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College Basketball Picks: Our Saturday Pick & Roll, Including UCLA vs. Arizona & Colorado State vs. Wyoming

College Basketball Picks: Our Saturday Pick & Roll, Including UCLA vs. Arizona & Colorado State vs. Wyoming article feature image
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Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Stevens (Colorado State)

  • Another big college basketball Saturday means another pick and roll from Tanner McGrath and Mike Calabrese.
  • Tanner McGrath and Mike Calabrese broke down their top bets for the day, including UCLA vs. Arizona and Colorado State vs. Wyoming.
  • Check out all four of their top picks for Saturday's college hoops games below.

It’s wild to think we’re through nine weeks of college basketball. The CFP National Championship has been decided, and we’re only a few weeks away from the Super Bowl.

March will be here before we know it.

Through this time, the two-man pick-and-roll team of Tanner McGrath and Mike Calabrese have hunted down the best Saturday college basketball wagers week-in and week-out. 35 picks in, and the team is hitting at a 60% clip (21-14).

The 10th college basketball Saturday of the season has come around, and the two-man team has four more picks coming your way.

As always, we have an excellent mix of high-major, mid-major and low-major basketball to sample from.

Read on for this week’s edition of the pick-and-roll.



McGrath’s Top 2 Saturday Picks

UCLA vs. Arizona

Saturday, Jan. 21
2 p.m. ET
ABC

It’s probably about time for UCLA to lose. The Bruins have pulled off 14 straight wins.

We get it, Mick Cronin. You guys are really good.

But the Bruins looked shaky in their last matchup vs. Arizona State. The Sun Devils were up five at the break and held that lead until the final 10 minutes. They then suffered an epic collapse at the hands of Tyger Campbell’s mid-range jumpers.

Campbell scored a season-high 22 points, shooting 7-for-10 from 2-point range.

This is a perfect time for a letdown. And a perfect time for a letdown against an Arizona team that may have found its rhythm against USC.

The Trojans are the perfect defense to stop Arizona, with enough length and athleticism on the interior to contain the Wildcats’ “fast-and-tall” offense.

Yet, the Wildcats shot 12-for-24 from 3 and cruised to a 15-point victory. Courtney Ramey looked great and Kerr Kriisa avoided injury and dished out eight assists.

Finally.

The pathetic start in conference play was mostly due to cold shooting, including 26.1% from deep. But ShotQuality projects Arizona for monstrous amounts of positive shooting regression in league play, and that regression started on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, ShotQuality projects UCLA for plenty of negative shooting regression, especially in Pac-12 play. The Bruins’ 8-0 league start hasn’t been without a bit of luck, specifically from opposing offenses failing to make shots.

I feel pretty good about the Wildcats getting a win here after unkinking themselves against USC.

Meanwhile, I feel equally good about the Bruins finally dropping a Pac-12 game in a hostile environment.

Factor in the shooting regression on both sides of the ball, and ShotQuality’s model projects Arizona as a four-point home favorite here.

Arizona will win outright at home, so I’ll take whatever short line I can get and play it down to a PK.

Pick: Arizona +1 (Play to PK)

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.


Texas Tech vs. Kansas State

Saturday, Jan. 21
2 p.m. ET
ESPN2

Oh, well. I’m going back to the well and trying to find a winner out of Texas Tech.

We might not be able to count on the Red Raiders to win a game, but we should be able to count on them to keep it close.

During this horrendous 0-6 start to Big 12 play, the Red Raiders have suffered:

  • A six-point loss at TCU
  • A three-point loss vs. Kansas
  • A five-point overtime loss vs. Oklahoma
  • A two-point loss at Texas
  • A seven-point loss vs. Baylor

Basic rules of regression suggest some of these results have to flip eventually. But I’m fine banking on the Red Raiders to keep it within two possessions against Kansas State.

That’s especially the case because Fardaws Aimaq and Daniel Batcho are both finally healthy. The former has a special place in my heart as a Canadian/Vancouverite, and we love the nickname “Big Maple” here at TAN.

Anecdotes aside, the Batcho-Aimaq duo makes a monstrous difference for the Red Raiders’ two-way interior presence.

That should prove big against a Kansas State team with very little two-way interior presence.

And talk about a letdown spot for Kansas State.

The Wildcats are coming off their biggest win in a decade, a one-point overtime victory at the Octagon against rival Kansas.

And talk about a sandwich spot for Kansas State, as it hosts the 0-6 Red Raiders with a road showdown against 5-1 Iowa State on Tuesday.

Given the interior matchup and the situational spot, Texas Tech should probably get its first outright win here. And as long as they don’t throw the ball away, I feel good about the Red Raiders covering six.

For what it’s worth, the ShotQualityBets model projects Texas Tech as a whopping five-point favorite when factoring in regression.

That’s good value to me.

Pick: Texas Tech +6 (Play to +5)


Calabrese’s Top 2 Saturday Picks

Towson vs. Elon

Saturday, Jan. 21
4 p.m. ET
FloHoops

There’s nothing better than a non-public team providing a reliable trend to steer into.

The Towson Tigers have been a bettor’s best friend when they take their show on the road, and that has been the case for well over a year.

They are the third-most profitable mid-major ATS team on the road since the beginning of last season, cashing tickets at a 70.8% clip.

Earlier this week, Towson traveled to take on North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. As a 6.5-point favorite, Towson played one of its best games offensively of the entire season, coasting to a 12-point victory.

Knocking off the 265th-ranked team in KenPom by double-digits didn’t catch the attention of bettors or oddsmakers because the Tigers are still single-digit favorites against Elon.

This is the same Elon team that is in the running to be the very worst college basketball squad in 2023.

At 2-17, the Phoenix have plummeted to 347th in KenPom, and as you might expect, they don’t do anything well. They can’t shoot the basketball (Shooting Efficiency: 331st), they are woeful on the glass (330th DReb, 329th OReb) and despite huge spreads, they are 1-4 ATS at home this season.

Towson has choked the life out of good offensive teams, holding the likes of Hofstra and Bryant to 47 and 59, respectively, in recent weeks.

But the real reason I love this team — particularly on the road — is that it can weather an uneven shooting night because of its offensive rebounding prowess.

Towson is the 15th-ranked offensive rebounding team in the nation and the very best in the CAA. The Tigers will go for at least 15 offensive boards in this game, assuming they don’t shoot the lights out.

I also really like what Towson has done sliding Cam Holden into a sixth-man role. The senior wing has averaged close to 14 points and seven rebounds across the last two seasons, but gives them quality scoring punch off the bench.

I foresee another 75+ point performance for the Tigers against a sinking ship led by a journeyman head coach with a career losing record (Billy Taylor .488).

This game is so far down the board you may need to click “extra games” on your sports betting app, but it’ll be worth it when Elon raises the white flag early in the second half.


Colorado State vs. Wyoming

Saturday, Jan. 21
4 p.m. ET
FS1

The Dome of Doom — as Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium is known as — has produced some strange outcomes over the years. Since it opened its doors in 2003, Wyoming has been the third-most profitable home dog in the Mountain West Conference.

At 7,165 feet, the Pokes play at the highest elevation in all of college basketball. That naturally leaves opponents gassed.

But it really helps if you have some good players to pair with that home court advantage.

Last season, Wyoming had just that. Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike were a fearsome duo, pairing up for a combined 30 points and 11 rebounds per game.

But even with a lethal tandem that secured the Cowboys an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament, oddsmakers were able to neutralize their home court advantage all season long by baking in inflated spreads.

The result was a mediocre 6-6-2 finish ATS at the Dome of Dome.

This season, the wheels have fallen off the Cowboys’ bandwagon due to the loss of Ike and the uneven play of Maldonado.

The senior, Maldonado, has experienced a major drop off in production and shooting from the field. As a result, the Pokes are just 5-13 straight up (last in the MWC) and 5-11-1 at the window.

Colorado State has won three of its last four in Laramie, with its lone loss coming in overtime last season. Niko Medved is one of the best mid-major coaches in all of college basketball, and he’s seemingly figured out how to get the best of the Pokes on their home floor.

This season, the Rams feel as though they are on the verge of putting it all together. They beat a quality Saint Mary’s team on the road (8th in KenPom) and just took San Diego State to overtime earlier this week.

Isaiah Stevens is playing at an extremely high level, averaging a line of 18.6/6.6/3.4 while flirting with accuracy figures approaching the prestigious line of 50-40-90.

And despite his increased usage, he still sports an impressive 3.66:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (3rd).

My power rankings called for this to be Colorado State-5, making it one of the biggest discrepancies on the board on Saturday.

This projection is banking on Maldonado returning from illness. If he doesn’t, I would play this game all the way up to CSU -7.


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