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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks December 6

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published December 6, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today December 6

Only one day after we were gifted two incredible Top 25 matchups, featuring Florida Atlantic versus Illinois and North Carolina versus UConn, we get another electric battle: No. 12 Texas versus No. 8 Marquette. The Golden Eagles’ head coach, Shaka Smart, will be looking to lead them to a win against his former team. Can he do it?

Take a look below at our best college basketball picks today for the Texas versus Marquette and Rice versus Houston games!

No. 12 Texas @ No. 8 Marquette

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PICK: Marquette -7.5 (-110)

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The talk of this game has undoubtedly revolved around Marquette head coach Shaka Smart facing off against his former team, Texas, for the first time since he left. Luckily, for the Marquette Golden Eagles, they will be battling the Longhorns on their home floor, Fiserv Forum.

Smart has had terrific success already with Marquette, making back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and winning both the Big East regular season championship and Big East Tournament championship last year.

The Golden Eagles are once again an elite basketball team, with one of the best point guards in the nation leading the charge: Tyler Kolek. Kolek is an exceptional all-around guard who averaged just shy of eight assists per game last year.

Now, Kolek is averaging 13.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game on an uber-efficient 52/46/82 shooting split. Few players are shooting anywhere near as well as Kolek has through the first chunk of the 2023-24 regular season.

Joining Kolek as key returners for the Golden Eagles are Kam Jones (16.4 ppg), Oso Ighodaro (12.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg), David Joplin (8.3 ppg), Stevie Mitchell, Ben Gold, Sean Jones, and Chase Ross. The only major contributor who didn’t return to Shaka Smart’s team this season was Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who declared for the 2023 NBA Draft.

Meanwhile, Texas enters this game as one of the rare examples of a team that is ranked really high in the AP Poll (12th), but quite a bit lower in other rankings, such as KenPom’s (30th.) The Longhorns have no shortage of talent, with Max Abmas, Tyrese Hunter, Kadin Shedrick, Ithiel Horton, and Dillon Mitchell rostered, but they have not quite found the chemistry necessary to compete with top teams.

Even though Marquette has already dropped two games (6-2 record), it is still ranked sixth in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin. The Golden Eagles have had one of the toughest schedules thus far of any team in the nation (eighth in strength of schedule rating) and it continues to get more difficult with this game. They have already played No. 4 Purdue (lost by three), No. 20 Illinois (won by seven), No. 2 Kansas (won by 14), and No. 23 Wisconsin (lost by 11) and, now, have to face No. 12 Texas.

Marquette pounded on Kansas, kept Illinois at arm’s length, and narrowly lost to Purdue, arguably the best team in the nation. Two of these three games were on a neutral court, while the game against the Fighting Illini was on the road. Let’s see what this team can do on their home floor against a team that will play closer to the pace that the Golden Eagles want to play at. Wisconsin was an unfortunate matchup for Marquette, as it is one of the slowest teams in the nation. We should take that game with a grain of salt and expect a bounce back from Marquette here.

Rice @ No. 3 Houston

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

PICK: Under 140 (-108)

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After Kelvin Sampson’s first season coaching the Houston Cougars, things have since been smooth sailing; he has built this program into a powerhouse, capable of beating any team on any night. 

Sampson’s teams always seem to have a few things in common: rebounding and defense. And nothing has changed this season, with the Cougars ranking first in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and adjusted defensive efficiency metrics; they have allowed opponents to shoot just 34.9% from the field and 27.6% from behind the arc thus far in the 2023-24 regular season. Additionally, the Cougars rank sixth in offensive rebounding rate in the nation and allow opponents to score just 50.4 points per game against them.

Houston has experienced a lot of roster change from last season to this season, losing Jarace Walker and Marcus Sasser to the 2023 NBA Draft and Tramon Mark to the transfer portal. However, it was able to bring back Jamal Shead, J’Wan Roberts, Emanuel Sharp, Ja’Vier Francis, and Terrance Arceneaux. The Cougars also brought in scoring guard L.J. Cryer from Baylor, who is now leading their offense in points per game; he has filled Sasser’s offensive role as much as humanly possible.

Houston’s Under record this season is 7-1 (87.5%), meaning that it has only played in one game that went over the point total line. The Cougars have also only been Over the line in this game (140 points) once, which was against the Utah Utes, who have the 25th best offense, per KenPom, and are one of the fastest teams in the nation. Utah shoots 48.1% from the field and 37.9% from three as a team, and that includes the Houston game, which has ultimately pulled down its averages.

Meanwhile, the Rice Owls are 3-5 to start the 2023-24 campaign after finishing sixth in Conference USA last season. Rice returned three of its top four scorers from last year’s team, including Travis Evee, Mekhi Mason, and Max Fiedler. Fiedler is a triple-double threat virtually every time he steps on the floor, while the backcourt duo of Mason and Evee combines for roughly 30 points per game. This team is capable of putting up numbers, but their defense leaves much to be desired and can cause them to lose games they should otherwise win.

While the Owls have played in mostly higher-scoring affairs thus far in the 2023-24 season, they have not faced a defense that is anywhere near the caliber of this Houston team. Even No. 12 Texas, who they scored 64 points on, only boasts the 45th-best defense in the nation, per KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric. It is hard to see Rice getting past 50-55 points, leaving Houston with a huge scoring load to carry to get over the 140-point mark.

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Andrew Norton

117 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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