Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Picks for Day 57 of the 2023-24 season

What a day for the first full day of Conference Season. There were some upsets and buzzer-beaters, but it was a day where most of the favorites won. Today is shaping up to be another day like yesterday at least in the power conferences.

Dec 29, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Malik Reneau (5) in the second
Dec 29, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Malik Reneau (5) in the second / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

What a start to conference season. Things went as everyone expected yesterday but we still got a buzzer beater and a huge upset. In the Big Ten Purdue crushed Maryland and Illinois beat Northwestern by 30. Wisconsin struggled with Iowa for a half before eventually pulling away for an 11-point win.

In the ACC, Wake Forest beat Boston College, North Carolina beat Pitt, and Duke beat Syracuse. The Big East saw UConn destroy DePaul. Creighton got their first win against Georgetown and St. John’s beat Butler. Florida Atlantic won their first ever American Athletic game and Drake won in the Missouri Valley. The Mountain West was a lot of fun with Utah State, Colorado State, and Wyoming all winners. The upset of the day came in the MAC when Buffalo, who had not beaten a Division 1 team all season, went to Central Michigan and beat the Chips by 12 points.

Yesterday I went 25-5 In my picks. That brings my 56 day total to 1,574-544 total. There is another loaded schedule today highlighted by Big Ten and Big East conference play. Big South and Atlantic 10 conference play start. Patriot League and Southern Conference play also begin. Today is the beginning of the Big Sky and the Summit League challenge. Pac 12, ACC, Conference USA, and Mountain West also resume their conference schedules. Picks for the day 57 January 3, 2024, are below.

Howard over Yale

UNC Asheville over SC Upstate

Providence over Seton Hall

Longwood over Winthrop

George Mason over La Salle

Lafayette over Army

Virginia over Louisville

Florida State over Georgia Tech

Indiana State over Evansville

Radford over High Point

Presbyterian over Charleston Southern

Ohio State over Rutgers

Oklahoma State over Chicago State

Navy over Boston University

American over Lehigh

Dayton over Davidson

George Washington over Fordham

Duquesne over UMass

Saint Joseph’s over Rhode Island

Saint Louis over Loyola Chicago

Colgate over Loyola MD

Bucknell over Holy Cross

Western Carolina over The Citadel

UNC Greensboro over Furman

Wofford over VMI

ETSU over Mercer

Samford over Chattanooga

Marshall over UL Monroe

Miami over Clemson

Bradley over Valpo

North Dakota State over Montana

North Dakota over Northern Colorado

Northern Arizona over Omaha

South Dakota over Eastern Washington

Villanova over Xavier

UCLA over Stanford

NC State over Notre Dame

Tulane over Rice

Missouri State over Northern Iowa

VCU over Saint Bonaventure

Sacramento State over Kansas City

Nebraska over Indiana

St Thomas over Idaho

Weber State over South Dakota State

Denver over Idaho State

Montana State over Oral Roberts

USC over California

San Diego State over Fresno State

There are a lot of great games today. There are a lot of games today with tournament implications as well. Nebraska and Indiana is the game of the day. Nebraska is a team that is predicated on their interior defense, rebounding, and three-point shooting. They have been able to win games when all of those are going well. Indiana doesn’t shoot threes or defend the three-point line and uses their three big men to pound the ball inside for their points. That game has huge NCAA tournament implications.

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Providence and Seton Hall is another great game. The Pirates beat UConn by 15 points and Providence has been rolling after a few early stumbles this year. The best mid-major game is UMass and Duquesne in the Atlantic 10. Those two teams both have great guards who do most of the heavy lifting but UMass may have the X factor in big man Josh Cohen. Can Duquesne and their 4 big men neutralize the paint?  That should be a good game to kick off Atlantic 10 play for both teams.