NCAA Basketball Picks: Back Talented Maryland vs. UCONN in Jimmy V Classic

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 6:18 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 6:18 PM GMT

The Jimmy V Classic for Cancer Research brings out the toughness in everyone. Can UCONN pull off a huge early season upset vs. Maryland? Let's review the best NCAA basketball pick for tonight.

Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 9:30 p.m. EST at Madison Square Garden in New York City. According to NCAA Basketball odds, the Terps are just a 2 point favorite and the total for the game is listed at 141. That said, the Jimmy V Classic is like no other and playing in Madison Square Garden is every kid's dream. The Huskies have had a lot of success at MSG historically and the spread is placed correctly. This game will be a war.

Maryland has bounced back nicely after their only loss this season last Tuesday, an 89-81 defeat to a very experienced North Carolina Tarheels squad. The Huskies took on the best of the best in the Battle 4 Atlantis and came up empty-handed with 2 defeats against Gonzaga and Syracuse, but have also bounced back with an easy matchup and a win over Sacred Heart, 82-49.

 

Tightening Up Their Defense
Maryland was under the assumption that they had one of the better defenses in the nation until they recently met up with the experienced UNC Tarheels.

The Terrapins have allowed 66 points or less in their 4 games previous to the UNC matchup. The Tarheels snatched away the Terrapins #2 ranking in the country as they shot the lights out, shooting 53.2% from the field and going 9 of 13 from beyond the arc. The Terrapins were unable to stop North Carolina as Marcus Paige led the way with 20 points and the Heels possessed 22 assists and 13 steals as a team.

Although the game was competitive from a Maryland standpoint, a similar effort on the defensive end will result in a loss. I don't need to tell the fans or the betting public that this is a big game as Maryland can ill-afford to fall back further in the AP rankings.

 

The Matchup Is Inevitable!
It hasn't come yet, but it will be something that's highly anticipated as Rasheed Sulaimon (11.6 points , 3.4 assists, 3 rebounds, 52.9% from 3-point range) will ineviably meet his old team, the Duke Blue Devils. Sulaimon is the only player to personally get kicked off of a Duke squad by the legendary head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait, but Sulaimon has been inocorporated quite well into the offense on an elite team in the same conference, led by super sophomore, Melo Trimble.

For the season, Trimble has been dishing and swishing, averaging 14.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting over 50% from the field.

Trimble is the type of player that will sacrifice some of his offense to make others such as Sulaimon and others better. Trimble will need to look for his shot more in this game as he's coming off of a 1 for 3 effort in a 96-55 victory over St. Francis (PA). I don't want to equate him to the legendary Magic Johnson, but Johnson, at times, would do the same thing and at the collegiate level, 3 shot attempts won't cut it against Connecticut. Look for Trimble to look for his offense and lead this team in a very tough matchup.

 

Seton Hall Stud?
Where the Huskies are concerned, they don't have a definitive star, but one player that had major success at Seton Hall is transfer, Sterling Gibbs.

Gibbs has had many battles at the Garden and isn't afraid to shoot the basketball. This is a big money shooter, that's averaging slightly less  than the 16.3 points per game that he averaged at Seton Hall. He's a prolific shooter that needs to be more aggressive in this offense and could be a major factor in this game. In his last 2 games, Gibbs has averaged just 6.5 points. This is well below his standards. Let's see if he put's on a show for the MSG crowd.

In the end, Maryland has too much talent, led by Melo Trimble, and should easily cover this paper thin 2 point spread. Add them to your NCAA Basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland -2 at 5Dimes

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