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NCAA Basketball: Picks for Day 56 of the 2023-24 season

Welcome to 2024 and conference play is in full swing. Every conference will start conference play this week and the schedule gets more intense as the week goes on.

Dec 6, 2023; Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; Colorado State Rams forward Patrick Cartier (12) and guard
Dec 6, 2023; Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; Colorado State Rams forward Patrick Cartier (12) and guard / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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I hope you all had a great holiday season with your families and a wonderful New Year. Basketball is back with a fully loaded schedule this week as conference play is now in full swing. Yesterday was a day dedicated to football and all of the NCAA basketball games were over by dinner time. Texas, Texas Tech, and TCU closed out their non-conference with wins. Drexel won their first Coastal Athletic Association game handily over Hampton. That was it for yesterday.

Yesterday I went 4-0 in my picks. That gives me a 55-day total of 1,549-539 overall. The schedule is loaded today with a ton of great games mostly all conference games. The second season for some teams begins today. The March to the NCAA tournament continues in earnest for bubble teams in the conference season. Mountain West play begins today. The Big Ten resumes their conference games. American Athletic games begin today. The MAC begins their conference season today, and conference play resumes in the Big East, Missouri Valley, and ACC. Picks for Day 56 January 2nd, 2024, are below.

Utah State over Air Force

UConn over DePaul

Purdue over Maryland

Tennessee over Norfolk State

Pitt over North Carolina

Florida Atlantic over East Carolina

Wisconsin over Iowa

Boston College over Wake Forest

Creighton over Georgetown

Kent State over Ball State

Central Michigan over Buffalo

Bowling Green over Eastern Michigan

Miami Ohio over Western Michigan

Ohio over Toledo

Harvard over Albany

Vermont over Brown

Baylor over Cornell

Murray State over Illinois-Chicago

Southern Illinois over Belmont

Kansas State over Chicago State

Akron over Northern Illinois

Wyoming over San Jose State

St. John’s over Butler

Illinois over Northwestern

Duke over Syracuse

Auburn over Penn

SMU over Charlotte

UAB over UTSA

Drake over Illinois State

Colorado State over New Mexico

There is a lot there on the schedule today that everyone should be able to find something to watch today. It is clear what the best game of the day is today. Colorado State and New Mexico is a brutal conference opener for both teams. The Rams are 12-1 and the Lobos are 12-1. Colorado State blew out Creighton and enters the game in the top 15 and have one of the best point guards in the country in Isaiah Stevens. New Mexico has a trio of players with Jaelen House, Donovan Dent, and JT Toppin who change games for the Lobos. That is the last game of the night and is going to be exceptional.

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Can Florida Atlantic bounce back in their first-ever American Athletic game?  Akron and Northern Illinois is the best mid-major game of the day. That game has two great big men and two great point guards.