The final Friday before Christmas break was loaded with games and there were some surprisingly good games on the schedule. Maryland beat UCLA which means the Bruins now have a losing record. It has been a long time since I have seen a Bruins team look this bad. Nevada is off to play in the Finals of the Diamond Head Classic and they meet Georgia Tech. Marquette is finally on the board in the Big East after they crushed Georgetown. Illinois blasted Missouri and the Illini have looked impressive over the last month of the season. Not a single ranked team lost on Friday and there were not many upsets at all.
At the time of this writing UMass and Portland had yet to play so that game will not be counted in my game total. Yesterday I went 37-8 which brings my 47 total to 1,410-487. The schedule today is not a normal Saturday schedule and that is due in large part to the Holiday and most teams are back home with their families. The schedule does have some huge games with tournament implications for Power 5 opponents though. There is one giant ranked vs ranked game in the Desert Holiday Classic. Picks for day 48 December 23,2023, are below.
Providence over Butler
Rutgers over Mississippi State
Mount St. Mary’s over Long Island
Penn over Rider
NC State over Detroit Mercy
Toledo over West Virginia
Ole Miss over Southern Mississippi
North Texas over UT Arlington
Xavier over Seton Hall
UNC Asheville over Kennesaw State
Arizona over Florida Atlantic
Memphis over Vanderbilt
Villanova over DePaul
Alabama over Eastern Kentucky
Duquesne over Santa Clara
UConn over Saint John’s
Saint Mary’s over Missouri State
Big East play resumes and I expect the home teams to win all of those games tomorrow. UConn and Saint John’s is the game of the day. The defending champs against Rick Pitino in a conference game... yes, please. That is followed closely by Florida Atlantic and Arizona. I know that everyone thinks FAU is overrated, but the bottom line is they have an extremely tough schedule and keep winning. Arizona is just too overpowering for them though.
The best mid major game of the day is the final game of the night with Saint Mary’s and Missouri State. The Gaels appear to be fixed and Missouri State will be a factor in the Missouri Valley.