Up-Tempo Contests Top College Hoops Picks for Thursday

Jay Pryce

Thursday, December 28, 2017 1:22 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 1:22 PM UTC

A pair of C-USA and Horizon League openers are on tap for our top college basketball picks Thursday. Check out which side to bet against the spread in Southern Miss at Marshall, as well as a totals pick in the Detroit-Green Bay tilt.

Southern Miss vs Marshall (-11)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Southern Miss +11Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Southern Miss (7-6 SU, 4-4 ATS) flies into Huntington to begin Conference USA play versus Marshall (9-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) battle-tested. The Golden Eagles are sporting a winning record despite logging the 115th toughest schedule in college basketball according to KenPom. This includes their last two games at No. 24 Florida State (45-98) and Mississippi State (64-70), a pair of opponents combining for two losses all season.

Southern Miss fields just one senior (D'Angelo Richardson), but plays mature beyond its years. It ranks seventh in country for fewest giveaways per game (9.7) and ninth in assists-turnover margin (1.57). The Seminoles are the only opponent to generate more turnovers in a game. The Golden Eagles do not beat themselves. Well-balanced on both sides of the ball, head coach Doc Sadler tends to slow games down to a crawl, ranking 344 out of 351 in tempo.

Marshall, under head coach Dan D'Antoni, likes up-tempo basketball and lots of scoring. The sixth fastest team in the nation puts up 89.2 points per game (11th). The junior trio of guard Jon Elmore, guard C.J. Burks, and forward Ajdin Penava are the primary producers, combining for 62.7 points, 17.9 boards, and 12.1 assists per game. Elmore currently leads the C-USA in points (23.7) and assists (7.4), while Penava is tops in rebounds (9.8 pg).

The Thundering Herd are 19-8 SU and 18-9 ATS as home chalk in conference play under D'Antoni, tipping off -4.1 favorites on average. In contests with a longer line, they light up the scoreboard for 91.0 points per game on 49 percent shooting.

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Happy Holidays from the HERD 🎄 pic.twitter.com/go7WmvQtGt

— Marshall Men's Hoops (@HerdMBB) December 25, 2017

This year's defense leaves a lot to be desired. Marshall has played 10 games listed on the college basketball oddsboard. It us surrendering 82.7 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting. The squad ranks dead last in C-USA with a 37.8 opponent 3-point percentage and is often out of position around the rim due to its quick tempo and rushing shots. The Herds' offensive and defensive rebounding percentages rank 290 and 292 respectively. Combine this with the Golden Eagles' ability to protect the rock, and Marshall will not see many second-chance opportunities. Take the points (+11) with Southern Miss for your best bet.

Detroit vs Green Bay (-3)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Over 164Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Have mercy on the Detroit (4-9 SU, 5-5 ATS) defense. It ranks 331st in adjusted efficiency per KenPom with the team playing at the eighth quickest pace nationally. A perfect recipe for surrendering tons of points. Since Bacari Alexander took over head-coaching duties last season, the Titans yield 87.3 points per game on 49.8 percent opponent shooting in 40 games listed on the oddsboard. These figures inch up to 89.2 and 51.0 respectively away from home.

This matchup is a relief for a Green Bay (5-8 SU, 4-4 ATS) offense shooting just 41.1 percent from the floor this season. The Phoenix have won eight of the last nine head to head, scoring 90.1 points on 53 percent shooting on average.

Green Bay is not as talented as in recent years, however, picked to finish sixth in the preseason Horizon League media poll. It is the winningest program in the conference over the last four seasons with a 49-19 record. Detroit should keep it competitive and the game will be the fastest in all of college basketball this weekend. The Phoenix play at the 39th quickest pace. Expect an up-and-down affair that will hit 170-plus points regardless of shooting percentages.

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