Road Dogs Iowa, Oregon to Hold Their Own in League Matchups

Charles Stark

Thursday, January 11, 2018 2:02 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 2:02 PM UTC

For Thursday’s NCAA basketball matchups we head to the Big Ten and Pac 12 as Iowa travels to Illinois, and Oregon visits Arizona State. Can the road underdogs stay within the number?

Thursday College Basketball: Iowa vs. Illinois

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Free NCAAB Pick: Iowa +5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

Illinois tries to get back on track after dropping two in a row, and on the NCAAB odds board they are a 5-point favorite in this spot. For my NCAAB pick, however, I’m going to back Iowa plus the points because I like how they match up with Illinois. The last three times these teams met, Illinois won but all the games were decently tight, and I think this game will go down to the wire. With Brad Underwood’s up-tempo style, I think it fits well with what Fran McCaffery likes to do in Iowa. The Fighting Illini are averaging 62.8 field-goal attempts per game, which ranks 40th in the country. But this matches well with what Iowa likes to do, getting up and down the floor averaging 60 attempts per game. Defensively there is not a lot of difference in these teams, but on the offensive side Iowa has been statistically better, shooting 48.1 percent from the floor compared to Illinois' 42.7 percent. They also have been more efficient, ranking 60th in the country compared to the Illini at 212th. Ultimately I believe this game goes to the final shot.

Thursday College Basketball: Oregon vs. Arizona State

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Free NCAAB Pick: Oregon +10Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

Oregon has dominated this series, beating Arizona State the last six times they have met. This is a different season, obviously, and Arizona State is a big -10 favorite at home on the NCAAB odds board. This is just too many points, in my opinion, so for my NCAA pick I will take the points with Oregon. Although the Ducks are a little bit down this year, I like how they match up with Arizona State and they should give the Sun Devils all they want, even on the road. On the season Oregon ranks in the top part of the country in shooting efficiency and is averaging 28.8 field goals made per game, which ranks them 36th in the country. Arizona State is having its best season in a long time under Head Coach Bobby Hurley and they have been shooting lights out at more than 48 percent from the floor and ranking 15th in the country in shooting efficiency. However, on the defensive side they have lacked just a little bit, and Oregon comes in as the much better defensive team, allowing opponents to shoot less than 40 percent. Although this game is on the road for Oregon, I like for them to bounce back from a tough loss at Oregon State and at least stay within single digits.

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