Sunday NCAAB Picks

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Sunday, January 18.

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LaSalle at Xavier, 12:00PM ET

Xavier had to dodge an upset bid in its last game to remain unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play, but such threats have been almost nonexistent from conference foes at the Cintas Center in recent seasons.

A win Sunday against La Salle would be the 18th straight in the Atlantic 10 at home for the 15th-ranked Musketeers, who've used consistently staunch defense to win their last five games overall.

The Musketeers (14-2, 3-0) cruised to their first two league wins, beating Saint Louis and Fordham by 26 points each while shooting a combined 52.8 percent from the field in those games.

Their offense stumbled at Rhode Island on Thursday, but they held on for a 67-65 win despite shooting just 38.9 percent. The Rams were even worse from the field, becoming the sixth straight Xavier opponent to make less than 40 percent of its shots.

The Explorers have dropped 12 straight games against ranked opponents dating to the 2000-01 season, getting outscored by an average of 18.7 points. They've also lost 13 of their last 15 versus Xavier.

NCAA Free Pick: Xavier View Game Matchup | Best Line: -12.5

Iowa at Purdue, 12:00PM ET

Purdue has enjoyed few easy moments during the early portion of the Big Ten schedule.

After avoiding another upset in its last contest, the 19th-ranked Boilermakers look for a more decisive effort Sunday while trying for a third straight victory overall and fourth in a row over struggling Iowa at Mackey Arena.

Even with Robbie Hummel back in the starting lineup and defensive specialist Chris Kramer able to log major minutes, Purdue (13-4, 2-2) still needed to overcome a 13-point second-half deficit to earn a 63-61 victory at Northwestern on Thursday.

The victory showed the Boilermakers' resiliency, and also prevented their chances of a Big Ten title from taking a severe hit before the conference season really got started.

The Hawkeyes have lost their last seven road games versus ranked opponents dating to a 70-67 win at then-No. 24 Indiana on Feb. 11, 2006.

NCAA Free Pick: Iowa View Game Matchup | Best Line: +13.5

Minnesota at Northwestern, 2:00PM ET

One game removed from a remarkable comeback victory, the last thing surging Minnesota needs is a letdown.

The 18th-ranked Golden Gophers look for their fifth straight victory on Sunday when they travel to face struggling Northwestern in a Big Ten matchup.

If Minnesota (16-1, 4-1) needed to further justify its strong start, it did so with a 78-74 overtime victory at Wisconsin on Thursday. The Gophers rallied from 14 down in the second half for their first recognized victory at Wisconsin since 1992.

They won there in 1994, but that was tainted by the academic scandal under former coach Clem Haskins.

While the Gophers handed the Badgers just their ninth loss at the Kohl Center in eight seasons under coach Bo Ryan, it also kept Minnesota alone in second place behind 5-0 Michigan State.

The 6-foot-8 Coble is averaging 16.0 points while shooting 52.5 percent in five games versus Minnesota.

NCAA Free Pick: Minnesota  View Game Matchup | Best Line: +1

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Posted: 1/18/09 10:36AM ET

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