CBB Picks: Take Iowa State, USC to cover on road in Tuesday's action

College football season is over and college basketball is now front and center for the next two months.

Even though the football season ended yesterday, I'm running with a few college programs that have been synonymous with football more than basketball.

USC, Penn State and Iowa State have been at the forefront of the football discussion for underwhelming recent performances.

On Tuesday, let's hope the three basketball programs perform up to their high standards and cover the spread.

Iowa State is my favorite pick on the board. The Cyclones continue to be undervalued by the odds makers and they got no respect on the spread for their visit to Kansas.

USC will try to keep one of Division 1's two undefeated records in tact at Stanford, while Penn State gets a favorable matchup at home.

Below is a look at each of my six picks for the Tuesday night slate.

Tuesday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 79-106-1

USC (-5.5) at Stanford (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

If this were a normal situation, I'd likely take Stanford as a home underdog.

However, the Cardinal have not played since December 23.

That is going to have an affect on Tuesday's clash with USC, who has played some great defense to keep its undefeated record in shape.

USC ranks first on KenPom in defensive effective field-goal percentage and it sits in the Top 20 of three other defensive metrics.

The Trojans give up 60.8 points per game, which is nine points fewer than Stanford concedes per contest.

Defense and on-court fitness should propel the Trojans to a decent-sized victory.

Rutgers at Penn State (-3) (6:30 p.m. ET, BTN)

Let's put the Big Ten home teams trend to a test here.

Two years ago, myself and Sean Brace exclusively bet on home teams in Big Ten games and it worked for a few weeks.

Rutgers-Penn State sets up as the classic contest for that theory. Rutgers won its last four games, all at home, and now it heads up to Happy Valley in an attempt to end its wretched road form.

The Scarlet Knights lost by double figures to Illinois and Seton Hall away from home. They also lost to UMass and DePaul in nonconference contests not in Piscataway.

Penn State beat Indiana at home on January 2 and pushed Purdue to the brink of an upset on Saturday before the Boilermakers pulled away late.

The Nittany Lions like to play games in the 60s and have Seth Lundy, Jalen Pickett or Sam Sessoms take over the contest in the second half.

Look for Penn State to follow a similar blueprint to take down Rutgers.

Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan (Over 150.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

There's something so comforting about betting a MAC over on a Tuesday night.

Eastern Michigan ranks 22nd in adjusted tempo on KenPom and Central Michigan is 39th in offensive three-point percentage.

Both teams are over .500 to the over this season and they both concede over 77 points per contest.

Central Arkansas (+11.5) at Bellarmine (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

There's always one risky play on the board.

Central Arkansas will not beat Bellarmine, but it can certainly score enough to cover.

Central Arkansas is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games. The Bears covered in three of their last four instances as a double-digit underdog.

UCA stays in contests because it plays at the 36th-best adjusted tempo in Division 1, but it isn't a particularly good shooting team. It will attempt a ton of shots and that is key here against a Bellarmine offense that averages just 69.3 points per game.

Bellarmine should win this game with its defense, but its offense might not put up the high volume of shots required to cover.

George Washington at VCU (-17) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

VCU has stayed on brand as one of the toughest defensive teams in the country.

The Rams give up 57.1 points per game and they just blew out La Salle on Saturday.

George Washington has some awful offensive metrics, including a 318th ranking on KenPom in three-point percentage.

The Colonials were just blown out by Dayton and they could suffer the same fate in Richmond on Tuesday night.

VCU is also 5-0 ATS in its last five games and 8-2 ATS in its last 10.

Iowa State (+12.5) at Kansas (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Holy respect line, Batman!

Kansas is getting all of the Allen Fieldhouse respect with this line against a really good Iowa State team.

The Cyclones were competitive with Baylor and Oklahoma in two of their last three games. The 13-point loss to Oklahoma is not indicative of how tight Iowa State kept that contest for 30 minutes.

Kansas is a very good team, but I think it is getting too many points as a home favorite against a team in the upper echelon of the Big 12.

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