Home | News | Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – January 15th, 2024

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – January 15th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

There’s a new No. 1 team in the Associated Press Top 25 this week and that’s defending national champion UConn. It’s the first time the Huskies have reached No. 1 since spending four weeks there in the second half of the 2008-09 season. Meanwhile, Gonzaga has fallen out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in eight years. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups and picks.

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week (January 15th, 2024)

Utah State Aggies vs. New Mexico Lobos

  • When: Tuesday, January 16th, 2024, 10:30 PM ET
  • Where: The Pit, Albuquerque, NM
  • TV: FS1
  • Radio: KZNS 1280 The Zone AM (Utah State) // 96.3 News Radio KKOB (New Mexico)
  • Live Stream: FOX Sports
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Utah State (+5.5) // New Mexico (-5.5)

This might be the deepest the Mountain West Conference has been in years, and both these clubs will be NCAA Tournament-bound. Utah State is 16-1 overall and leads the Mountain West at 4-0 following an 87-86 win at UNLV on Saturday as the Aggies made a five-point play with eight seconds left in a stunner.

Luis Rodriguez made both of his free throw attempts to give UNLV an 86-82 lead with 14 seconds remaining. Darius Brown took the inbound pass down the right side of the court and made an off-balance 3-pointer for Utah State. While the ball was in the air, Kalib Boone was called for a foul in the lane on Great Osobor, who then made both of his free throw attempts. Dedan Thomas Jr.’s potential game-winning jumper from the left elbow with two seconds left was long off the back of the rim for the Rebs.

With the win, Utah State extends the nation’s longest active winning streak to 15 in a row, which is also the sixth-longest winning streak in school history. USU also improved to 6-0 on the season in games decided by five or fewer points, including 2-0 in games decided by one point. USU’s 16-1 start to the season is its third-best in school history.

Osobor was named the Mountain West Player of the Week as in two games, he averaged a team-best 22.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, while adding 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game and shooting 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from the field and 93.3 percent (14-of-15) at the free throw line. Osobor ranks 23rd in the nation in rebounds per game (9.65), 32nd in defensive rebounds per game (6.71), 42nd in field goal percentage (.585) and 46th in points per game (18.88).

Utah State ranks in the top 50 in the nation in several categories, including defensive 3-point field goal percentage (.276, 9th), field goal percentage (.501, 11th), scoring margin (+15.35, 18th), assists per game (17.53, 20th), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.56, 20th), rebounding margin (+6.82, 28th) and scoring offense (81.88, 34th).

USU is the 10th team to be nationally ranked in school history and first since the 2019-20 team climbed as high as No. 15. USU’s highest-ever ranking was in 1960 when it was No. 7 in the nation. Overall, USU is 67-20 (.770) as an AP ranked team.

New Mexico (14-3) beat No. 19 San Diego State 88-70 on Saturday. The Lobos tied a school record with 14 blocks, led by five each from JT Toppin and Nelly Junior Joseph, marking the third-most blocks ever in a Mountain West game and the most in the league since 2007.

Toppin had 17 points and set career-highs of 16 rebounds and five blocks to post his fifth double-double of the season. Toppin’s 16 rebounds were one shy of Kenny Thomas’ freshman school record of 17 rebounds he set against No. 10 Utah in the 1996 WAC Championship. Toppin was named Mountain West Freshman of the Week for the fifth time, just the fourth freshman to be recognized at least five times in a season, joining Tyson Degenhart (Boise State, nine times in 2021-22), Darrion Williams (Nevada, six times in 2022-23) and Rytis Petraitis (Air Force, six times in 2022-23). The 18-point margin was the Lobos’ largest against a ranked opponent since an 85-58 win over No. 6 Nevada in 2018-19.

Utah State leads the all-time series vs. New Mexico 33-12, including 11-9 in games played in Albuquerque. USU has won 10 of the last 11 games, including each of the last seven.

NCAAB Betting Pick: New Mexico Lobos

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats

  • When: Wednesday, January 17th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: 107.7 FM WIVK (Mississippi State) // 630 WLAP (Kentucky)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: TBA

Mississippi State (12-4) might have been caught looking ahead to this one when it was knocked off 82-74 at home by Alabama on Saturday. The Tide’s backcourt was dominant with Mark Sears (22 points), Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (19 points) and Rylan Griffen (17 points) combining to score 58 of UA’s 82 points on the night. Alabama scored 18 fastbreak points while not allowing MSU to record a fastbreak point.

UA shot 84 percent (22-26) from the free throw line while MSU was 55 percent (15-27) from the charity stripe. The score sat at 74-all following a Cameron Matthews layup with 2:42 to play. However, Alabama scored the game’s final eight points down the stretch to claim the victory.

Alabama’s 82 points were the most points Mississippi State has allowed in a game this season. The Crimson Tide are the only team to score 70 points or more in three games against Mississippi State during the Chris Jans era. Tolu Smith tallied his first double-double of the season and 26th of his MSU career, putting up a team-leading 15 points and 10 rebounds. The 10 rebounds enabled Smith III to become the 14th player in program history to surpass 700 career rebounds. His 706 career rebounds are 13th in program history.

Freshman Josh Hubbard provided 14 points off the bench. Senior Shakeel Moore scored 13, his second most this season, with Matthews adding 12, which stands as his eighth game of the season in double figures. Hubbard has amassed 241 total points which is 5th-most for a freshman in program history through 16 games and the most since Rickey Brown (1976-77). It was Hubbard’s 14th game of the season with 10+ points off the bench which ties Roquez Johnson for 4th-highest dating back to the 1989-90 season.

For the season, State has connected on 119 three-pointers which ties the 2008-09 squad for 6th-highest in program history through 16 games.

No. 8 Kentucky (12-3) dropped a bit in the new polls after having a six-game winning streak snapped Saturday, 97-92 in OT at Texas A&M. With seven seconds remaining in regulation, Tyrece Radford hit both of his free throws, after going 0 for 5 at the free throw line. The Aggies forced a long 3-pointer by Rob Dillingham as time wound off the clock, but Radford was called for a foul on the rebound attempt and sent Reed Sheppard to the line with less than a second remaining. Sheppard hit both for the Wildcats) sending the game to overtime. UK missed all eight of its field goal attempts in overtime and didn’t score until 39 seconds left, when Sheppard was fouled on a 3-pointer and made two of three free throws.

The Wildcats entered the game third in the nation at 90.7 per game and slightly topped that. UK has scored at least 80 points in all but one game this season. Kentucky made 15 of 39 on 3-pointers. 15 threes are the second-most of the season and 39 attempts are a season high. UK had 22 assists with only 11 turnovers, a +2.0 ratio. UK entered the game third in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at +1.87.

Antonio Reeves had 22 points, his seventh 20-point game of the season. D.J. Wagner had 18 points, his ninth double-figure scoring game of the season and fourth in a row. He also had four assists. Playing a career-high 44 minutes, Tre Mitchell notched eight points, 13 rebounds and six assists. It is his fifth straight game with double-digit rebounds and he has had at least four boards in every game this season. Playing a career-best 31 minutes, Ugonna Onyenso had a season-high seven points, tied his career high for rebounds with 10 and set a career best with five blocked shots.

These teams played just once last season and Kentucky won 71-68 in Starkville as the Wildcats beat Mississippi State for the 17th time in 18 games in 13 seasons with John Calipari as their coach.

NCAAB Betting Pick: Kentucky Wildcats

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