Updated 2K Classic Semifinals Predictions & Free NCAA Basketball Picks

Willie Bee

Friday, November 20, 2015 11:47 AM GMT

Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 11:47 AM GMT

Duke and Wisconsin are favored on the NCAA basketball odds to win Friday night in New York, which would set up a rematch of last year's NCAA Championship on Saturday.

So, did you take my advice last week when previewing the 2K Classic Benefiting The Wounded Warrior Project and watch some of the preliminary games?

If so, you already have a leg up on most college basketball bettors and fans who will be tuning into the season's first major bracketed tournament of the year when it gets underway Friday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. And if you've been following what has been a pretty nutty first week of the season, you've also seen some upsets and struggles among the four teams -- Duke, Georgetown, Wisconsin and Virginia Commonwealth -- that will be taking part in the event.

Only one member of that quartet reaches New York City still clutching a perfect record on the young season, and in a mild surprise, the VCU Rams are that team. Both the Badgers and Hoyas suffered season-opening upsets, Georgetown still yet to taste victory this year, and the Blue Devils looked lost earlier this week in a matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats.

For the record, Duke didn't lose it's first game last season until January 11 after opening the campaign 14-0. Wisconsin went 7-0 before suffering one of only four losses in 2014-15, the last one to Duke in the championship. And Georgetown started the fixture 4-0, including an overtime win over Florida in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.

 

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Georgetown Hoyas
The Hoyas would lose the very next day in that tourney to the Badgers, and the two will square off in the lid-lifter of this event, slated for a 5 PM (ET) tipoff on ESPN2. The NCAA Basketball odds have UDub favored by a bucket, The Greek listing 136 for the total.

We all knew this was going to be a different Wisconsin (2-1 straight up, 1-2 against the spread) team than the one that made it to the finals the past two seasons after so many of the star players from those squads ran out of eligibility. Still, we never expected the Badgers to fall to Western Illinois in the season opener, 69-67, as 25 point favorites on their home floor.

The defense so far is nowhere near what we've come to expect from a Bo Ryan team. Wisconsin bounced back from that Game 1 loss with victories over Siena and North Dakota, but those teams scored 65 and 64 points respectively. Those are squads previous Badgers teams would've held to the low-50s, high-40s.

Georgetown (0-2 SU, 1-0 ATS) fell to Radford, 82-80, in double-overtime to get its season started before losing at No. 3 Maryland on Tuesday, 75-71. Bradley Hayes has been the big man so far averaging a double-double, but turnovers have been an issue for the 7-footer as well as for the rest of the team.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Georgetown +2 at Heritage

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Duke Blue Devils vs. VCU Rams
Once the Badgers and Hoyas are done, the Blue Devils and Rams will collide in the second game. ESPN2 is suggesting a 7:30 (ET) tip for the clash, Coach K's team laying 10 points and the scoreboard tally at 155.

Duke (2-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) had little trouble brushing aside Siena and Bryant, but the Blue Devils were completely overmatched Tuesday night against Kentucky, the matchup everyone wanted to see in last season's finals. Mike Krzyzewski's crew turned it over 15 times and couldn't take advantage of several Wildcats who got into foul trouble, connecting on just 14 of 23 attempts from the charity stripe.

Virginia Commonwealth (2-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) will make a giant step up in competition when the Rams take the floor against Duke. The Rams, under 1st-year head coach Will Wade, spanked Prairie View A&M in their opener and didn't take Radford as lightly as Georgetown apparently did this past Monday, using the long-range jumper to beat the Highlanders, 92-74.

As much as I can't see the Badgers starting the season 2-2, it's an even stronger feeling against Georgetown beginning 0-3, so my first free NCAA Basketball pick will be on JT3's bunch. In the nightcap, the underdog is my play once again as the Rams keep the game close.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: VCU +10 at The Greek

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