With College Football bearing down on the national championship game next week, college basketball is really heating up. My 5 Star Lock Picks for the week involves conference teams battling each other. All of the games take place on Saturday. #4 Virginia travels to Atlanta to battle Georgia Tech at 2:00 pm on Jan. 9. An hour later, Baylor and Iowa State, both ranked and in the Big 12, the top college hoops conference this season, tip-it off at Iowa State. The final game in my 5 Star Lock Picks article has Pac 12 behemoth Arizona taking on USC in Los Angeles.
A Closer Look At My College Basketball 5 Star Lock Picks Jan 4-10th
#4 Virginia at Georgia Tech
When: Saturday, Jan. 9 at 2:00 pm ET
Analysis: Virginia has been as good as any team in college hoops this season. The Cavaliers are a slightly different team than they were last season. The defense isn’t as good as it was in 2014-2015. Opponents shoot at a higher percentage against the Cavs from the three-point line, 34.3%. Opponents average more points per game against Virginia than it did last season, 60.4 per game.
But Virginia is scoring more. The Cavaliers are a much better offensive team this season than they were last season. Virginia averages 75.1 points per game while shooting an awesome 50% from the field and a close to incredible 40% from behind the three-point line. Georgia Tech’s defense allows close to 70 points from over 43% shooting from the field. When the Yellow Jackets played Virginia last season, they lost 28 to 57. It won’t be that bad, but it will be bad enough for the Jackets to cover the spread.
#25 Baylor at #14 Iowa State
When: Saturday, Jan. 9 at 3:00 pm ET
Analysis: Baylor travels to Iowa State to take on the Cyclones. This should be an incredibly entertaining game. Baylor has a decent defense, 66 points per game allowed off of 41.6% shooting from the field. But the Bears can’t help themselves. When other teams are running, the Bears try to run as well. It didn’t help against Kansas on Jan. 2 in the 74 to 104 Baylor loss where the Jayhawks shot 53.7% from the field and 57.9% from behind the three-point line.
Iowa State likes to run and gun more than Kansas. The Cyclones average an awesome 85.8 points per game off of 50.9% from the field and 35.9% from behind the arc. Iowa State won’t beat Baylor by 30 but they could easily beat the Bears by close to 20 in this.
Pick: Iowa State
#6 Arizona at USC
When: Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 pm ET
Analysis: The Arizona Wildcats have their yearly visit to SoCal this week. They play UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 7 before taking on USC on Jan. 9. The Wildcats are a terrific 2 and 0 ATS in their away games this season. Arizona has awesome balance. In their last game, a 94 to 82 win over ASU, every single player in the starting 5 scored in double-digits.
But USC has been a revelation this season. The Trojans are a more than respectable 12 and 3. 2 out of their 3 losses are legit as the Trojans dropped a game to Xavier, one of the top teams in the nation, and one to Washington. The loss to Washington was on the road. This is college hoops where upsets occur all of the time. USC could beat Arizona this season because the Wildcats defense just isn’t as good in 2015-2016 as it was in 2014-2015