This article is part of our College Basketball Picks series.
TCU +6½ at Iowa State
Believe it or not, TCU boasts the best offensive rebounding rate in the country, per KenPom. Iowa State isn't particularly strong on the glass, with its defensive rebounding rate ranked in the middle of the Big 12 through six conference games. TCU also holds a rebounding edge on the other side of the court as well, recording the second-best defensive rebounding rate in the Big 12 through four conference games. This rebounding advantage likely will play a critical role in the outcome of the game, more than likely a defensive battle. Both teams enter the game with a top-25 defense in terms of KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings. Iowa State's defense is impressively ranked fifth overall, though it's actually third lowest in the Big 12 since conference season started. TCU's defensive efficiency rating, on the other hand, is second in the Big 12 through conference play. In a game where the final score likely will be a low one, the Horned Frogs have a great shot at covering the six points.
LSU at Tennessee - Under 132½
LSU scored 79 points at home against Tennessee on Jan. 8, but the Tigers' scoring output on that day is proving the exception. Outside of that matchup, LSU scored less than 67 points in all five other conference games. The Volunteers' defense is ranked sixth in the country, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, so the Tigers face a tough challenge on the road regardless of what happened a couple weeks ago. The same goes for the other end of the court, where an inconsistent Tennessee offense faces the undisputed best defense in the country, per KenPom. The Tigers' defense is so dominant that the difference between their rating and that of second place is nearly six points, which is the same difference between second place and 20th place. I tend to think LSU has a good shot at covering as well, but ultimately I'm not sure we can trust their offense on the road, against a tough defense. All in all, it appears we have a defensive battle on our hands, a textbook recipe for an under. I'll take it.
UCLA at Colorado - Under 136
UCLA certainly has a potent offensive attack, though it's lacked some punch on the road this season. In its only two conference road games this season, UCLA scored 60 points at Cal and then 63 points against Utah. Colorado's defense is drastically better than Utah's according to KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, so UCLA's offense might not do much better than what we saw two days ago at Utah. On the other side of the court, UCLA's defense is looking sharp, boasting the 19th best adjusted efficiency rating in the country. Colorado's offense hasn't been nearly as strong, ranking at No. 116 overall. Colorado recently just lost a home game to USC, 61-58, so it's hard to imagine Colorado playing much better against a slightly better defense, at least in terms of KenPom's ratings. Given this matchup and its location, this likely will be a grinder. I like the under assuming that's the case.
Arizona State at Stanford -5½
The Sun Devils' offense has struggled so much that I'm not sure they're capable of hitting 60 points in this game. Through five conference games this season, Arizona State's offense ranks last in the Pac-12 in adjusted efficiency, effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding, free-throw attempt rate, three-point field goal percentage, two-point field goal percentage and free-throw percentage. The Sun Devils managed to score 64 points in their most recent game, a home contest against Utah, though it's worth pointing out that the Utes have the second-worst defense in the Pac-12, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings. Stanford's defense is significantly better, so Arizona State faces a much bigger challenge on the road. Stanford, meanwhile, recently got blown at home by the Arizona Wildcats, which didn't look good but it's hard to hold the game against Stanford considering that Arizona is playing like a championship contender. Either way, Stanford shouldn't have a problem bouncing back against an opponent like Arizona State.