Mississippi vs. Vanderbilt
All of a sudden, the roles have reversed at Vanderbilt. These days it's the football program that's doing big things, with the basketball team now trying to re-build for the future.
Tonight we don't think the Commodores will be able to match the productiveness of the Rebels. Yes, even though the NCAA Basketball odds boards are giving them almost nine points on their own floor.
Vanderbilt lost three guys to the NBA over the summer, with Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli all moving on. Brad Tinsley and Lance Goulbourne also graduated, so it's basically been a complete re-building year for Kevin Stallings.
You can tell by the results too, as the Commodores have stuttered to a 6-8 SU start. They've lost four of their last five games and are coming off an embarrassing showing against Arkansas in which they scored just 33 total points. Over their previous five, they're averaging an awful 51.2 points per game.
That's a primary reason why we think Ole Miss will get an easy win tonight. The Rebels are scoring the ball with ease, with Marshall Henderson and Murphy Holloway leading the way. The pair is averaging 34.7 PPG between them, while Holloway is also grabbing 10.8 rebounds per contest.
As a team, Ole Miss is putting up 82.4 points per game, though it was their defense that got the job done against Missouri (64-49) their last time on the court. That was an impressive win over the Tigers and should give the Rebels even more confidence ahead of this test in Memorial Gym.
With huge advantages in scoring and rebounding (41.3 RPG vs. 32.1 RPG), we expect Ole Miss to run away with this one despite being on the road.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Ole Miss Rebels -8.5
Northern Iowa vs. Creighton
As good as Doug McDermott and the Bluejays have looked so far this season, we are nonetheless taking the visiting Panthers with our college basketball picks tonight.
For one, matchups between these teams always seem to be close. In 2011, Creighton and Northern Iowa met up three times, with all of the games being decided by eight points or less. Last year, they faced off twice, with the Bluejays winning once and the Panthers returning the favor with a thrilling 65-62 win on their home court in which Anthony James hit a game-winning three at the buzzer.
Northern Iowa has returned a number of the players that were apart of last season's team, including James, Seth Tuttle, Deon Mitchell, Mark Sonnen and Jake Koch. .
James leads the team in minutes (31.7 per game) and scoring (11.6 PPG), while Tuttle and Koch will be tasked with beating out McDermott and Gregory Echenique on the glass.
We know McDermott has been out of this world, but Northern Iowa has a sharpshooter of their own who can get hot at any given moment. Sonnen is shooting at a 45.7 percent clip from beyond the arc this season and just put on a show last weekend with seven threes in a 84-53 win over Bradley.
Moreover, there's a chance the Panthers will at least be able to keep McDermott from exploding. The junior totaled just 32 points in his two appearances versus Northern Iowa last season, which by his extremely high standards would be considered a disappointment.
With considerable senior leadership in the form of James, Sonnen and Koch, we feel the Panthers will at least put up a good fight in this Missouri Valley Conference showdown. Therefore, we'll take those points and back Northern Iowa.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Northern Iowa Panthers +13