Defense To Dominate in Minnesota, Offense in Dayton

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 1:58 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 1:58 PM UTC

Our top college basketball picks of the day is betting defense dominates in the the ranked Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup between No. 10 Miami and No. 12 Minnesota, while offense is the flavor when Auburn travels to Dayton as a rare road favorite.

No. 10 Miami (FL) vs No. 12 Minnesota

Miami head coach Jim Larranaga is 4-2 SU in the Big/Ten ACC Challenge, twice knocking off a pair of ranked teams: No. 13 Michigan State (67-59) in 2012 and No. 24 Illinois (70-61) in 2014. The program is seeking its first 6-0 beginning since 2014.

Defense is the catalyst to the hot start. It’s allowing 54.0 points per game (third in D-I) on 34.8 percent shooting (eighth). Three times this season the unit has held a team scoreless for a stretch of five minutes or more in a contest. Offensively, Larranaga presents a balanced attack with five players putting up double figures in all but one contest. The most impressive factoid is that seven of the 10 scholarship players are underclassmen. Larranaga has a special group that is poised to dominate the next couple of years

Jordan Murphy. This is all you have to know about the Gophers. The junior forward is leading the Big Ten with 22.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, posting a double-double in every contest this season. Murphy has earned the Big Ten’s Player of the Week award three straight times, just the second player in school history to win it thrice in a season. There’s plenty of games left for Murphy to set the record.

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— Minnesota MBB (@GopherMBB) November 27, 2017

Minnesota’s No. 12 ranking is the best for the program since 2012, prior to head coach Richard Pitino’s arrival. Since, it is 5-6 SU and 6-5 ATS at Williams Arena versus ranked opponents, losing six of the last seven games. The Gophers are winless in three versus ACC opponents, falling by 9.7 points per game.

Defense will dominate this matchup. The Hurricanes will double down on Murphy all night, while Minnesota gives Miami’s youngsters all they can handle in a tough environment. Scoring will stay down. The ‘under’ is 7-2 when a ranked ACC team travels to take on a ranked Big Ten opponent in the last 10 years, the combined score staying 7.4 points south of the total. Expect another tight-rim special here. My NCAAB pick for this game is lay the ‘under’ 143 points.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 143Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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Auburn vs Dayton

Dayton is reloading after claiming the A-10 tile last season with the winningest senior class in school history. The group made it to the NCAA tournament four straight years. Head coach Archie Miller jetted to Indiana in the offseason with the school bringing in former VCU leader Anthony Grant in as a replacement. Grant managed to keep many of the incoming recruits, but the team overall is inexperienced and full of question marks. The Flyers return the 11th fewest minutes played (2,020) in D-I hoops.

This is Auburn’s first true road game of the season. Off to 4-1 start, head coach Bruce Pearl is an away favorite for just the fourth time since taking over the program in 2014. It is 2-1 SU and ATS in the prior three.

The Tigers are scoring in bunches, averaging 93.4 points per game on 51.6 percent shooting. The team gets up and down the court as fast as any in the country, ranked 10th in tempo according to KenPom. The market struggles to keep up, particularly when Auburn is expected to win. With Pearl in charge, the ‘over’ is 23-9 when a favorite on the college basketball oddsboard. A 159.0 combined score sails past a 150.5 average total.

In the last decade, Dayton is 32-14 SU against Power 5 programs. It has won 15 of its last 18 versus the SEC, including four all-time against Auburn. The Tigers, however, look poised to take this one, but not without a solid run-out from the Flyers. Dayton has improved on its 3-point shooting in every game this season after beginning the year with a 27 percent rate. Grant is fielding a 3-guard set, matching up with the run-and-gun backcourt-heavy Tigers. This should be an entertaining game that just edges past a 157.5 over/under.

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 157.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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