The Martin Luther King Jr. Day college hoops slate gives us some afternoon basketball to chew on on a Monday.
There are some high-profile matchups littered across the card, including a Big East battle between Marquette and Villanova. The Golden Eagles have been slumping with two straight losses amidst some injuries to role players, but is that giving us a break on the price to back the home favorite?
Meanwhile, Minnesota looks to continue its resurgent campaign with another home win, this time against Iowa, who has struggled away from Iowa City this season. However, this game is being lined as a nail-biter, should we back the home favorite?
Here are our best bets for Tuesday's college hoops slate:
Best College Basketball Bets for Monday, January 15th
- Villanova vs. Marquette (-6)
- Iowa vs. Minnesota (-2.5
Villanova vs. Marquette Prediction and Pick
Marquette has been plagued by inefficient three-point shooting all season, but the team does an excellent job of generating high-quality looks. ShotQuality gives the team a 97th percentile shot selection grade and the 12th-best open three rate in the country, but the team is converting about 32% of them (247th in the country). However, SQ deems the team is owed about a 2% increase on three-point tries, closer to the national average.
Marquette will need to get going against a Villanova team that shuts off the interior mostly but is below the national average in terms of turnover rate. I expect the heavy motion of the Golden Eagles offense should set up driving lanes for the likes of Kolek to get into the teeth of the defense and create high-quality looks.
While the Wildcats got Justin Moore back last game against DePaul, giving the team its most reliable ball handler back ahead of a matchup against a ball-pressure defense in Marquette, I struggle to see the offense generating quality looks.
The Golden Eagles can bring big man Oso Ighodaro out along the perimeter to stick with Dixon and also run in transition where the team is scoring at a top 40 rate per SQ.
Villanova is one of the most three-point-heavy teams in the nation, 14th in three-point rate, but is shooting only 33% as a team, 203rd in the country. However, this team is shooting to expectation from beyond the arc per SQ and is facing a far better defense in Marquette.
I'm going to side with the home team that is better than its two-game slump. Lay it with the Golden Eagles.
PICK: Marquette -6
Iowa vs. Minnesota Prediction and Pick
Iowa's road numbers are brutal to look at. The team has lost all four of its true roadies this season, and it's easy to see why. The team is 347th in effective field goal percentage allowed on the road, per Bart Torvik, with a ghastly 62% two-point percentage allowed (353rd in the country).
Iowa's inability to slow down the opponent's penetration is going to be a big issue when it travels to The Barn to face Minnesota, who bolsters an elite interior offense with junior guard Elijah Hawkins bolstering the sixth-best assist rate in the country at nearly 40%. The Howard transfer will have an easy path to breaking down this Hawkeyes defense and generating interior looks for the team that is 10th in near-rim field goal percentage, per Haslametrics.
While Iowa has an elite offense, even if it's not as good as recent seasons, ranking 18th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency metric, I can't trust this team to travel to a well-balanced Minnesota team that is top 50 in effective field goal percentage on both offense and defense.
I'll back the home team to win with margin on Monday.
PICK: Minnesota -2.5
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!