Tuesday College Basketball Best Bets: Our Top 5 Picks, Including Gonzaga vs. UCLA (Nov. 23)
Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images
- College basketball's "Feast Week" rolls on with fantastic matchups across the entire college basketball slate for Tuesday, Nov. 23.
- Our betting staff highlights their top 5 Tuesday college basketball picks, beginning with Wisconsin vs. Houston (-6.5) at 5 p.m. ET all the way through No. 1 Gonzaga (-6.5) vs. No. 2 UCLA at 10:30 p.m. ET.
- Check out all 5 of our best bets below, including updated odds and our predictions for each game.
Beyond the conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament itself, Feast Week might be the most entertaining and compelling time to bet on college basketball.
With games from noon to beyond midnight every day, there is always action and value to find.
Our staff isn’t just eyeing No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA on Tuesday, as we also have four other games to provide our best bets on.
Five games. Five top selections. It’s all below.
Tuesday’s College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Wisconsin vs. #12 Houston
Houston will match up with Wisconsin in the semifinal round of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday evening. Both teams had convincing wins in the opening round and entered the tournament with a strong start so far this year.
However, Houston is operating on a different level, and I expect that to continue in this game.
Wisconsin has been one of the best defenses in the country, ranking 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency. But Houston has been better, ranking third, per KenPom.
Wisconsin has also benefited from playing at one of the slowest paces in the country, though, the Cougars have no problem playing slow too — 334th in tempo to the Badgers’ 305th.
The Cougars’ biggest advantage will be on offense, as they are shooting an effective FG% of 54.1%, far ahead of Wisconsin, which comes in at just 44.2%.
Houston shoots the ball better from 3-point and 2-point range. It leads the Badgers in nearly every offensive category while also having by far the best player on the floor in Marcus Sasser.
This spread opened at -4.5 before making its way up to -6.5, which I was able to bet it at this morning. I still expect it to climb even higher. I would be on the Cougars as high as an eight-point favorite in a game I won’t be surprised if they win by 10 or more.
Pick: Houston -6.5 (Play to -8)
SFA vs. Buffalo
Stephen F. Austin (3-1) will face off against the University of Buffalo (2-1) to kick off the south of the border portion of the Cancun Challenge.
This is the second game of the tournament for both teams.
Buffalo was able to put away Rider at home on Saturday, winning 87-65. SFA was victorious against Middle Tennessee in Nacogdoches, beating the Blue Raiders, 87-74.
Senior guards Gavin Kensmil, David Kachelries and Roti Ware anchor the backcourt for the Lumberjacks. The trio leads the team in scoring, having contributed 51.2% of the squad’s points this season. The three veterans will be relied upon heavily tonight against the Bulls.
Kensmil is dynamite from the field, making 65.9% of his shots. Kensmil shot better than 60% from the field in the last two seasons. He is averaging 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game so far this year, both team highs.
Kachelries has been off to a solid start in 2021-22, as well. He contributed a team-high 19 points in the recent victory over MTSU. He leads the team in assists so far and is averaging 11.5 points per game.
The frontcourt for the ‘Jacks grabs lots of offensive rebounds, pulling them down on 37.8% of plays (25th in nation).
From beyond the arc, SFA is making 37.8% of its 3s, which ranks 72nd in the country. This is an improvement in make percentage and attempts from last season.
Defensively, the Lumberjacks have been strong with an adjusted defensive efficiency of 97.9, which is the same as Buffalo’s AdjD. SFA stands out in defensive turnover ratio, forcing turnovers on 25.5% of possessions. This ranks 27th in the nation.
Stephen F. Austin has the offensive capability to win this game outright. Defensively, the Lumberjacks will be able to cause havoc for the Bulls by forcing turnovers and controlling the glass.
Look for SFA’s backcourt to be the differentiator in this game. Take the points in Cancun.
Pick: Stephen F. Austin +5
#14 Illinois vs. Kansas State
By D.J. James
Illinois has yet to put forth a solid performance against a Power-6 opponent. The Illini have turned the ball over an inordinate amount (25.1% of the time) and that does not look like it will stop any time soon.
Kansas State has a top-70 defensive efficiency. This is somewhat similar to the two teams Illinois has struggled with (Cincinnati and Marquette). Until proven otherwise, expect more of the same in the game Tuesday night.
Now, Illinois will probably win, but 11 points is simply too wide of a spread. Trent Frazier did not score at all against Cincy. Da’Monte Williams has not shot like he did in 2020-2021. The Illini look timid — compared to expectation — and the ball cannot only go to Andre Curbelo or Kofi Cockburn.
KSU is pretty guard-heavy, so rebounding could be an issue against Cockburn. The Wildcats still pulled 41 down vs. Arkansas, though, so they should be ok.
The Illini defense is one of the only good things Illinois has going for it, so KSU might turn the ball over. Still, if both teams are sloppy, that would virtually wipe out those issues.
Frankly, Illinois has not shown it is even a top-25 team yet. A double-digit spread against a strong defensive opponent is overstated.
Take KSU with the points.
Pick: Kansas State +11 (Play to +9)
Fordham vs. Delaware
By Mike Randle
Fordham is coming off of a shocking 63-43 win over Akron in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase. I’m projecting the Rams to suffer a letdown against an experienced and talented Delaware squad.
The Blue Hens return all five starters from last year’s team, including a pair of elite scorers in seniors Ryan Allen (19.7 PPG, 40% 3P) and Dylan Painter (17.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG). They already have an impressive 83-63 true road win at Siena and defeated Appalachian State 75-68 in the opening round.
Delaware is elite on offense, shooting 58% from inside the arc and a fantastic 81.8% from the free throw line. The Rams rely on their defense to keep games close and they have been the beneficiary of incredible luck, with opponents shooting just 59.8% from the free throw line.
Delaware’s offense will be too much for Fordham to handle and I don’t see the Rams being able to take advantage of the vulnerable 3-point line against the Blue Hens’ defense.
I grabbed this line at the opening number of five and I would bet it up to Delaware -6.5.
Pick: Delaware -5 (Play to -6.5)
#1 Gonzaga vs. #2 UCLA
The top two teams, according to the AP Poll, match up in the Good Sam Empire Classic in Las Vegas, as the Gonzaga Bulldogs face the UCLA Bruins.
Not that anyone needs a reminder, but this is a rematch of the epic Final Four matchup from last year’s NCAA Tournament that ended with a Zags win, 93-90.
JALEN SUGGS BUZZER-BEATER ‼️
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) April 4, 2021
What makes this rematch so intriguing is that UCLA brings back nearly everyone who played in that game last year.
Gonzaga returns the favorite to win the National Player of the Year in Drew Timme, along with senior point guard Andrew Nembhard, who was a five-star recruit. The Bulldogs are still loaded with a ridiculous amount of talent, including the top freshman recruit in Chet Holmgren.
Both teams are offensive juggernauts in the college basketball landscape.
Gonzaga is averaging 93.2 points per game this season, with four players averaging double digits. The Zags own the No. 1 ranking in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and are hitting 66.8% of their 2-point attempts.
UCLA is averaging 90.8 points per game this season and has four starters averaging double digits. The Bruins rank seventh in the nation in offensive efficiency and have hit 40% of their 3-point attempts.
Both teams take care of the basketball and have been mediocre defensively. Gonzaga allowed Texas to convert on 45% of its field goal attempts and 38% from outside. UCLA has allowed its opponents to hit nearly 50% of its field goals, while ranking 304th in defending the 3-point shot.
This game will surely follow the blueprint of the historic Final Four matchup and should be played at a blistering pace.
As if this game didn’t have enough hype already, the voice of college basketball, Dick Vitale, announced on Twitter that he will be calling the game after being diagnosed with cancer on October 12th.
That will be a bonus to an already electric environment in Las Vegas.
I’m personally looking forward to hearing “THIS IS AWESOME, BABY!!!” late in the second half.