Monday's NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day

Joe Catalano

Monday, January 6, 2014 4:41 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 4:41 PM UTC

It’s a rather quiet day in college basketball today, but there are still enough games with promise to raise your bankroll as we provide you with the picks that we think give you the best opportunity to be on the plus side.

Maryland (10-5) vs. Pittsburgh (13-1)

A Boarderline Top 25 Team

Although there are no top 25 teams in action tonight, Pittsburgh is as close as it gets. They’ve had a reasonably difficult schedule with victories over Texas Tech, Stanford, Penn State, and most recently a win over the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Their only loss of the season was a 44-43 defensive battle against Cinncinati. A win here could, possibly give them some consideration where the pollsters are concerned.

Maryland’s schedule might not be as impressive, but the Terps are coming off of a solid 77-61 victory over Georgia Tech. In that game, Maryland shot 52.6 % from the field and committed only 6 turnovers on the day. The Panthers come into this game as a 9 point favorite and that is rather high as Pitt’s objective is to win the game as opposed to the 9 point betting line that’s at stake for the bettor.

The Total Package

At 6 foot 5, 225 pounds, senior Lamar Patterson, gives the Panthers a little bit of everything. He can play guard or small forward with his thick frame and can score, rebound, distribute the ball, and is a good defender. Patterson is coming off of a strong showing against N.C. State in which he had 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists on the night. In his last 3 games, Patterson is averaging 22 points per game. Look for a big game out of Patterson as Pitt strives to reach the AP top 25.

Talib Zanna, “The Nigerian Nightmare”, is also a very solid complimentary player to Patterson. He shoots nearly 60% from the field and snatches close to 10 rebounds per game. Pittsburgh is a well- rounded team that can’t be taken lightly.

Maryland is a very deep team with 5 players that score in double figures. There’s such an advantage in having this type of depth. If leading scorers Dez Wells or Jake Layman have somewhat of a weak game, a player like Evan Smotrycz can step up as he did against Georgia Tech, shooting 6 of 9 from the field and playing a great overall game on both sides of the court.

Even though Pittsburgh is playing at home, 9 points is too much to give to a team like Maryland. Maryland will be in the NCAA Tournament picture at the end of the season; the Terps are no slouch.

College Basketball Pick: Maryland +9 at Bet 365


Appalachian State (4-9) vs. Elon (7-8)

Average vs. Bad

The Appalachian State Mountaineers are still looking for their first road victory this season and this team, which comes out of the Southern Conference, might find it difficult in getting the “W” tonight as the Elon Phoenix.

By no means are the Phoenix ready to contend for the NCAA Championship, but this is a team that has at least had a taste of dealing with top 25 teams and actually gave Georgetown a run for their money. Odds makers agree that State is a poor choice here as the Phoenix are a large 13.5 point favorite in this Southern Conference battle on the college basketball odds board.

The Phoenix are a team with some depth and shoot quite well from the outside. Sebastian Koch (13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds) and Tanner Samson (11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds) both shoot nearly 50% from 3-point range and that’s a luxury for any team. That said, Samson has been ice cold as of late, going just 4 of 20 from the field in his last 3 games and averaging 4 points per game. Look for Samson to possibly get back on track as the level of opposition is quite low. The team depth and home court advantage are the deciding factors aside from Samson’s shooting.

How Bad Are They?

When your big win this season is against the Bluefield College Ramblin’ Rams by 27, you know this is a low level bottom-feeder. Appalachian State’s top 4 scorers all shoot under 40% from the field. With poor free throw shooting (65.6%) and poor 3-point shooting, this team really has nothing to hang their hats on.

Michael Obacha

Although he’s not in the class of Serge Obaka, Nigerian native Michael Obacha gives the Mountaineers some form of stability on the boards as he’s good for nearly 10 rebounds per game. Obacha is a project with some offensive ability. That said, he’ll take time as his shooting isn’t his priority.

Elon is battle-tested and Appalachian State is an awful road team that’s simply outclassed in this matchup. Look for the Phoenix to put a beating on the Mountaineers in this Southern Conference get together for your college basketball picks.

College Basketball Pick: Elon -13.5 at Bet 365


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