Week 6, College Basketball Picks 2017: Spread & Predictions

As we work our way through what it will be a wildly unpredictable and exhilarating college basketball season, upsets and last-second victories have already become a regular occurrence. While most of these unexpected upsets should not dictate the future success of reputable programs, they will and should have a tremendous impact on how the perceived elite adjust their respective game plans to ensure that they do not experience a precipitous drop in terms of competitive legitimacy. Although we’re still several weeks away from the New Year, every program that has serious aspirations at finishing the season at the top of the rankings needs to establish a formidable identity sooner rather than later.


Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (25)

While it may be difficult to recall the last time the SEC was especially deep with serious competitors, all it takes is a look at the early success of the Bulldogs to realize the conference is nipping at the heels of the ACC. Disciplined and efficient on defense (61.9 PAPG), the Bulldogs have several well-rounded athletes that can rebound and force turnovers consistently. However, the Bearcats have a much more productive offense (83.4 PPG) and have the imposing size to outrebound most of their opponents (42.2 RPG). While the undefeated Bulldogs are intriguing, their less than impressive schedule up to this point will most likely leave them unprepared to take on a more physical and versatile Bearcats program.
Final Score: Bulldogs 69 Bearcats 79 Spread: Cincinnati -12.5


Villanova Wildcats (1) vs. Temple Owls

Although the Wildcats have not experienced a particularly tough schedule up to this points, their dominant win over Gonzaga combined with how they have defeated their other opponents has Villanova looking like one of the most dominant teams in the country. While Mikal Bridgers is far and away the Wildcats most valuable asset, Jalen Brunson has quietly been the disciplined orchestrator of this programs dynamic and proficient offense. While the Owls may not have the well-rounded athletes of their opponent, they do possess some prolific scorers in Shizz Alston Jr. (17.3 PPG) and Quinton Rose (17.3 PPG). Although the Owls have held their own this season, they have not faced a program with this many playmakers and will ultimately lose this in-state rivalry game as a result.
Final Score: Wildcats 88 Owls 73 Spread: Villanova -8.5


Butler Bulldogs vs. Purdue Boilermakers (17)

Although the Bulldogs have flown under the radar in the Big East, this is a program that has proven to be competitive on an annual basis and appears to once again have a competitive team to stay afloat in their conference. Thus far, the Bulldogs have been successful because of their tenacious defense and have been reliant on the rebounding capabilities of Kelan Martin (7.7 RPG) and Kamar Baldwin (4 RPG) in the majority of their victories. Unlike the Bulldogs, the Boilermakers posses a prolific offense that is capable of performing at a high level when Carsen Edwards (17 PPG) and Isaac Haas (15.1 PPG) are in rhythm. While the Boilermakers are easily the favorites to win this contest on paper, their strong albeit wildly inconsistent offense has cost them a couple of head-scratching losses and will likely struggle against a consistent Bulldogs defense (66 PAPG).
Final Score: Bulldogs 76 Boilermakers 69 Spread: Seton Hall -9.0


Seton Hall Pirates (15) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

While the Pirates cannot be considered dominant in any particular facet when it comes to playing their brand of basketball, they have proven that efficiency can outweigh an overreliance on talent. With that being said, Desi Rodriguez (19.7 PPG) and Myles Powell (14.7 PPG) have proven to be more than capable of carrying their team on both sides of the court when their fellow teammates are struggling. Conversely, the Rutgers are blatantly dependent on their rebounding (45.7 RPG) and stout defense (57.3 PAPG) to win consistently. While Corey Sanders (1 SPG) and Geo Baker (1.2 SPG) have been sensational in consistently forcing turnovers, they will ultimately struggle to put up enough points to silence the streaking Pirates at home.
Final Score: Pirates 73 Scarlet Knights 60 Spread: Purdue -7.5


Syracuse Orange vs. Georgetown Hoyas

Despite struggling tremendously on the offensive end of the court this year (72.2 PPG), the Orange have been able to overcome their shooting struggles by relying on a tenacious defense led by Tyus Battle (1.8 SPG) and Frank Howard (2.1 SPG). While this lopsided style of basketball has proven to be effective in most situations (see Virginia Cavaliers), it usually becomes exposed against opponents that can seamlessly alter their offensive game plan on the fly. Although the Hoyas have a prolific offense (82 PPG), it’s their ball movement capabilities (18.8 APG) that have allowed them to go undefeated thus far. Even though the Orange have the better head coach in Jim Boeheim, the Hoyas have a much more dynamic roster that can overpower their opponents in a multitude of ways.
Final Score: Orange 65 Hoyas 74 Spread: Syracuse -5.0


Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Kentucky Wildcats (8)

Since the Florida Gators tumultuous fall from grace offensively, the trigger-happy Hokies have emphatically claimed the throne as the best scoring team in college basketball (96.2 PPG). Shooting 55.3% from the field and 46.8% from three-point range, the Hokies are loaded with gifted shooters, the most notable of which is Justin Bibbs (17.5 PPG, 60 FG%, 47.6 3P%). While the Wildcats may not score at the same rate as the Hokies, they still have immensely talented albeit very inexperienced shooters themselves in Kevin Knox (15.2 PPG) and Hamidou Diallo (14.7 PPG). Despite possessing the more impressive athletes, the Wildcats still have some growing pains to work through when it comes to hitting perimeter shots consistently and will likely struggle to keep up with the potent offense of the Hokies.
Final Score: Hokies 86 Wildcats 82 Spread: Kentucky -6.0


Cincinnati Bearcats (25) vs. UCLA Bruins

Although the Bearcats have lost two games in a row despite their impressive overall statistics, this is a program that has a tremendously high ceiling when it comes to playing defense (61.8 PAPG). In order for Cincinnati to be successful going forward, they will need Gary Clark to be a fearless rebounder (8.6 RPG) while Jacob Evans has to be much more consistent as the Bearcats ball facilitator (3.6 APG). In spite of the shenanigans that have surrounded them since the start of the season, the Bruins have done a fantastic job of shutting out the noise as they have played well enough on offense (84.8 PPG) to win the majority of their games thus far. While the Bruins should be pleased with how they have played recently, it will be too daunting and arduous of a task to upset a Bearcats team that is on the brink of breaking out on both offense and defense.
Final Score: Bearcats 85 Bruins 77 Spread: Cincinnati -3.5


Oklahoma Sooners vs. Wichita State Shockers (3)

While the Sooners football program has garnered the majority of the attention in recent weeks, their basketball team has quietly emerged as one of the best offensive teams in the country (93.3 PPG). Without question, the scoring output of Trae Young (28.8 PPG) has been nothing short of mind-boggling while the rebounding prowess of Khadeem Lattin (8.8 RPG) has been vital in giving the Sooners offense extra opportunities to do what they do best. Although Shockers may not have the elevated overall scoring numbers of the Sooners, they have a much deeper and capable roster led by Landry Shamet (16.3 PPG, 4.3 APG) Shaquille Morris (13.3 PPG, 1.7 BPG). While the Sooners appear to have the pieces to be an explosive offense this season, they will have their work cut out for them against a Shockers program that can win both shootouts and defensive grudge matches consistently.
Final Score: Sooners 88 Shockers 94 Final Score: Wichita State -7.5


Florida Gators (22) vs. Clemson Tigers

Despite a devastating fall from grace on offense, the Gators were able to redeem what has an abysmal week as they defeated Cincinnati in a physical defensive affair 66-60. However, if the Gators want to truly get back to being elite, they have to do a much better job at hitting perimeter shots (39.7 3P%). Although the Tigers are capable of scoring themselves (79.8 PPG), they are at their best when their defense is operating efficiently (63.9 PAPG). With Donte Grantham leading the charge as the Tigers reliable rebounder (6.2 RPG) and Marcquise Reed’s dedication in forcing turnovers (1.7 SPG), Clemson has a physical one-two punch that overwhelms opposing offenses consistently. Although the Tigers are trending in the right direction, it will be extremely difficult to lock down a Gators offense that has proven to be more than capable of scoring a ton of points quickly.
Final Score: Gators 83 Tigers 70 Spread: Florida -6.0


UNC Tar Heels (7) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (20)

During their current four-game winning streak, the Tar Heels have consistently stifled their opponents defensively and have been especially deadly on offense (88.1 PPG). If Luke Maye can continue to light up the scoreboard (19.9 PPG) and attack the glass fearlessly (10.5 RPG), the rest of the Tar Heels talented roster will emulate this type of athletic tenacity as well. Although the Volunteers are not quite as prolific scoring-wise as the Tar Heels (79.4 PPG) they have made up for it with a strong passing game (19.1 APG). While the Volunteers have a patient offense and a stingy defense (65.6 PAPG), their lack of a true superstar will be to their detriment against a gifted Tar Heels program.
Final Score: Tar Heels 83 Volunteers 78 Spread: 

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Week 6, College Basketball Schedule 2017: TV Schedule & Games
Week 6, College Basketball Schedule 2017: TV Schedule & Games
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