NCAA Basketball Picks Of The Day Offers Mid-Major Winning Plays

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 22, 2016 1:17 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 1:17 PM UTC

No ranked teams in action on Friday? No problem. First place is on the line in three mid-major leagues in potential conference tournament title game previews. Here are my top three picks for Friday.

Saint Peter's At Iona
It's two of the top teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference here. Saint Peter's (8-8, 6-1) is tied atop the MAAC standings with Monmouth. Obviously this will only be a one-bid league for the NCAA Tournament. The Peacocks are off a 77-71 comeback win over Fairfield on Tuesday night. Trevis Wyche scored 20 second-half points. After scoring two points in the first half against Marist in a 76-67 win last Sunday, the junior has now scored a combined 38 points in the second half of his last two games. Freshman Antwon Portley scored 21 of his 23 points in the first half vs. Fairfield; it was his fifth 20-point game of the season. Saint Peter's is off to its best conference start since 1995-96. Iona (9-8, 6-2) was the preseason MAAC favorite as it often is. The Gaels have been off since a 79-75 loss at Rider last weekend, their second straight defeat. Iona led by 16 in the first half and got 27 points from A.J. English. Iona played without one of its best players in that one in junior forward Jordan Washington. He was suspended two games as a result of an unsportsmanlike incident the game before against Monmouth. He will also miss this one. Washington averages 15.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game so it's a big loss. These schools split last year. The Peacocks ended a four-game losing streak to the Gaels with a 68-60 home win on March 1, 2015, in the regular-season finale. Saint Peter's is 8-11 under Coach John Dunne against the Gaels, including 3-6 in New Rochelle.

The Peacocks are 6-1 ATS in their past seven conference games. Iona has failed to cover the NCAA basketball odds six in a row at home.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Saint Peter's +8.5 covers only because Washington is out
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


Valparaiso At Wright State
It's a  matchup of the two top teams in the Horizon League in this one. Valparaiso (16-3, 6-0) looks like the clear team to beat as every other club has at least six overall losses. The Crusaders beat Youngstown State 96-65 on Monday and have won every Horizon game thus far by at least 12 points. According to the Crusaders official website, the 31-point margin of victory matched the largest by the Crusaders in a Horizon game since joining the league. The 96 points were the most by Valpo in a league game since joining the Horizon League and the most in a regulation-length game against a Division I foe since December 2010. Valpo outrebounded Youngstown State by 31, the Crusaders' largest margin against a D-I opponent in at least two decades. Wright State (11-8, 5-1) rallied from a 14-point second-half hole to beat visiting Detroit 77-76 on Monday as Grant Benzinger hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left. Mark Alstork scored 16 of his 21 after halftime for Wright State. The Raiders shot only 41 percent but outrebounded the Titans 38-28 and forced 15 turnovers. Valpo swept the series last year with Wright State, winning by 10 in Dayton.

The Crusaders are 8-0-1 ATS in their past nine Horizon games. Wright State has covered only six of its past 20 in conference.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Valparaiso -8 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


Albany At Stony Brook 
And here are the top two teams in the America East Conference standings. Albany (15-5, 4-1) beat Binghamton 80-59 on Monday for its 14th straight home victory. Five Great Danes recorded double digits in scoring, led by Peter Hooley’s 18 points. Hooley added five assists and now has 306 career assists, good for fourth in school history. Albany recorded a season-high in field goal percentage (.587, 27-for-46) against the Bearcats and went 20-for-22 (.909) from the free-throw line. Stony Brook (14-4, 5-0) beta Hartford 77-43 on Monday to tie the school's Division I record with its 10th straight victory. Senior Rayshaun McGrew led all scorers with 16 points. Stony Brook is off to its best 18-game start in the program's Division I history. This is a rematch of the past two America East Championship Games. Both were won by Albany. Last year’s game was decided on Hooley’s 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation to seal a 51-50 win and Albany’s third straight America East Tournament title.

The Great Danes are 10-1 ATS in their past 11 road games. Stony Brook is 3-7-1 ATS in its past 11 at home. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. Make Albany your NCAA basketball pick.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Albany +9
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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