CBB Picks: Trust Paolo Banchero, Duke in ACC-Big Ten Challenge


The Duke Blue Devils are the best team in men's college basketball.

Duke drove that point home on Friday with a win in Las Vegas over Gonzaga.

Mike Krzyzewski's team ascended to the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 with that victory and it has a chance to add another quality win on Tuesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Ohio State is a solid team in its own right and the odds makers respect that, but Duke is on a whole other level right now with Paolo Banchero and Co. scoring at will.

Duke is only a two-point favorite on the road and I'm willing to run with it until the team shows any flaws.

Tuesday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 34-42

Minnesota (-2.5) at Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU) 

I will not get fooled by Pittsburgh again. 

The Panthers are one of the worst power-conference teams with home losses to The Citadel and UMBC. 

Minnesota is off to a 5-0 start and it could use a nice out-of-conference win to gain more confidence. 

The key for the Golden Gophers has been three-point defense. They rank second on KenPom in defensive three-point percentage. Pitt ranks 309th in offensive three-point percentage. 

Pitt could go down as one of the worst teams in the country by season’s end. 

Davidson (-4.5) at Charlotte (7 p.m. ET) 

Davidson is better in almost every offensive stat category than Charlotte. 

Davidson averages five more points, one more rebound and 2.2 assists more per game than the 49ers. 

The Wildcats are 23rd on KenPom in effective field-goal percentage and seventh in three-point percentage. 

Charlotte is coming off back-to-back double-digit losses to Toledo and Drexel and ranks near the bottom of D1 in defensive two-point percentage. 

Howard (+4.5) at Mount Saint Mary’s (7 p.m. ET) 

Howard is a much better offensive team than Mount Saint Mary’s.

The Bison average 82 points per game and they are one of 25 teams that shoot 40 percent or better from three-point range. 

Mount Saint Mary’s ranks 351st in three-point defense on KenPom and has plenty of atrocious offensive metrics. 

Give me the team that has proved it can shoot the ball better. 

Florida State at Purdue (Over 142.5) (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) 

Purdue has been one of the best teams in the country through three weeks. 

The Boilermakers are scoring 90 points on a regular basis and they have victories over North Carolina and Villanova.

Matt Painter’s team ranks in the top five in five offensive metrics on KenPom. 

Florida State has flown under the radar since its double-digit defeat at the hands of Florida. The Seminoles reeled off four straight wins and they eclipsed the 70-point mark in the last three contests. 

The 11-point spread indicates that Purdue will have its way inside Mackey Arena, but I think Florida State is being undervalued in this matchup. I think the Noles keep the game close and try to keep pace with Purdue’s offensive output. 

Saint Louis (+3) at Boise State (9 p.m. ET) 

Saint Louis-Boise State is a sneaky good mid-major game tucked into a schedule dominated by the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. 

The Billikens are making the case to be the No. 2 team in the Atlantic 10 behind St. Bonaventure. They are 6-1, but they do not have a marquee win yet. 

Boise State is coming off a brutal 46-39 loss to CSU Bakersfield on Friday. The Broncos win their games with strong defense, so when the offense struggles, it can be an awful sight. 

Saint Louis averages 88.4 PPG compared to Boise’s 61.3. If the Billikens keep the game at their tempo, they could earn a massive road win for their resume. 

Duke (-2) at Ohio State (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) 

Duke is a small favorite because Ohio State is a solid team and this is a true road game for the Blue Devils. 

It is hard to pass up the Blue Devils on such a small line after what they have done to start the season. 

Paolo Banchero is near impossible to stop. Wendell Moore, Trevor Keels and Mark Williams have been terrific in supporting roles. 

I can understand betting Ohio State in a potential letdown spot for Duke, but there’s no way I’m betting against the Blue Devils until they prove they are vulnerable.


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