The Friday college basketball slate always serves as an appetizer for the grand buffet that we get on Saturday.
There are still a handful of intriguing contests on the slate, including two Big East matchups.
The Marquette-Georgetown game has my attention more than the Xavier-Butler clash because of the advantage the Golden Eagles have in on-court time over the last few weeks.
The differences in on-court time plays into one my other picks for Friday's slate, while two more are influenced by the recent form of a pair of mid-major underdogs.
Friday CBB Picks
Overall Record: 72-93-1 (3-3 Thursday)
Marquette (-2) at Georgetown (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
Marquette has a distinct advantage over Georgetown from just being on the court in the last two weeks.
Shaka Smart's team returned to Big East play with a double-overtime loss to Creighton on New Year's Day and a blowout win over Providence on Tuesday.
Georgetown has not played since a December 18 loss to TCU and it may have had trouble dealing with Marquette's tempo even if it did not have time off.
Marquette has the better on-court fitness right now and it comes into Washington, D.C. with a good amount of confidence from its win over Providence. I'll gladly take the Golden Eagles as a short favorite.
Cornell (+4.5) at Penn (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Cornell has one of the best offenses in Division 1.
The Big Red average 85.7 points per game. That total is the fifth-highest in the country. Arizona, South Dakota State, Iowa and Purdue have higher totals than the Ivy League school.
Cornell has also been remarkable against the spread lately. It is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games. It should have a chance to win outright against a 4-10 Penn team that did not do much during nonconference play.
Purdue Fort Wayne at Youngstown State (-4.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Youngstown State's defense drives this pick for me.
The Penguins held opponents under 70 points in four of their last five victories and they limited Robert Morris to 60 points on Wednesday.
Youngstown State also gives up six fewer points per game than Purdue Fort Wayne, who ranks beneath 300th in a handful of defensive metrics on KenPom.
Milwaukee (+4.5) at Detroit Mercy (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Milwaukee is starting to find its footing in Horizon League play.
The Panthers picked up back-to-back road wins over Northern Kentucky and Green Bay and they face a Detroit Mercy team on Friday that has not played in a few weeks.
Milwaukee is 5-1 ATS in its last six games and it could push the pace against Detroit while the Titans get used to being back on the hardwood.