The Tuesday college hoops slate is loaded with elite teams facing tricky conference tests.
One matchup that appears difficult on the surface is Marquette's road trip to Villanova, but is it time to have a discussion about Kyle Neptune's Wildcats, who are in the midst of a four game Big East losing streak? The team is favored yet again against a surging Marquette team, how should we bet this one?
Further, North Carolina has emerged as a National Championship contender, but ahead of a rivalry matchup against Duke, will the Tar Heels face a stiff test against underrated ACC foe Georgia Tech?
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Best College Basketball Bets Today, January 30th
- Marquette (+2) vs. Villanova
- North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech (+9)
Marquette vs. Villanova Prediction and Pick
These two met on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when Marquette was mired in a Big East slump, but the team disposed of Villanova's normally compact defense en route to a 13-point win. The Golden Eagles still struggled to shoot from the perimeter, only 30% from deep while Villanova hit 14 three's, but Marquette shot 75% on two's and generated 12 turnovers to keep the visitors at bay.
Many will turn to Kyle Neptune's bunch after losing four straight (starting with the Marquette loss) and after the team blew a late lead on the road to Butler to lose in double overtime, but I think that's baked into this number quite a bit and I'll take Marquette as an underdog.
Marquette has been vulnerable along the perimeter, as the team's turnover-heavy defense allows three-point shots at the second highest clip in Big East play, but the Wildcats are struggling to get clean looks from distance, 282nd in open three rate, per ShotQuality.
Further, the Nova defense has been exposed, and Marquette's motion offense can put up a ton of points at the rim yet again, similar to the earlier meeting. Villanova is ninth in two-point field goal percentage allowed and ninth in turnover rate in league play.
This number closed Marquette -6.5 two weeks ago, and since then the Golden Eagles have returned to its elite ways with wins at St. John's while Villanova hasn't won a game. The market is overreacting to the "spot" on the Wildcats.
PICK: Marquette +2
North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech Prediction and Pick
North Carolina is a machine at the moment and its fair to lump the Tar Heels in the National Championship group, but every team has a selling point. I believe it's here against a frisky Georgia Tech team after UNC has won 10 straight and has a road trip to Duke on Saturday.
The Tar Heels rallied late to cover a big spread at Florida State, moving to 7-2 against the number in ACC play, but this team is ripe for a step back, especially in its perimeter defense. The Tar Heels have the length to challenge three-point shooting teams, but the team is allowing foes to shoot 24.9% from beyond the arc in ACC play this season, far and away the lowest mark in the league. ShotQuality believes that UNC is owed a five percent increase in opponent 3-point percentage.
Georgia Tech is an above average group from the perimeter, shooting 36% from deep in 3-point rate while chucking at a 44% rate. Further, the Tar Heels lack of ball pressure (13th in ACC tunrover percentage) should allow the Yellow Jackets to run its preferred method of offense.
Damon Stoudamire's group is just 2-7 in ACC play, but that includes all but one single digit defeats and a home upset of Duke back on Dec. 2.
The team has been a thorn in the side of the ACC all season long, mainly around the team's methodical tempo, the team is 13th in ACC adjusted tempo according to KenPom. The Yellow Jackets are an elite transition defense as well, which is exactly what the Tar Heels thrive on. GT is 348th in opponent transition rate allowed and allows the 16th fewest points per possession, per ShotQuality.
Georgia Tech can slow this game down and make it a tough out for the streaking Heels on the road.
PICK: Georgia Tech +9
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.