Thursday CBB Picks: Bet on Maryland, Illinois At Home in Big Ten Play

There's two different channels of thought when it comes to Thursday's Big Ten matchups.

One of the early contests has a very clear revenge angle for Maryland to avenge a brutal loss to Michigan at the start of league play.

Oh by the way, the Terps are also solid at home and could beat Michigan even without the revenge angle hanging over their heads.

The second contest has a very clear favorite in Illinois because it turned its season around over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Indiana is inconsistent and hard to trust.

Thursday is not just for the power-conference spotlight. There are plenty of mid-major contests on the docket and two of them feature teams that I have come to love to fade.

The card is a bit heavy tonight, but that is usually the case with so many mid-major leagues stacking games on Thursday nights.

Thursday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 57-58-1 (3-1 Wednesday)

Michigan at Maryland (-2.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Maryland has the easy revenge angle here against Michigan.

The Terrapins were blown out 81-46 by the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on New Years' Day.

In addition to the obvious angle, Maryland has been quite good at home recently.

Maryland beat Illinois and Ohio State inside the Xfinity Center and it is 8-1 straight up at home this season.

Michigan lost on the road against Michigan State and Iowa and there could be more road struggles ahead on Thursday night against a team with revenge on its mind.

The Citadel at UNC Greensboro (-13.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

The Citadel has some poor numbers on the road.

The Bulldogs lost by 20 and 25 points on their travels against Furman and Wofford in the Southern Conference. They also have double-digit road losses to North Carolina, Clemson and Butler and a seven-point road defeat to North Carolina Central.

UNC Greensboro is easily scoring in the 70s in SoCon play, where it has a 5-1 record, and its defense gives up 11 fewer points per game than The Citadel.

A bad Citadel defense combined with its rough road form make for a potentially difficult night in Greensboro.

NJIT at Bryant (-12) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Bryant averages 17 more points per game than NJIT.

The Bulldogs play at one of the fastest paces in Division I and they have a top 100 offense. NJIT ranks 313th in two-point offense.

Bryant can run NJIT off the floor and we could see a similar game to the home game against Albany on January 11, when Bryant won by 17 points at home. Albany and NJIT are both ranked below 300 on KenPom.

Youngstown State (-14.5) at Green Bay (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Green Bay is one of the worst teams in the nation.

The Phoenix rank 360th on KenPom and have a litany of double-digit losses on their resume in the Horizon League.

Youngstown State sits on the opposite end of the Horizon League standings with one of the best offenses in America.

The Penguins average 84.9 points per game, which is 25 points more than Green Bay averages per game. That is one of the most stunning offensive differences you will see this season.

Eastern Washington (-2.5) at Northern Colorado (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Eastern Washington carries an eight-game winning streak and a 6-0 Big Sky record into Northern Colorado.

The Eagles have an average margin of victory of 8.8 points in their six Big Sky games.

Northern Colorado is 1-5 in league play and it is a stunning 1-6 inside its home arena.

I'll gladly run with the team in better form and the one I can trust to pull out a close game if possible.

Robert Morris at Milwaukee (-4.5) (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

There's a huge disparity in three-point percentages between Robert Morris and Milwaukee that catches my attention.

Milwaukee is 90th in three-point offense, while Robert Morris is 348th in three-point defense. Robert Morris also scores nine fewer points per game than Milwaukee.

Milwaukee has been in the 70s in six of its eight Horizon League games. The scoring consistency is the key element here for the Panthers to cover.

Indiana at Illinois (-6.5) (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

Illinois has found something over the last two weeks.

The Fighting Illini are on a four-game Big Ten winning streak in which they scored over 75 points in every contest and held every opponent under 70 points. Illinois' average margin of victory during that run is 15.7 points.

Indiana has been hot and cold. The Hoosiers had a three-game losing run in which they allowed over 80 points in each game and then they held Wisconsin to 45 points in an 18-point win on Saturday.

Illinois has been more trustworthy of late and it seems harder to trust Indiana as an underdog despite the turnaround win over Wisconsin.

Cal State Northridge at UC Santa Barbara (-16.5) (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Someone needs to fire the Big West schedule makers for dealing Cal State Northridge its hand this week.

CSUN lost at home to UC Irvine on Saturday, then it had to travel to Hawai'i to lose on Monday and now it is back on the mainland in Santa Barbara on Thursday.

The awful travel schedule, plus CSUN just being straight awful, makes it an easy team to fade.

UC Santa Barbara has held every Big West opponent to 65 points or fewer and it shoots eight more percent from the field than CSUN. That will make a difference with CSUN likely playing with heavy legs.

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