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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives us his top college basketball picks to make it a profitable Saturday

PICK OF THE DAY: (2u) Hawkeyes -4 @ -110

#16 Penn State Nittany Lions @ #18 Iowa Hawkeyes,12:00 PM:

  • Iowa has won 12 consecutive home games.
  • The Hawkeyes have the best ATS record in the Big Ten at (178-3). Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Iowa.

#18 Iowa (19-9) saw a six-point halftime lead slip away and snapped a two-game winning streak after falling on the road to #24 Michigan State 78-70.

Junior Luka Garza continued to power the Hawkeyes’ offense and nearly posted a double-double by scoring 20 points with nine rebounds and three assists.

The Nittany Lions, on the other hand, got back on track and snapped a two-game losing streak as #16 Penn State (21-7) edged out Rutgers 65-64.

The Scarlet Knights rallied back to outscore Penn State by 17 in the second half but it was not quite enough. Sophomore Izaiah Brockington came off the bench and contributed a team-high 16 points with five rebounds on five-of-six shooting. Fellow sophomore Myles Dread added 11 points, seven assists and two steals.

These teams met in Pennsylvania back in early January which resulted in Nittany Lions edging out the Hawkeyes 89-86. My expectation is a very similar matchup that will be decided in the final minutes of the game.

Iowa’s success at home and ATS gives me confidence they’ll be able to pull out the cover.

1u - Maryland Terrapins (-3) @ -110

#24 Michigan State Spartans @ #9 Maryland Terrapins, 7:00 PM:

  • Michigan State has the second worst ATS record in the Big Ten at (1216).
  • Maryland has won 23 of the last 24 games at home.

The reason we’re backing Maryland.

#9 Maryland (23-5) got back on track and won for the ninth time in the last 10 games, outlasting Minnesota on the road 74-73. The Terrapins battled back from a 16-point halftime deficit despite a rough outing, shooting 21 percent from three-point range and 38 percent from the field.

Sophomore Jalen Smith did most of the heavy lifting as he posted a double-double with a team-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Aaron Wiggins added 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Senior Anthony Cowan Jr. filled up the stat sheet by scoring 10 points with nine assists, six rebounds and three steals.

#24 Michigan State (19-9) rallied back to outscore Iowa by 14 points in the second half, and won a second straight game, edging out the Hawkeyes 78-70. The Spartans were on point, shooting 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.

Michigan State’s offense was powered by three players - Aaron Henry, Rocket Watts and Cassius Winston. Watts led the way with 21 points while Winston contributed 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Henry added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Maryland pulled off the road upset over Michigan State two weeks ago 67-60. Cowan Jr. played big in the matchup with 24 points, and he’ll need to lead the team again if the Terrapins want to win. Yet I feel strongly that Maryland will get the job done at home and clinch the Big Ten title.

1u - Auburn Tigers (+6) @ -110

#15 Auburn Tigers @ #8 Kentucky Wildcats, 3:45 PM:

  • Auburn has won three of the last five meetings with Kentucky.

The reason we’re backing Auburn.

#8 Kentucky (23-5) picked up a seventh consecutive win and covered on the road by taking down Texas A&M 69-60. The Wildcats were spot on shooting over 50 percent from the field and three-point range.

Sophomore Immanuel Quickley went off knocking down eight three-pointers and 11-of-19 from the field for a career-high 30 points and five rebounds.

#15 Auburn (24-4) rattled off a second win in a row by defeating Ole Miss 67-58. The Tigers used a balanced scoring attack to shoot 47 percent from the field.

Seniors Austin Wiley and Samir Doughty carried the team - Wiley totaled a double-double with a team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds while Doughty added 14 points, four assists and three rebounds.

When these teams met in Auburn back in the beginning of February the Tigers pulled away in the second half and outlasted the Wildcats 75-66. Kentucky will be looking to clinch the SEC regular-season title with a win over Auburn who sits two games out.

My expectation is another tightly contested back-and-forth matchup with the spread being more than enough for Auburn to cover.

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