TheSpread.com NCAAB Picks and Predictions 1/22

TheSpread.com NCAAB Picks and Predictions 1/22

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Thursday, January 22.

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West Virginia at Georgetown, 7:00PM ET

Butler appears bent on dominating the Horizon League for the third straight season, but if any team has a chance of dethroning the 16th-ranked Bulldogs, it could be Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The red-hot Phoenix will try to end an eight-game losing streak against the defending conference champions on Thursday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, as Butler will look to move to 17-1 for the first time in school history.

After winning a share of the conference crown in 2006-07, the Bulldogs (16-1, 7-0) cruised to regular-season and tournament titles in the Horizon League last season, finishing 30-4 overall.

Despite losing their top two scorers from that team, they've looked just as strong in 2008-09, matching the program's best-ever starts - both overall and in conference play. Butler has also won its first eight home games and its last eight overall since a 54-51 loss at Ohio State on Dec. 13.

The Bulldogs survived a tough test at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday, shooting just 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from the field in the first half and falling behind by 11. But they outscored the Flames 42-24 in the final 20 minutes en route to a 59-52 victory.

NCAA Free Pick: Georgetown  – Best Line: -5 Sports Interaction

WI-Green Bay at Butler, 7:00PM ET

Butler appears bent on dominating the Horizon League for the third straight season, but if any team has a chance of dethroning the 16th-ranked Bulldogs, it could be Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The red-hot Phoenix will try to end an eight-game losing streak against the defending conference champions on Thursday at Hinkle Fieldhouse, as Butler will look to move to 17-1 for the first time in school history.

After winning a share of the conference crown in 2006-07, the Bulldogs (16-1, 7-0) cruised to regular-season and tournament titles in the Horizon League last season, finishing 30-4 overall.

Despite losing their top two scorers from that team, they've looked just as strong in 2008-09, matching the program's best-ever starts - both overall and in conference play. Butler has also won its first eight home games and its last eight overall since a 54-51 loss at Ohio State on Dec. 13.

The Bulldogs survived a tough test at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday, shooting just 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) from the field in the first half and falling behind by 11. But they outscored the Flames 42-24 in the final 20 minutes en route to a 59-52 victory.

NCAA Free Pick: Butler – Best Line: -9.5 Sports Interaction

UCLA at Washington State, 9:00PM ET

One of the top defensive teams in the nation in each of the last three seasons, UCLA got beat at its own game in its last outing. The Bruins hope to rebound against the only team in the Pac-10 with a more impressive defensive resume than theirs over the last several years.

The 13th-ranked Bruins look to bounce back from their first conference loss as they visit Washington State - the stingiest defensive squad in Division I - on Thursday night.

UCLA (14-3, 4-1) has finished second in the Pac-10 in scoring defense each of the previous three seasons, with two top 10 finishes nationally in that stretch. The Bruins are again relying on their ability to stop opponents this season, ranking third in the conference with 58.6 points allowed per game.

UCLA, however, got outplayed defensively by Arizona State down the stretch in the Bruins' 61-58 overtime loss Saturday. The Sun Devils went to a matchup zone that limited the Bruins to one field goal over the final 13 minutes as UCLA had its 10-game winning streak snapped.

Arizona State's biggest stop came on UCLA's last possession. Trailing by three with 11 seconds remaining, the Bruins didn't even get off a shot. They desperately passed the ball among Darren Collison, Michael Roll and Josh Shipp for a 3-point attempt that never happened before the final buzzer.

NCAA Free Pick: Providence – Best Line: +5.5 Sports Interaction

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