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College basketball expert picks, predictions, schedule

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Another week of exciting college basketball matchups is here, including Big Ten conference games, the annual Iowa-Iowa State rivalry and the Jimmy V Classic in New York City. Our writers make their picks for 13 key clashes through Sunday.

Season-Long Standings:

Pat Forde: 38-24
Michael Shapiro: 37-25
Molly Geary: 36-26
Max Meyer: 35-27
Jeremy Woo: 34-28

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All times are Eastern.

Texas Tech vs. No. 1 Louisville (Tues., 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Pat Forde picks Louisville: These are not last year’s Red Raiders, as the results of the last two weeks have shown. Tech has lost three straight away from home against Iowa, Creighton and DePaul—the latter two in overtime. Now, taking on the nation’s No. 1 team on a neutral court, the difficulty escalates. Don’t go into this game looking for offensive aesthetics; Louisville is third nationally in defensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, and everyone knows that defense is the primary focus for Chris Beard. Look for the Cardinals’ streak of holding opponents to fewer than 55 points to reach four straight games.

No. 4 Maryland at Penn State (Tues., 7 p.m., ESPN2)

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Molly Geary picks Penn State: Penn State is coming off a 32-point road loss to Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions are better than that (for one thing, they’re No. 24 on KenPom). Their star, Lamar Stevens, played just 17 minutes on Saturday, fouling out on a technical with 13 minutes left. At the time, the Buckeyes were up 10. They closed the game on a 46-24 run, going an unsustainable 9 for 14 from three in that span. In short, this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill blowout. Additionally, the Bryce Jordan Center hasn’t been kind to Maryland since joining the Big Ten. The Terps have lost in each of their last three trips there, including by 17 last February. This is a tough game for undefeated Maryland (reflected in a -1 Vegas line), which will be playing its sixth game in 13 days and is fresh off an emotional home comeback over Illinois.

No. 18 Butler at No. 11 Baylor (Tues., 9 p.m., ESPN2)

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Molly Geary picks Butler: Both of these teams are off to strong starts to 2019-20, with a combined one loss (Baylor, to Washington). There’s a lot of strength vs. strength going on here when it comes to how these teams match up, but I like Butler to neutralize some of the Bears’ advantages in a way Arizona couldn’t last weekend. The Wildcats turned it over 16 times and gave up 13 offensive rebounds, two areas that the Bulldogs have excelled in limiting—though they’ve admittedly yet to face a team as good on the boards as Baylor.


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