College Basketball Picks
Through five games, Iowa looked like it might really have something this season, in contrast with last year’s wipeout that saw the Hawkeyes record their worst Big Ten finish ever. After a 5-0 start, the Hawkeyes have played a tight game at home against Pittsburgh and slipped up against Wisconsin, calling into question just how good the Hawkeyes really are. The biggest difference from last year’s team is freshman Joe Wieskamp, who serves as Iowa’s top 3-point shooter and averages 10.9 points a game. When he’s on, he can highhandedly change a game for Iowa, but he’s shown a tendency to disappear against big-time opponents this season. Can Iowa’s shooting keep the Hawkeyes within the bookie’s line of +10?
UCLA has many weapons who can hurt its opponents, most notably sophomore Kris Wilkes. A 6-foot-8 guard, Wilkes can score from anywhere on the floor and he provides the presence inside to own the boards. Against Hawaii, he notched a double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds to go with 16 points. He’s scored in double figures in every UCLA game this season. His boards are as important as his points, because it’s not with the first shot that UCLA beats its opponents. It’s with the second and third. The Bruins rank 10th in the country in rebounds and are excellent at getting on the glass and extending their possessions. When teams don’t limit the Bruins to one shot, they usually find themselves paying the price. Can UCLA manage the glass well enough to get a win against the -10 spread?
Ignas Brazdeikis, the freshman, has now topped 20 points in three consecutive games and is playing at a very high level as defenses struggle to adjust to what he brings to the table. He’s been the cog that has taken Michigan’s offense from pedestrian to solid, and when he’s on, Michigan is as good as anyone in the country. Can bettors expect Purdue to slow him and stay within the 6.5 point spread?
The Badgers are looking to avenge their 18-point loss from nine months ago at the hands of a nearly-identical Hawkeye team. Happ was able to get his numbers in that game, but it will be on the supporting guys to step up to deal with the Hawkeyes potent offense. Khalil Iverson is too inconsistent. Third year guard D’Mitrik Trice has been solid but unpredictable. And Buzzcut Brad Davison fills out a White Guy Bingo cards like no other player in the NCAA, but he’s going to need to do something besides draw charges to help Wisconsin in this one. Kyle Cash gives his basketball prediction on how this match-up will play out.
UCF spreads its scoring pretty well, and it’s long on experience, which sets this up as a chance for coach Johnny Dawkins to reach a breakthrough in Year 3 in Orlando. The Knights get strong contributions from B.J. Taylor and Aubrey Dawkins, but it’s the play of Tacko Fall that catches the attention of most people due to him being 7 foot 6. Can UCF’s balance attack make up for the 6 point handicap?