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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks November 14

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published November 14, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today November 14

The second Tuesday in the 2023–24 college basketball season certainly has no shortage of exciting matchups. The slate includes Kansas versus Kentucky and Duke versus Kansas State in the “Champions Classic,” which will be hosted at the United Center. 

Each team is currently ranked in the Top 25, giving these games added stakes as a potential resume boost come tournament time. And who can forget the added bonus of early-season bragging rights? Let’s get into our best bets for the college basketball slate today!

No. 1 Kansas @ No. 17 Kentucky 

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PICK: Kentucky +6 (-110)

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It can be challenging at the beginning of a new college basketball season to gauge where top-ranked teams stand, especially when the only sample size available is a few “buy games” against mid-major programs that aren’t nearly as strong as an AP Top 25 team. This is exactly the situation that we face with Kansas and Kentucky, two exceptional programs with loads of talent.

Kansas has obliterated its first two opponents by scores of 43 and 38 points, while the Wildcats dominated their first game, but stumbled a bit in their second game against Texas A&M Commerce, winning by merely 20 points. Still, that game doesn’t tell us much about their preparedness to take on Kansas, as motivation levels can vary depending on the opponents.

What this game will come down to is experience versus raw talent. The Jayhawks have the experience, with a number of upperclassmen such as Wooden Award candidate Hunter Dickinson, K.J. Adams Jr., Kevin McCullar Jr., and Dajuan Harris Jr., while Kentucky starts three five-star freshmen.

Currently, Kansas ranks third in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, while Kentucky holds steady at 14th. The Jayhawks have shot the lights out of the ball, hitting nearly 47% of their three-point attempts though their first two games (Manhattan and NC Central) on a fairly substantial volume. Kentucky, on the other hand, has not shot well from deep (32.7%) thus far. 

Still, the Jayhawks should come back down to Earth in this game against a Kentucky team that has several dynamic guards who can post big numbers on any given night, including Robert Dillingham, D.J. Wagner Jr., Antonio Reeves, and Justin Edwards. 

We aren’t banking on the Wildcats to grab a win over the No. 1 team in the nation, but they should keep it close. The Jayhawks’ effective field goal percentage of 72% is nowhere near sustainable, even for them. And 6.5 points is too many to give to a hungry and uber-talented team looking to upset the No. 1 team in the nation.

No. 9 Duke @ No. 18 Michigan State 

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PICK: Duke -4 (-110)

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It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that both of these teams have not had the starts to the 2023–24 regular season that they had hoped for. Duke and Michigan State have each lost a home game, with the Spartans suffering a shocking loss to James Madison and the Blue Devils being upset in Cameron Indoor by the Arizona Wildcats. Of course, there is plenty of time left in the season, but neither team wants to drop a second game this early in the year. 

While the Spartans might still be ranked in the Top 25 due to a variety of factors, including their success last season, how many returners they have, and the highly-touted recruits they brought in, this team is not playing like a ranked team. Currently, they rank 30th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, including a horrendous 51st in adjusted offensive efficiency and 220th in unadjusted offensive efficiency. This is even more troubling when you consider that the Spartans have played two teams that are nowhere near the caliber of this Duke squad on the defensive end of the floor. 

Further, the Spartans’ first two games were at home, where teams usually play better; they are in a positive environment, shooting on baskets that they are used to. However, Michigan State has shot an inexplicable 2-for-31 from behind the arc so far this season. 

The most concerning aspect about their shooting, though, is not the cold streak, but the fact that this was a large part of the Spartans’ identity last season and something that they seem to be heavily reliant upon once again. 

Without consistent perimeter shooting, Michigan State could continue to falter offensively, as its half-court offense has been borderline abysmal. Any meaningful movement and cohesion in their sets has been severely lacking.

As a matter of fact, the Spartans have gotten a substantial amount (22 points per game) of their offense in transition, but look at the teams they have played: Southern Indiana and James Madison. Under head coach Jon Scheyer, Duke has done a terrific job in playing at its pace, relying on its disciplined half-court defense to create advantages. This will limit the Spartans’ ability to get out in transition, which is really bad news for them in their current state.

It is challenging to imagine the Spartans solving their shooting and half-court issues in a matter of days. This should be a tight game, as Izzo-coached teams are scarcely blown out, but Duke will pull away at the end.

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AUTHOR

Andrew Norton

149 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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