hawkins. Kentucky has won 37 consecutive regular-season games. For the third time in the shot-clock era, UK (6-0) has allowed 65 points or less in each of its first six games of a season. Illinois State has three starters back from last year's team that won 22 games. And it played really well last Tuesday in leading No. 2 Maryland by five points with less than eight minutes left before losing 77-66. . The Redbirds are led by guards DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell and Paris Lee, who average a combined 27.9 points per game. Illinois State is also 8-1 all-time against SEC teams for what that's worth. It is playing the nation's No. 1 team for only the second time in school history; the last was against DePaul in 1980. The Redbirds have never beaten a team ranked higher than No. 4.

ISU covers if Ulis doesn't play. Kentucky is 1-4 ATS in its past five at home.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Illinois State +20 at Bookmaker

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#22 LSU vs College Of Charleston 
The best player in college basketball and likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft plays for LSU and that's freshman Ben Simmons. If there's one minor criticism of the 6-foot-10, 225-pound forward it's that he's a little too unselfish -- the guy is a phenomenal passer. LSU (3-2) lost games in Brooklyn last week to both Marquette (81-80) and NC State (83-72 in overtime). Simmons was a combined 7-for-21 from the field but also had 34 rebounds and 17 assists. He twice passed up what could have been a game-winning shot in the final seconds of the loss to Marquette. Coach Johnny Jones has told Simmons to start taking more shots if he's open. “I’m going to start doing that,” added Simmons, who’s shooting 53.4 percent. The College of Charleston (3-2) hasn't played a Power 5 conference school yet this season. The Cougars are 3-0 when holding opponents to under 60 points and will try to slow down a LSU offense averaging 80.4 points per contest. CofC has hosted an SEC team three times previously, beating South Carolina in 2008, beating Tennessee in 2011 and losing to Auburn in 2012. LSU beat CofC 71-47 on Dec. 22, 2014 in Baton Rouge. The Cougars are 5-42 all-time against schools from the SEC. Their star is junior guard Canyon Barry, who averages 21.0 points per game.

LSU. The Tigers are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Charleston is 4-9 ATS in its past 13 after a win. It is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 non-conference games.

NCAA Basketball Pick: LSU -5 at Bet365

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Fresno State vs #21 Oregon 
Probably the best matchup of the night between a pair of 5-0 teams. Oregon has one of the biggest defensive difference-makers in the nation in senior Chris Boucher. He comes off a school-record nine blocks in a win over Arkansas State last Wednesday. He was one rebound and one block shy of a triple-double. Boucher currently leads the nation at 4.2 blocks per game. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense at 62.6 points per game. They  have an average margin of victory of nearly 16 points and have won each game by at least six, including quality wins over Baylor and Valparaiso. Fresno State, picked to finish only fifth in the Mountain West but off to its best start in nine years, hasn't played anyone of note yet. The Bulldogs are led by guard Marvelle Harris, who averages 20.2 points. He was voted as the Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year. Forward Torren Jones averages 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds. Fresno State is seeking its first win over a Pac-12 opponent since 2011 and seeking its seeking its first road win over a Top 25 team since a 73-72 win at Tulsa on Feb. 24, 2000.

Oregon. Fresno State has covered only four of its past 17 road games. Oregon is 8-1 ATS in its past nine at home. 

NCAA Basketball Pick: Oregon -11.5 at TheGreek

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