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Rutgers vs Purdue - Noon Eastern

Rutgers got me. Or Michigan got me. Either way, the game between those two did not go as I thought it would. Credit to Rutgers who held Michigan to 46 FG attempts and got up 61 of their own. Their 7 rebound edge and 14 takeaways fueled their win despite the fact they continued to be dismal shooting the ball.

Today should be a different story. It's true that Purdue is not in their best form right now, but they won't give Rutgers such a lopsided number of shots like Michigan did. Purdue is 15th in the country in rebounds per game with 38.7. Michigan had 30 yesterday. Purdue does struggle at times with turning the ball over, so if Rutgers is going to stay in this game they're going to need to capitalize on that.

Rutgers put up a great effort yesterday. I stand by what I said before--they're not very good. We'll see if they make me pay for it again.

Pick: Purdue -6 (-112) BetRivers

Middle Tennessee vs Florida Atlantic - 12:30 Eastern

I wrote about this yesterday, but there are three teams head and shoulders above the rest in Conference USA--FAU, North Texas, and UAB. I cashed on FAU and UAB yesterday (one in the write-up picks and one in the email picks) and I'm going back to the well with FAU today.

Middle Tennessee squeaked by Charlotte with a 1-point win to set up today's matchup. In their games against the big three from Conference USA, they're 2-4 with losses of 14, 23, 18, and 5. One of those wins was against FAU. Despite that, I still believe these teams are on different levels. I've done very well picking the really good teams in mid-major conferences against teams that really don't measure up. I think it's a good angle and I'm sticking with it here.

Pick: FAU -8 (-110) BetRivers

Ohio vs Toledo - 5:00 Eastern

My friend Phis Naessens did a great writeup on the MAC tournament if you want more in-depth analysis.

This game goes back to what I said about the last game--these mid-majors often have a few teams who are head-and-shoulders above the rest. In the MAC those teams are Toledo, Kent St., and Akron. Ohio has two great wins in a row, beating both Bowling Green and Ball State by 20+.

My bet here is more about how good Toledo is than how bad Ohio is. Ohio is respectable and could keep this close for a little while, but the spread isn't that wide. Toledo has won 16 straight and 15 of those were 5 or more points. It would take a terrible game from Toledo to not push or cover here. I'll bet they show up.

Pick: Toledo -5 (-110) BetRivers

Akron vs Kent State - 7:30 Eastern

Speaking of the best teams in the MAC, here are two of them playing each other!

Each of these teams beat the other at home. In the first game, Akron won 67-55, and in the second Kent State returned the favor with an 89-84 victory. I think this game looks more like the first one than the second. I don't mean that Akron will win by 12, I think this game will be close, but I think it will be lower scoring. Both of these teams are pretty good defensively, and Kent State can be dominant defensively at times.

It's hard to predict things like shooting percentage and turnovers. Teams can have good or bad games. But if both of these teams play games that reflect their talent level it should be close. I lean toward Akron's offense and Kent State's defense. For that reason, I'll take the points in a close game.

Pick: Akron +2.5 (-110) DraftKings

Oregon vs UCLA - 9:00 Eastern

We wrap up this 5-pack of picks with another repeat of yesterday's email picks. I can keep this one fairly simple.

UCLA may be the best team in the country. They are very good offensively and defensively. They are ramping up and appear to be peaking at the right time. They've won 11 in a row, scoring 70+ in 9 of those and allowing less than 70 in 9 as well. They can win games that are low-scoring or high-scoring.

Oregon is inconsistent. They have some great games (like yesterday's 5-point win over a good Washington State team) and some clunkers (like their loss to Washington). UCLA won the first two matchups by 9 and 7 this year. I know it's hard to beat a team three times in a season, but I have the feeling this one is more likely to be a wider spread than it is to go the other way.

Pick: UCLA -6 (-110) DraftKings

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