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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez brings us his picks for a Thursday full of top-tier college basketball matchups

BET OF THE DAY: (2u) Iowa Hawkeyes -2.5 @ -110

#25 Ohio State @ #20 Iowa Hawkeyes, 7:00 PM:

  • The home team has won six of the last seven meetings between these teams.
  • Iowa has won 11 straight home games. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Iowa

#20 Iowa (18-8) overcame a slow start and got back on track on the road by edging out Minnesota 58-54.

Junior Luka Garza led the way for the Hawkeyes as usual, scoring a game-high 24 points with eight rebounds, two steals and a block.

#25 Ohio State (17-8) worked their way back into the Top-25 behind a second straight victory, and a fifth win over the last six games, defeating Purdue 68-52 at home.

Juniors Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson led the way for the Buckeyes. Young had a team-high 16 points while Wesson got the job done on both ends of the floor with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Home teams in the Big Ten have been nearly impossible to take down this season with 12 teams in conference totaling 10 or more home wins, and Iowa is no different with a (12-1) home record. Meanwhile, Ohio State has been just as good at home but will head on the road where they are 3-5 on the season. Look for home court advantage to play a significant factor as Iowa covers.

1u - USC Trojans (+9.5) @ -110

USC Trojans @ Colorado Buffaloes, 9:00 PM:

  • USC has the best ATS record in the PAC-12 at (16-10). Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing USC

USC (19-7) picked up a second straight win by taking down Washington State 70-51 at home. The Trojans were spot on from three-point range, shooting 50 per cent and over 45 per cent from the field.

Senior Daniel Utomi led the way by knocking down five three-pointers with a team-high 23 points. Freshman Ethan Anderson added 12 points with a team-high five assists.

#18 Colorado (20-6) got back on track in a big way on the road, blowing out Oregon State 69-47. The Buffaloes defense was lights out allowing six per cent shooting from three-point range (1-of-17), and 33 per cent from the field.

Juniors Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV led the way, both posting double-doubles. Bey scored a team-high 21 points with 15 rebounds, and Wright IV totaled 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

These teams met nearly three weeks ago and it resulted in one of USC’s ugliest losses of the season, with Colorado winning by 21 points. The Trojans’ last three home losses have been decided by nine points or fewer, and being motivated to prove something, I like USC to keep it close on the road. 

(1u) Oregon Ducks -1 @ -110

#14 Oregon Ducks @ Arizona State Sun Devils, 9:00 PM:

  • Oregon has won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Arizona State.
  • The Ducks have the third best ATS record in the PAC12 at (15-11). Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Oregon

#14 Oregon (20-6) is on a roll having won a second straight game in a 80-62 blowout victory over the Utah Utes. The Ducks were lights out, shooting over 50 per cent from the field and three-point range.

Senior Payton Pritchard led the way by knocking down five-of-nine three-point attempts for a game-high 24 points. Sophomore Will Richardson added 18 points, six rebounds and six assists while making all four of his three-point attempts.

Arizona State (17-8) have found a groove picking up a fifth straight win after defeating California on the road 80-75.

Team-leading scorer Remy Martin did just that by scoring a game-high 22 points with five assists on 7-of-10 shooting. Fellow juniors Alonzo Verge Jr. added 22 points off the bench, and Romello White totaled a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

These teams met over a month ago in Oregon where the Ducks led nearly wire-to-wire, and defeated the Sun Devils 78-69. In that game, Pritchard and Martin matched each other with 29 points, yet for Arizona State the supporting cast wasn’t enough to keep up as only one other Sun Devil scored in double figures. I’m anticipating a similar outcome this time around, so take Oregon to cover.

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