Trio Of Value NCAA Basketball Picks For Saturday Afternoon

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 29, 2016 9:21 PM GMT

Again this week there's simply too much college hoops action Saturday to fit in one story so I am breaking the day's previews into two. Here's a look at games that tipoff before 5 p.m. ET with my top three picks with BetOnline's NCAA Basketball odds.

Clemson vs. Florida State (-3.5) 
The early favorite for ACC Coach of the Year has to be Clemson's Brad Brownell as the Tigers (13-7, 6-2) are the conference's biggest surprise and just a 1.5 games out of first place. The team's only losses in the ACC are very respectable, coming at North Carolina and Virginia, two highly-ranked teams. Clemson had a week off ahead of Wednesday's 73-60 home win over Pittsburgh. The Tigers held Pitt to 38 percent shooting, including 36 percent in the second half. Clemson wasn't really threatened after taking a 40-26 lead into the break. Jaron Blossomgame led Clemson with 22 points. He's the team's star, averaging team bests in points (16.9) and rebounds (6.9). Pitt is unranked in the AP poll but ranked in the USA Today poll so it was the Tigers' fourth win over a ranked team this season, their most in 19 seasons. Florida State (13-7, 3-5) ended a two-game skid with a 72-62 win at ACC doormat Boston College on Tuesday. Malik Beasley, the ACC's fourth-leading scorer, led FSU with 22 points. Fellow freshman Dwayne Bacon had 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Clemson beat visiting Florida State 84-75 on Jan. 2. The Tigers entered that on a three-game losing streak. Noles are 5-1 ATS in their past six at home vs. teams with a losing road record.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida State -3.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

 

No. 11 Virginia vs. No. 16 Louisville (-6.5)
This is the game of the day in the ACC and I'm fascinated to see how Virginia (16-4, 5-3) plays after getting perhaps the  most unlikely win of the season for any team. The Wahoos were big favorites Tuesday at Wake Forest, which had dropped four straight games, but trailed by 10 with 90 seconds left and still by seven with 15 seconds remaining. But then UVA started going nuts from 3-point range and Wake shaky at the free-throw line, capped by a miracle banked 3-pointer by Darius Thompson at the buzzer for the stunning victory. It was Thompson's only field goal of the game. The Cavs were 1-for-13 from 3-point range until making their final four, including three in those wacky final 14 seconds. Virginia had dropped all of its ACC road games (Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Florida State). Louisville (17-3, 6-1) starts a monster two game-stretch here as it hosts No. 2 North Carolina on Monday. The Cardinals won their fourth straight on Wednesday, 91-83 at Virginia Tech. Damion Lee (29 points) and Trey Lewis (22) had season highs in scoring; 20 of Lewis' were after halftime. U of L had a few guys in early foul trouble -- Chinanu Onuaku had two fouls in the game's first four minutes or so and took a seat --  and committed 26 fouls overall, leading to 38 Virginia Tech attempts, of which the Hokies made 33. It helped that Tech had 28 fouls, but Louisville missed nine of 34 free throws. Louisville and Virginia split two close low-scoring games last year with each winning at home. The Cavs are 0-5 ATS in their past five road games. UL is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 at home. Take Louisville with your NCAA Basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Louisville -6.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

 

No. 14 Iowa State vs. No. 5 Texas A&M (-3.5)
This is part of the  Big 12/SEC Challenge, which previously had been held over a few days in December. But this year, for whatever reason (publicity I'm sure), all the games are played on Saturday smack-dab in the middle of conference play. Interesting concept. This is one of the best matchups of the Challenge. Texas A&M (17-3) could take a huge plunge in the polls with a loss. I previewed the Aggies' game on Wednesday at Arkansas here at SBR and thought the Razorbacks would pull the upset as 3-point dogs on the NCAA Basketball odds board. They did, 74-71 to end the Aggies' 10-game winning streak. A&M didn't deserve to win, shooting just 39.6 percent from the field and committing a season-high 21 turnovers. Those were a big reason why the Hogs had 11 more field-goal attempts in the game (59 to 48). Danuel House finished with a game-high 24 points to lead four A&M players in double figures. A&M has followed its previous two losses with 10-point home wins over Florida Gulf Coast and Kansas State. Iowa State (16-4) is a lot better than those two schools. The Cyclones won a fourth straight on Monday, beating No. 4 Kansas 85-72 in Ames. A 24-7 run  midway through the second half was the difference. It was Iowa State's third win over a ranked team this season and it leads the country in Top-25 wins over the past three seasons. During the current winning streak, ISU is allowing only 68.0 points. It's the first meeting between A&M and ISU since 2011-12 when the Aggies were still in the Big 12. ISU has covered seven of its past nine road games. A&M is 2-5-1 ATS in its past eight vs. Big 12 teams.  

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Iowa State -3.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline