Thursday NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day

Joe Catalano

Thursday, December 19, 2013 4:00 PM GMT

Thursday Night NCAA Basketball revolves around  a huge matchup as UCLA collides with Duke at Madison Square Garden. On an otherwise uneventful day, 2-0 is within reach with our picks for the day.

UCLA (9-1) vs. Duke (8-2)

Matchup of the Day

This is a very even matchup as Duke is a 4 point betting favorite and one team will walk away with a nice non-conference win to add to their resume for NCAA Tournament purposes. UCLA has dominated their relatively easy schedule thus far with their lone loss coming to Missouri while the Blue Devils have a more difficult schedule with a win over Michigan and losses to Kansas and Arizona. In their 2 losses, Duke has been very competitive and is deservedly the favorite in this neutral site matchup.

Shootout at MSG

This game should be a high scoring affair as both of these teams contain plenty of offensive ammunition. UCLA ranks 3rd in the nation in points (89.1) and 1st in field goal percentage (54.3) led by sophomore guard Jordan Adams, while Duke is not far behind, averaging 86 points per contest on 51.7% shooting from the field. The Blue Devils are led by freshman sensation , Jabari Parker, and transfer Rodney Hood. This is as talented a trio to hit the Garden floor that you’ll see all season long.

How Will Krzyzewski Keep Him?

Duke has a storied history under head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke is basically a “family” in which an athlete plays all 4 years in gaining the college experience. Players like Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers have broken that tradition and Jabari Parker will almost be one of the next “one and done” crew.

Parker will still be playing on the MSG floor, but in an NBA uniform next season. The freshman has already mastered the college game, averaging 22 points and 7.6 rebounds on 55.1% from the field and 46.9 % from 3-point range. He has 8- 20 point games already to his credit thus far and UCLA’s defense won’t have an answer for this enormous talent.

Not to be outdone by Parker, UCLA has a super sophomore in Jordan Adams. Adams is a multi-faceted basketball player that can just about do it all on the court. There is no shame in Adams’ game as he’s averaging 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 steals, and 2.7 assists per game. Adams is a player that does it on both ends of the court and gets great support from his wingman, New Jersey native, Kyle Anderson. Anderson is the equivalent of Scottie Pippen at the college level; high praise for the sophomore as he returns to home.

This game should go down to the wire and I’d rather have the 4 points on my side.

College Basketball Picks: UCLA +4 at Bet 365

[gameodds]14/252564/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Clemson (8-2) vs. Auburn (4-3)

This is the only other game worthy of interest aside from betting as Auburn has been a very good home team but has failed miserably in their last two games losing by a collective 48 points to Iowa State and Illinois. Auburn faces a Clemson team that’s coming off of a 71-35 victory over Furman, but has little experience on the road and hasn’t faced a legitimate test as of yet. Who will come out on top as Clemson is a 5.5 point road favorite on the college basketball odds for this matchup?

K.J. McDaniels

This junior forward is the go to guy on Clemson as he’s the only player to average in double figures. On the season, McDaniels is averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. McDaniels offers an above average game on both ends of the court as his defense is a strength. Other than Rod Hall and the rebounding presence of Landry Nnoko (7 rebounds per game), no other player on this squad see’s more than 20 minutes per ball game. This is an average team talent-wise, but a team with high energy as they look to steal one on the road against Auburn.

2-Man Show

Auburn is hoping that the combination of Chris Denson (19.9 points, 5.9 rebounds ) and K.T. Harrell (18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds) will be enough to get the Tigers over the hump at home in getting past a beatable Clemson team at home. This duo accounts for just about 50% of the Tigers’ points as this isn’t a team that’s saturated with talent.

Auburn is coming off of two really ugly losses and in their last game, their leading scorer basically didn’t show up as he put up just 7 shots which equated to 8 points. Now, Auburn faces another tough defense in Clemson and Denson needs a bounce back game if Auburn expects to have a chance.

Take the points and Auburn at home for your college basketball picks. Clemson is a solid ball club, but hasn’t proven anything on the road or against a team of any legitimacy; They’re not worthy of being a 5.5 point favorite on the road in this situation.

College Basketball Picks: Auburn +5.5 at Bet 365

[gameodds]14/252569/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]