NCAA Basketball Betting Picks - Michigan Wolverines vs SMU Mustangs

Willie Bee

Friday, November 18, 2016 3:59 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 3:59 PM UTC

Michigan and SMU proved their worth last night to open the 2K Classic in New York City, and we've got a free college basketball pick for their championship showdown tonight.

Season: 2-5 (-3.50)

I get the impression that when Joe Lunardi's wife asks him what he wants for dinner, he changes his mind 2-3 times then complains when the meal isn't ready at six o'clock sharp.

The little shrimp is already bellowing about No. 1 seeds next March, something none of us should care about right now and instead focus our attention on games going on so we learn something as opposed to proving we know very little at all, as Lunardi does time and time again. Imagine if bettors were able to change their NCAA basketball futures wagers as often as he moves his brackets around.

The good news is we all have the ability to simply ignore Lunardi presently. What I won't be ignoring tonight, however, is the championship game for the 2K Classic benefitting Wounded Warriors project that pits the SMU Mustangs against the Michigan Wolverines. Tip-off at Madison Square Garden comes a few minutes past 7 PM (ET). BetOnline was among the first to release a number, sending the Mustangs out -1 with a total yet to be released.

 Late 1st-Half Run Helps Michigan Take Down Marquette

Got to hand it to John Beilein and Michigan for the 79-61 effort over Marquette. The Wolverines won every phase of the game, save for turnovers where they tallied 17 to the Golden Eagles' 15, using a 10-0 spurt late in the first half to take charge of the contest that closed as a pick 'em on the NCAA basketball odds.

Zak Irvin led the way for the Maize & Blue with 16 points, dishing out five assists and grabbing seven boards along the way. DJ Wilson posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, also blocking a couple of would-be Marquette attempts.

Another key factor was Michigan's bench scoring that had a 29-16 advantage over Golden Eagles reserves. Beilein primarily went with a 7-man rotation, but Duncan Robinson made the most of his seven minutes on the floor by scoring 10 points, connecting on 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

 Ojeleye Paces Ponies Past Pitt

The tourney opened with a 76-67 win by SMU over Pittsburgh. The Mustangs wilted a bit late in the first half when the Panthers took a 33-31 lead into the locker room behind fine efforts from Michael Young and Jamel Artis, but the second half belonged to Semi Ojeleye who was a 1-man show to help Southern Methodist backers cash their closing -5 tickets.

Ojeleye continued his early-season assault with 24 points, 20 of them coming in the final 20 minutes. The 6-7 junior is connecting on 55% from the field so far and has committed just two turnovers the last two games after turning it over seven times in SMU's opener vs. Gardner-Webb. The Mustangs turned it over just seven times as a team vs. Pitt, forcing the Panthers into 13 missteps with solid defense.

These two sides have some recent history with SMU topping Michigan each of the last two seasons. What I really like about this group of Mustangs is its blend of experience and youth (two seniors, two juniors and two sophomores among the primary six in the early rotation), and Ojeleye looks to be on a mission. That's why I'm laying the point for my free college basketball pick.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: SMU -1 Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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