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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks November 20

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published November 20, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today November 15

There might not be any key conference games on tonight but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few explosive matchups, thanks to the Maui Invitational and the Empire Classic! Today, two of the best programs in the past several seasons face off when the No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers take on the No. 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs. Meanwhile, the UConn Huskies will look to secure their first hardware of the 2023-24 season after winning a National Championship last season; they will battle the Texas Longhorns in Madison Square Garden.

Check out our list of the best college basketball picks today from these two marquee games below!

No. 2 Purdue @ No. 11 Gonzaga 

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My Pick:  Purdue -5 (-108)

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So far, so good for the Purdue Boilermakers and Gonzaga Bulldogs, whom are both undefeated without much of a sweat. The Boilermakers won their first two games by 53 and 30 points, respectively, before taking on Xavier; they secured a double-digit win in that game, too. Additionally, Gonzaga has not yet had a game that has truly tested it. The Bulldogs beat Yale by 15 points and then slaughtered Eastern Oregon by 66 points.

Through the first couple games, KenPom has Purdue ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation, via his adjusted efficiency margin, while the ‘Zags are seventh. Further, Purdue’s offense ranks first and Gonzaga’s ranks third in adjusted offensive efficiency.

The Boilermakers have been playing exceptional basketball, which is not uncommon for this team, especially at the beginning of the season. Last year, Purdue went 22-1 in its first 23 games, with virtually the same roster, save Brandon Newman. The Boilermakers also brought in a talented four-star freshman in Myles Colvin and a grad transfer, Lance Jones, who is averaging the third-most points for them through the first three games.

Meanwhile, Gonzaga lost a hefty amount of talent from last year’s squad, but was able to replenish some of that in the transfer portal. Drew Timme and Julian Strawther, their top-two scorers, tested their luck in the NBA Draft (Strawther was selected but Timme was not), while Rasir Bolton is playing overseas and Malachi Smith is in the G-League. That leaves Anton Watson as the only returner from Gonzaga’s top-five scorers.

Luckily, the ‘Zags were able to bring in Graham Ike, a massive power forward from Wyoming and Ryan Nembhard, the point guard from Creighton’s talented Elite Eight team last season. Further, they signed Braden Huff, a four-star forward, who has been posting big numbers for them (21.5 points, seven rebounds per game in just 17 minutes per game.)

This Gonzaga team has a ton of talent once again; however, Purdue is in peak form. Last season, Purdue’s Achilles heel was the absence of three-point shooting (32.2% as a team), but so far this season it has knocked down 46.3% of its outside looks. While a portion of the Boilermakers’ favorable shooting can be attributed to ideal matchups, they are undoubtedly a better shooting team this year. 

Last year, Purdue decimated the Bulldogs by 18 points in a similar situation, and Gonzaga was objectively a better team last year than this year. At the end of the day, Gonzaga’s defense hardly stands a chance against Edey and when it does double-team him, the Boilermakers have proved they can knock down perimeter shots.

No. 5 UConn @ No. 19 Texas  

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My Pick: UConn -6.5 (-108)

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A Huskies fall-off does not look likely. After winning the National Championship last season and losing three of their best players (Jordan Hawkins, Andre Jackson Jr., and Adama Sanogo) to the NBA, UConn has hardly skipped a beat.

The Huskies returned Tristen Newton, Alex Karaban, and Donovan Clingan, their third, fourth, and fifth-leading scorers from their championship team, allowing them to make a seamless transition from last year to this year. Clingan, and freshman guard Stephon Castle, will likely be top-ten picks in the 2024 NBA Draft. 

Additionally, Tristen Newton has been playing at an exceptionally high level and is fresh off a 23-point, 11-rebound, and six-assist game against the Indiana Hoosiers; he also recorded two steals, exemplifying his impact on both ends of the floor.

UConn beat Indiana by 20 points and has won its other three games by between 34 and 43 points. No one has even played somewhat competitively against the Huskies.

Texas is a solid basketball team, with a ton of offensive weapons, including Oral Roberts’ transfer Max Abmas, who just hit a game-winning fadeaway two-pointer to knock off Louisville; however, there is no better indication of where the Longhorns are at as a team right now than the fact they only narrowly escaped the Cardinals.

Louisville is currently 144th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and finished last season with an inexplicably poor 4-28 record. Sure, the Cardinals brought in a few players like Skyy Clark and Tre White, but this program should not be able to take Texas down to the wire. At least not now.

Ultimately, the Huskies are in championship form, ranking third in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and obliterating opponents. They should not have an issue covering 6.5 points against a team that has not developed an adequate level of chemistry.

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AUTHOR

Andrew Norton

148 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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