NCAA Basketball Picks For Friday, December 23

ethan happ wisconsin

Joe Catalano

Friday, December 23, 2016 6:42 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 6:42 PM UTC

As the holidays are just about here, we felt an urgent sense of pressure to deliver a profit as the betting public is still scrambling and doing last-minute shopping. Here are your NCAA basketball picks for Friday.

Florida A&M Rattlers (2-10) At No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2)

UW has won six consecutive games, all by double digits with the exception of a 9-point victory over Marquette. The Badgers come into this game as 38-point betting favorites and it's not if they'll win but by how many points.

Bronson Koenig (15.2 points) and Nigel Hayes (14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists) may be the players that get the most press and deservedly so, but 6-foot-10, 232-pound Ethan Happ is the most important player to Wisconsin's success. Happ is averaging a near double-double at 13.3 points and 9.6 rebounds. In his last 5 games, Happ is been nearly automatic from the field, shooting 34 of 46 while averaging 15.4 points and 9.8 rebounds. Florida A&M will have no answer for the big man and this could ugly.

As for the Rattlers, they are on a 9-game losing streak and getting blown out of each respective gymnasium. Junior Desmond Williams will do his best to keep Florida A&M in the game as he's coming off of back-to-back 20-point games against Jacksonville and Samford. The Rattlers average 75 points per game, but haven't seen a team like Wisconsin. 

NCAAB Free Pick: UW -38Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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 Wyoming Cowboys (10-2) Vs. No. 23 USC Trojans (12-0)

This is part of the Las Vegas Classic. The Trojans can certainly boast that they're undefeated, but this is a team that really hasn't played much legitimate competition. When you look at their schedule and see the likes of Cornell and Pepperdine as victories, it's really not that impressive as this is an untested team. Wyoming also has a relatively easy schedule.

Elijah Stewart is the leading scorer on the USC squad. He is averaging 16 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. While Stewart is converting on just 43.8% of his field goals, he's draining the 3-ball in averaging 42.2% from the field. Stewart is a solid player both offensively and defensively and USC wouldn't mind having the ball in his hands during a critical possession. He's coming off of a 21-point effort against Missouri State on Thursday.

USC will also need a strong effort from the very consistent Jordan McLaughlin. In his last 5 games, he's averaging nearly 20 points per game and is a dead-on shooter at 54.1% from the field and 80.9% from the free-throw line for the season.

For the Cowboys to have a chance at winning, senior Jason McManamen will need a bounce-back performance from his last 2 games. McManamen has tailed, averaging 9.5 points per game on 7 of 18 shooting and not seeing many opportunities from the charity stripe. He must show up here as USC will be ready to play.

NCAAB Free Pick: USC -9Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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