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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks January 10

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published January 10, 2024
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today January 10

College basketball fanatics: we will be getting another loaded slate of electric conference games on Wednesday night. The two games we will be focusing in on won’t be the marquee games, per se; however, they will still feature two legitimate championship contenders. Below, we analyze the UTSA versus Memphis and Butler versus Marquette games. Check out our best college basketball picks for these matchups!

UTSA @ No. 13 Memphis

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PICK: UTSA +19 (-110) at DraftKings

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The 13th-ranked Memphis Tigers have had quite the 2023-24 regular season thus far, boasting a 2-2 Quad 1 record and a 5-0 Quad 2 record. Memphis has beaten four ranked teams and lost only to Villanova (25th in KenPom’s adjEM) and Ole Miss (13-1 overall record.) That is not a shabby resume for a team playing in the AAC.

Memphis had to completely reconstruct its roster from last year to this year, returning just one key contributor in Malcolm Dandridge. David Jones, Jahvon Quinerly, Caleb Mills, Nae’Qwon Tomlin, Jaykwon Walton, and Nick Jourdain are all transfers from other schools. 

Jones has been an absolute stud for the Tigers this season, posting averages of roughly 21 points, seven rebounds, and two steals on a 45/37/80 shooting split. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a split like that is bordering on elite shooting at the collegiate level, especially with that level of volume.

Here’s the problem: Memphis consistently plays down to its competition, whether it is at home or on the road. Some recent examples of this include winning by two points against Vanderbilt, three points against SMU and Tulsa, and five points against VCU. The Tigers are 2-7 against the spread this season as a favorite and are 1-6 ATS as a home favorite.

Another issue is the general volatility of the program. Mikey Williams has had legal troubles and J.J. Taylor has had disciplinary issues; the two freshmen are set to enter the transfer portal and will not return to the team. Jordan Brown has also opted to leave the program and it seems like he will test his luck at the professional level overseas.

Memphis is a solid basketball team; it plays hard, physical, and fast, which causes a lot of issues for opponents who aren’t used to that level or speed of play. UTSA falls into that category, but we can’t count on this Tigers squad to blow any team out at the moment; they have only beaten one team (Virginia) by 20 or more points this year, which further proves the point that this unit doesn’t “get up” for games against average or below-average teams.

UTSA is not either (285th in KenPom’s adjEM), but it does play fast (52nd in adjT.) This gives the Roadrunners a slight advantage, as they won’t be as “shell-shocked” as some of Memphis’ prior opponents. We can’t get on board with laying 19 down here, especially with Caleb Mills sidelined for the Tigers.

Butler @ No. 11 Marquette

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PICK: Butler +12 (-110)

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Top to bottom, there are only a couple of conferences in the nation that can compete with the Big East over the past few seasons. There are 11 Big East teams and nine of them are ranked in the top 67 of KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin metric. Further, seven of those teams are in the top 50. 

It is safe to say that the Marquette Golden Eagles have had an underwhelming start to Big East conference play, winning just two of their first four games. Both of their losses have come on the road against the Providence Friars and the Seton Hall Pirates. Marquette was ranked preseason as the No. 1 Big East team in the coaches’ poll due to its chemistry and returning players, but there has been a lot of sputtering with this team, particularly on the offensive end of the floor.

To be fair, Marquette has had the sixth-highest opponent adjEM per KenPom, which evaluates the overall strength of a team’s opponents. It isn’t going to get a whole lot easier for the Golden Eagles as they enter the thick of the Big East season. 

Butler ranks 64th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, but its defense (121st in adjD) has struggled, especially since it has developed such a defensive-centric culture over the past decade or so. The Bulldogs have been a solid home team, holding an 8-1 record at Hinkle; however, they have dropped all three of their road games thus far in the 2023-24 regular season, including two games to Big East teams, by double-digits.  

Butler’s biggest issue defensively isn’t even inherently defensive: it can’t rebound the basketball. The Bulldogs rank 285th in defensive rebounding percentage (out of 362 teams) on the road, pulling down barely over two-thirds of their opponent’s misses. Still, Marquette isn’t known for its offensive rebounding (239th in offensive rebounding percentage), which could help Butler’s cause for keeping this game close.

Further, Butler has actually shot the three-pointer at a higher clip (33.9%) than Marquette (32.9%), which is quite shocking considering the Bulldogs were horrendous from deep last season. Butler also scarcely fouls opponents (ninth in the nation in fouls per game), a huge advantage on the road against a top 25 opponent. 

While we expect Marquette to win at home, the Bulldogs getting 12 points feels a bit rich, so we will ride with Butler in this spot.

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AUTHOR

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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