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Our expert hoops handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives his best picks for today's college games

#11 Michigan State was upset on the road on Thursday night falling to Indiana 67-63.

On Friday, Purdue hosts Wisconsin in a Big Ten battle and Monmouth clashes with Niagara for matchup between first place teams in the MAAC standings.

Here’s a look at today’s NCAA games:


Marquette Golden Eagles @ #13 Butler Bulldogs (-5.5), 9:00 PM:

  • Butler has won 10 of the last 11 games at home.
  • The Bulldogs have a 4414 W/L record at home following a loss since 2011-12. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

#13 Butler (15-4) continued to slump and dropped a third straight game after falling at #9 Villanova 76-61.

The Wildcats attacked the Bulldog defense and constantly got the Bulldogs in foul trouble. Butler was outscored at the free-throw line 21-4. Team-leading scorer Kamar Baldwin did just that, scoring a game-high 21 points.

Marquette (14-5) has found a groove having won a third consecutive game, taking down St. John’s 82-68.

The nation’s leading scorer Markus Howard led the charge by scoring a game-high 32 points with six rebounds and four assists. Howard averages a Division I best (28.4 ppg).

Both Butler and Marquette sit amongst the middle of the pack in the Big East standings. Although trending in different directions, the Bulldogs defense matches up perfectly for a free-shooting Marquette team with the nation’s best scorer. Butler ranks fifth best in the nation allowing only (58.1 ppg).

I’m giving the advantage to the home team and the better defense. Take Butler to cover (-5.5).

1u - Butler (-5.5) @ -111

Wisconsin Badgers (+4) @ Purdue Boilermakers, 7:00 PM:

  • Purdue and Wisconsin have split each of the last 12 matchups (66) since 2011-12.  Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

Wisconsin (12-7) pulled away in the second half and got back on track at home defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers 82-68.

Four different Badgers scored in double figures including D’Mitrik Trice who totaled a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Brad Davison added a team-high 14 points and six rebounds.

The Purdue Boilermakers (10-5) dropped a second straight game after losing at home to #21 Illinois 79-62. Purdue won the first half but were outscored by 18 points in the second half and lost for the fourth time in the last five games.

Nojel Eastern had a team-high 14 points and five rebounds, and Matt Haarms added 10 points and six rebounds.

My expectation is a hard-fought nail-biting matchup between two similar teams. Both teams rank amongst the Top 20 in defense, with the Badgers ranked 17th allowing (60.6 ppg) and the Boilermakers ranked 14th allowing (60.5 ppg).

Although Purdue has a solid track record at home, after seeing them slip up against Illinois on their home court I like the better balance of the Badgers to cover getting the points.

1u - Wisconsin Badgers (+4) @ -110

Niagara Purple Eagles @ Monmouth Hawks (-8), 7:00 PM:

  • Monmouth has won each of the last 17 home games following a road win. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

Two of the top three teams in the MAAC Standings - Monmouth and Niagara - meet with early-season seeding and bragging rights on the line.

Monmouth (10-7) shot lights out over 60 percent from three-point range and outdueled Manhattan 65-58.

Juniors Ray Salnave and Deion Hammond both contributed 16 points; Salnave had eight rebounds, five assists and two steals while Hammond shot 7-of-12 from the field.

Niagara (6-11) overcame a six-point halftime deficit and edged out a third straight win, taking down the Siena Saints 72-71.

The Purple Eagles were efficient shooting 50 percent from both the field and three-point range. Greg Kuakumensah came off the bench and scored a game-high 17 points and Raheem Solomon added 16 points with six rebounds.

Monmouth has owned this matchup over Niagara since 2011-12 with a 10-3 W/L advantage. The Hawks have the better overall team and I expect them to easily cover (-7.5).

1u - Monmouth Hawks (-7.5) @ -110

By Stephen Rodriguez

Article Author


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