Men’s College Basketball is starting to heat up, which means that my NCAA Hoops Best Bets of the Week will start heating up as well! The first game to key in on takes place this Thursday when No. 6 ranked Xavier travels to Philadelphia to take on No. 17 ranked Villanova. The second best of the week takes place on Saturday, Jan. 2, when Syracuse battles No. 16 Miami Florida. Also on Saturday is a huge Big 12 matchup between No. 9 Iowa State and No. 2 Oklahoma.
A Closer Look At My New Year’s Week College Basketball Best Bets
No. 6 Xavier at No. 17 Villanova
When: Thursday, Dec. 31
Xavier is for real. The 12 and 0 Musketeers are also 9 and 3 against the spread to start the week. They average a terrific 81.4 points per game from 45% shooting. They shoot 36.5% from the three-point line. Xavier’s defense holds opponents to less than 40% from the field and less than 64 points per game. But, Xavier hasn’t faced a team close to being as good as Villanova yet this season. The Wildcats are a very good team with their only losses on the season being to No. 2 ranked Oklahoma and No. 5 ranked Virginia. Unfortunately for the fans in Philly, Xavier has a huge advantage from behind the three-point line in this matchup. Villanova shoots less than 32% from behind the arc. That’s just not going to cut it against Xavier.
Syracuse at No. 16 Miami FL
When: Saturday, Jan. 2
Miami has an excellent 10 and 1 straight up record and an equally impressive 8 and 2 ATS record to start the week. Huge wins against Utah and Butler, by huge I mean beating Utah 90 to 66 on the road; have been the highlights for the Canes. Syracuse is no slouch of a team, but the Orange is going to find it tough to keep Miami’s offense under wraps in this. The Hurricanes average 86 points per game from over 50% shooting from the field and close to 42% shooting from the three-point line. Miami should run away with it.
No. 9 Iowa State at No. 2 Oklahoma
When: Saturday, Jan. 2
Both of these teams have excellent offenses. Iowa State averages 84.5 points from 50.4% shooting from the field and 35.7% shooting from the three-point line. Oklahoma’s offense averages 87 points per game from 48.7% shooting from the field and 46.2% shooting from the three-point line. The key will be each team’s defense. Oklahoma’s D holds opponents to 66.1 points per game from 35.7% shooting from the field and 28.1% shooting from the arc. Iowa State’s defense is predicated on rebounds and outlet passes. It gives up 70 points per game and allows a just okay 42% from the field. If the Cyclones want to run, the Sooners will oblige. That gives the edge to Oklahoma.