NCAAB Top Picks for November 7: Regional Rivalry Matchups on Opening Day

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Jordan Wright #4 of the Vanderbilt Commodores takes a jump shot against the BYU Cougars. Darryl Oumi/Getty Images/AFP.

There are mismatches galore on Opening Day of the college basketball betting season. Still, a couple of collisions between regional rivals at least provide competitive contests to help tip things off.

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La Salle Explorers vs. Villanova Wildcats

Monday, November 7, 2022 – 06:30 PM EST at Finneran Pavilion

There was a time not that long ago that a ticket to a Philadelphia Big 5 contest on the first day of a new college hoops season would have been more popular than any other game, but while the old rivalry has waned, Monday’s matchup between La Salle and Villanova is still a big deal.

Dunphy at 3rd Big 5 School

Knowns as ‘Mr. Big 5’ even before returning to his alma mater as La Salle’s head coach, Fran Dunphy will be making his debut for the Explorers and head up his third Big 5 program when he leads his team out on the floor at Villanova.

It’s big news when a team gets hit hard in the transfer portal, but the sales job Dunphy did keeping more La Salle players from leaving is also noteworthy. The Explorers scored big, literally and figuratively, by coaxing twin forwards Hassan and Fousseyni Drame from Saint Peter’s.

‘Nova Also Breaking in New Coach

For the first time in more than 20 years, there will also be a new coach on the Villanova bench. Jay Wright stepped down after last year’s Final Four appearance, and Kyle Neptune – one of Wright’s longtime assistants – now has the reins.

Villanova lost a huge contributor from the past few seasons when Collin Gillespie departed for the NBA, but the Wildcats have plenty of talent in his place. Caleb Daniels and Eric Dixon are among the key returning players, with top recruits Brendan Hausen and Cam Whitmore, the new guys to watch.

Explorers Have Dropped Last 8 Meetings

One reason for the rivalry slipping back into the shadows on the national scene has been Villanova’s overall dominance against the other four teams, with the Wildcats winning the last eight against the Explorers, and 18 of the last 19.

That is expected to continue according to the best sportsbooks. The Wildcats are favored by 15 ½ with the total running 139-140, and the right play is the final score stopping short of the mark.

NCAAB Pick: Under 139½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 139½ (-108)
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Memphis Tigers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

Monday, November 7, 2022 - 08:00 PM EST at Memorial Gymnasium

From 1995-2008, you might catch Penny Hardaway and Jerry Stackhouse competing against one another as NBA players.

Monday night, you can catch them competing against one another as head coaches on the collegiate hardwood as Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers travel to meet Stackhouse and the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Memphis Favored by a Bucket

In their first time to match wits as NCAA coaches, it's Hardaway’s Tigers who are favored by 2 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) over Stackhouse’s Commodores.

Monday night scoreboard target is running 140-141 at various outlets.

How Can Vandy Make Up for Pippen’s Departure?

Hardaway hauled in the top recruiting class a couple of years ago and went the other direction this past offseason by importing solid talent through the transfer portal. Kendric Davis (SMU) and Keonte Kennedy (UTEP) are among the transfers and are expected to start immediately in the Memphis backcourt.

Picked last by most pundits in the SEC, Stackhouse nonetheless returns three starters from a Commodores team that made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT a season ago. Those three players – Jordan Wright, Myles Stute, and Quentin Millora-Brown – combined for 18 points and more than 15 boards per game.

As nice as it is for Vanderbilt to have a trio of experienced players back, it remains to be seen just how Stackhouse and the Commodores will deal with the loss of Scotty Pippen Jr., who is now with the Los Angeles Lakers.

First Meeting Since ‘05

With there being just a little more than 200 miles between the schools, one might think the Tigers and Commodores would get together more frequently and schedule more early-season nonconference contests.

But that isn’t the case, with Monday’s meeting the first since 2005, and even that was something of an accident on the slate since it came in the quarterfinals of the NIT. Memphis won it and covered the NCAAB odds, but Vanderbilt has the 8-5 all-time edge.

Home ‘Dogs the Right Play

Vanderbilt is hoping that UC-Davis transfer Ezra Manjon can fill in for some of Pippen’s lost scoring, and also would love to see 7-foot Liam Robbins – former transfer from Minnesota – can stay healthy to provide a presence in the paint this season.

Memphis has the better pedigree in this matchup, but the Commodores are the better college basketball pick as a small home underdog.

NCAAB Pick: Vanderbilt +2 (-105) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Vanderbilt +2 (-105)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.