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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks November 21

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published November 21, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today November 21

Every college basketball fanatic loves a “day game!” 

And that is precisely what we have today when the Syracuse Orange play the No. 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs on the consolation side of the Maui Invitational bracket. 

Later that evening, there will be one of the best matchups that we have seen so far this year: the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers will battle the No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers for a chance to play in the tournament championship. Let’s get into our favorite picks for Tuesday’s Maui Invitational games.

No. 7 Tennessee @ No. 2 Purdue 

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PICK: Under 134.5 (-110)

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It might have been a slow first half for Purdue in its first game of the Maui Invitational against Gonzaga, but the Boilermakers wasted no time dropping the hammer in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs by a score of 43-28. Purdue didn’t have the kind of offensive outing that it had in its first few games; however, it made up for its lack of shooting by locking up defensively.

Purdue held the ‘Zags to 37.7% shooting from the field and 18.8% from behind the arc, which are impressive numbers against such a high-octane offense. With this win against Gonzaga, the Boilermakers jumped over Houston for the top spot in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, holding the third-highest adjusted offensive efficiency and the fifth-highest adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation.

Meanwhile, Tennessee pulled away late in the second half against Syracuse. The Volunteers held the Orange to just 35% shooting from the floor and 30% shooting from deep, highlighting their prowess on the defensive end of the floor. As a matter of fact, they have the first-ranked defense (adjusted defensive efficiency) per KenPom after their game on Monday night.

In short, this is going to be a slow-paced bloodbath between two of the best teams in the nation. It almost feels like a coin flip of who will come out on top and advance to the Maui Invitational championship game.

Regardless, we feel like the most favorable line in this game is the Under. Purdue ranks 189th in adjusted tempo (again, KenPom), while Tennessee is 256th. Once the Boilermakers faced a somewhat formidable defense (Gonzaga), they struggled offensively, shooting just 23.5% from three.

We can expect a similar result from Purdue against Tennessee, who is allowing opponents to shoot merely 35.6% from the field and 25.8% from three-point range this season.

Additionally, the Volunteers are entering a similar situation; they haven’t faced a team like Purdue yet, so there will be a learning curve offensively. Expect a low-scoring affair filled with long possessions and an abundance of defensive stops. Overtime is our biggest threat here.

Syracuse @ No. 11 Gonzaga  

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

PICK: Syracuse +12.5 (-110)

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Gonzaga had about as strong of a start to its first-round game against Purdue as it was capable of, but ran out of steam in the second half. Zach Edey, the reigning Wooden Award winner, can do that to some teams.

Luckily, the Bulldogs won’t have to worry about Edey, but will have their hands full with Judah Mintz, one of the best scorers in college basketball; he has posted 23 points per game thus far for Syracuse. Joining Mintz in the Orange’s offensive attack is sophomore forward Chris Bell (14 ppg) and sophomore guards, J.J. Starling (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 4.3 apg) and Justin Taylor (11 ppg and 6.3 rpg.)

While the Orange ultimately dropped their last game against Tennessee, one of the most brutally physical teams in the nation, the 17-point deficit is a bit of a misrepresentation; it was a tight, seven-point game until just under two minutes left in the second half when things began to unfold for Syracuse.

In previous years, this Syracuse defense, which was mostly a 2-3 zone under former head coach Jim Boeheim, would get decimated by Gonzaga’s three-point shooting. However, they no longer rely solely on zone defense. This is a huge advantage for the Orange tonight and for the rest of the season; they should perform better than the 17-15 team last year.

Ultimately, 12.5 points is a lot to give up on a neutral court to a competitive team that has plenty of scoring talent. Syracuse should keep this game close, just like it did against Tennessee before it fell apart.

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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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