NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: Value Plays Worth Taking Today

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 1, 2016 4:18 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 4:18 PM UTC

North Carolina is the betting favorite to win the title, and the Heels can strengthen their position as perhaps the nation's best team by winning at Louisville. Here are my top 3 NCAAB picks.

#2 North Carolina vs. #16 Louisville 
UNC (19-2, 8-0 ACC) was No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll released last week and a close No. 2 to Oklahoma in the Associated Press poll.  It's possible the Heels overtake the Sooners in the AP poll that's released later Monday because OU nearly lost at unranked LSU on Saturday. The Heels, meanwhile, avoided a potential trap game at home vs. terrible Boston College on Saturday, rolling to an 89-62 win. It was Carolina's 12th consecutive win overall. UNC forced a season-best 23 turnovers and scored 30 points off them. Star guard Marcus Paige had been struggling with just one 3-pointer in his previous four games but hit three vs. BC and finished with 12 points.  Brice Johnson, the likely ACC Player of the Year, had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Heels. Louisville (17-4, 6-2 ACC) is going to fall in Monday's new polls as the Cardinals were stomped 63-47 at home by No. 11 Virginia on Saturday to end their four-game winning streak. It was Louisville's worst loss ever at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville shot 21.1 percent in the first half and 32.7 percent for the game while turning it over a season-high 18 times. The team's two leading scorers, Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, combined for just 10 points. Virginia led for all but 21 seconds. "I saw this day coming," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said to reporters afterward.  Last season UNC won two of three meetings. The winning side rallied from a double-digit hole in all three. Louisville is just 2-8 against the NCAA basketball odds in its past 10 games.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina +1
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Monmouth vs. Siena 
Siena (15-7, 8-3 MAAC) can tie Monmouth (17-5, 9-2) atop the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a win here. Monmouth enters on a three-game winning streak after beating Saint Peter's 73-57 on Saturday. Justin Robinson and Collin Stewart combined for 35 points as the Hawks led for about 38 minutes. I wonder if Monmouth will be a bit gassed here as it's the team's third game in five nights. Siena beat Marist 77-66 on Saturday for its fourth straight win to improve to 9-0 at home. Junior Brett Bisping had 27 points and tied his career high with 18 rebounds for the Saints, who trailed for only 18 seconds. Junior guard Marquis Wright, who missed his 10th straight game with a foot injury. He leads the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg. He's not going to play here. Monmouth beat visiting Siena 85-69 on  Jan. 18. Robinson had 23 points. The Hawks started the second half on a 15-4 run to take control.  Monmouth forced 21 turnovers, which led to 26 points. Monmouth has won four of five meetings with Siena since the Hawks joined the MAAC. The Hawks have covered eight straight vs. teams with a winning record. Siena is 1-4 ATS in its past five Monday games.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Monmouth -1
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Texas vs. #17 Baylor 
Texas (14-7, 5-3 Big 12) is probably an NCAA Tournament bubble team right now so a win here would boost the Horns' resume. They are off a 72-58 win over Vanderbilt in the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Saturday, UT's second straight blowout win. Freshman guard Kerwin Roach  Jr. had the first double-double of his college career with 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds to lead Texas. Senior center Prince Ibeh had his second straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Vandy had just 16 first-half points. Baylor (17-4, 6-2 Big 12) beat Georgia 83-73 on the Challenge on Saturday for its second straight win. Rico Gathers led Baylor with 17 points and nine rebounds. The Bears were down three at the half but came out of intermission on a 17-2 run. They have now won 34 straight non-conference home games and 27 straight at home against unranked teams. Baylor is 17-0 this season when leading in the second half at any point. All four of the Bears' losses have come against teams currently ranked: Oregon, Texas A&M, Kansas and Oklahoma. Baylor has won nine of the past 15 meetings with Texas. The teams split last year, each winning at home. Texas is just 2-3 on the road this season. Take Baylor as your NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Baylor -5
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek

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