NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 3:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 3:51 PM UTC

We've got some top-tier matchups on the board for Tuesday night, and as always, we'll do our due diligence before placing our final NCAA basketball picks.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
The ACC/Big Ten challenge is here, and with it comes arguably the best game on the board tonight, featuring two undefeated programs in Ohio State and Louisville.

The NCAA basketball odds are very much in the Cardinals' favor, with home court helping Rick Pitino's team to a 8.5-point favorite line. The total is trading at 135.5 right now.

Our preview starts with Louisville, who has been dominant as everyone expected so far in non-conference play. They're 5-0, with all five of their wins coming by at least 12 points. The leader of the pack has been Montrezl Harrell, who's averaging 17.4 PPG and 8.8 RPG thus far, and he's joined by Terry Rozier, Chris Jones and Wayne Blackshear as the top contributors. All four are averaging at least 11.2 points per contest.

Size has been the catalyst for Louisville's fast start, as they currently lead the nation in rebounding (48.8 PPG), and they've been fantastic defensively, allowing an average of 46.6 points per game to opponents, the third-best mark in the country behind only Virginia and Kentucky.

As for the Buckeyes, they've also yet to taste defeat this season, having won all five of their games as well. Their standout victory came over Marquette (74-63). Freshman D'Angelo Russell leads the team in scoring with 18.0 PPG and he's also put up averages of 5.4 APG and 4.0 RPG. Marc Loving and Sam Thompson has provided a steady presence too, while point guard Shannon Scott (9.2 PPG and 10.4 APG) has been highly efficient.

As opposed to Louisville's extreme length, Ohio State's success has come through its offense, with the team ranked in the top ten in points scored pergame.

When it comes to making our NCAA basketball picks, it's obviously hard to imagine Louisville losing this game straight up, but this is a lot of points to be getting on a talented Ohio State squad. We think they'll be able to stay within number, with the experience of Thompson and Scott leading the way, in turn giving Lousiville their first real test of the year.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes +8.5 at BetOnline

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Michigan Wolverines vs. Syracuse Orange
This isn't too shabby of a game either.

As part of the ACC/Big Ten challenge, the Wolverines and Orange will square off in Ann Arbor, with oddsmakers listing Michigan as a 5.5-point favorite. Want to make a play on the total? This should be a low-scoring one, so a posted O/U of just 122.5 is understandable.

Michigan is 5-1 on the season with its sole loss coming to Villanova. It's been a thread-headed monster for the Wolverines, as Zak Irvin, Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. are all averaging at least 13.8 points per game and have been helping out in other ways as well. It's never easy to slow down a team that has three legitimate scorers.

The Orange are also sitting at 5-1, with their one loss coming on a neutral court to California. They're being led by Rakeem Christmas who's averaging 17.5 PPG and 9.0 RPG thus far, but Chris McCullough (15.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG) has been a big-time presence inside as well.

Syracuse has been a force on the glass so far this season and will be hoping to do a lot of damage in that regard tonight in a tough spot against Michigan. We know the Orange are always good defensively, and this year is no different, with the squad ranking in the top ten in points allowed per game (51.7). Can they slow down the Wolverines?

We believe so, at least to some degree. 

We're taking another underdog to wrap up our sports picks, as we feel the Orange are potentially undervalued in this spot. They're always going to be competitive under Jim Boeheim, and their defensive intensity and presence in the post should help out a lot too. Plus, it's not like the Wolverines have looked unstoppable by any means so far this season.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Syracuse Orange +5.5 at 5Dimes

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