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NCAA Basketball: Picks for Day 61 of the 2023-24 season

After a huge Saturday that was moving day for a lot of bubble teams the schedule on Sunday lightens up a lot but there are a lot of games with potential impacts on the schedule.

Dec 29, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard Ty Berry (3) celebrates his three
Dec 29, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard Ty Berry (3) celebrates his three / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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The first Saturday of the conference season delivered in a big way. There were a ton of upsets and prove-it games that didn’t turn out very well for the team trying to prove it. Nebraska played well in their 16-point loss at Wisconsin. The Badgers just made most of the shots they took and played about as perfectly as they could. Indiana bounced back and beat Ohio State at Assembly Hall. Seton Hall beat Marquette, Creighton beat Providence, North Carolina beat Clemson, South Carolina beat Mississippi State, and Kentucky beat Florida. Those were the games that already have a ton of impact on the NCAA tournament picture. 

James Madison took their first loss of the year at the hands of Southern Mississippi which is going to put the Dukes in a tough spot when it comes to an at-large bid. The one result that was the most shocking today was Arkansas getting beat by 32 points by Auburn in Fayetteville. I had to check the result twice. Kansas barely got by TCU and Alabama barely got by Vanderbilt. BYU lost their first game in the Big 12 but I will have more on them later in the week.

Yesterday I went 86-55 in my picks. That brings my 60 day total to 1,741-631 overall. There is not nearly as big of a schedule today as there was yesterday but there is still a lot of quality on the slate today. There are three Big Ten games to highlight the day. Picks for day 61 January 7, 2024, are below.

Penn State over Michigan

Temple over Wichita State

Dayton over UMass

Iona over Niagara

Youngstown State over IUPUI

Quinnipiac over Manhattan

Saint Peter’s over Mount St. Mary’s

Fairfield over Marist

Rider over Canisius

UAB over South Florida

East Carolina over Tulsa

Indiana State over Northern Iowa

Drake over Belmont

UTEP over Chicago State

Cleveland State over Northern Kentucky

Memphis over SMU

Minnesota over Maryland

Michigan State over Northwestern

There are a lot of American and MAAC games to go along with the Big Ten games today. The game of the day is the final one between Michigan State and Northwestern. The Spartans have seemed to have fixed themselves and Northwestern is a bubble team very capable of pulling off the upset.

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Memphis and SMU is the best mid-major game of the day. Memphis is one of the best teams in the country and should win this game but SMU is pesky and has a ton of talent that will make this a tough game.