VAVEL College Basketball Pick 'Em Christmas Week Edition

A special week of games begins tonight between two teams from power conferences in the Oregon Ducks and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

However, throughout the week, the anticipation will be building up for Monmouth-Cornell to see what the Hawks' bench has in store. Okay we're just kidding actually, unless you haven't seen what Monmouth's bench has offered. Below is a video on why Monmouth's bench is the best in basketball as they continue to be a highlight reel of their own.

Matchup Of The Week

Without a doubt, the game of the week is the intrastate rivalry matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals. 2012 was the last time the Rick Pitino coached team beat John Calipari's Wildcats.

Pitino's side boasts one of the best all-around teams in the country. The Cardinals ranked 12th in the nation in scoring at 86 points per game and 2nd in the nation in opponents points per game, giving up 55.6 points per game. Kentucky on the other hand scores about eight points less and gives up ten points more.

Rebounding has been an Achilles heel for the Wildcats in their two upsets. In those two losses to UCLA and Ohio State, the Wildcats have been slightly outrebounded a combined 80-77, but it felt like they were being dominated on the glass both times, especially against UCLA. Louisville ranked ninth in the country in rebounds per game at 44.2 so Kentucky has to be wary of that.

Jamal Murray leads the Kentucky side averaging just over 17 points and 4 rebounds a game. The freshman is coming off a career-high 33 points in the loss against Ohio State. Louisville on the other hand is led by Damion Lee. Lee averages over 18 points and just under 5 boards a game.

VAVEL Writer's Picks

Irby Klinger Anderson Alberto Thomas
Oregon - Alabama Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Alabama
Virginia Tech - St. Joseph's St. joe's St. Joe's Virginia Tech St. Joe's Virginia Tech
BYU - Harvard BYU BYU Harvard BYU BYU
Iowa State - Cincinnati Cincy Iowa State Iowa State Iowa State Iowa State
Vanderbilt - Purdue Purdue Vanderbilt Purdue Purdue Purdue
Cal - Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia
South Dakota - UNLV UNLV UNLV UNLV South Dakota UNLV
Colorado - Penn St Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado
Oklahoma - Washington St Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
Monmouth - Cornell Monmouth Monmouth Monmouth Monmouth Monmouth
Missouri - Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois Missouri
Louisville - Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Louisville Louisville
This Week's Record 10-2 10-2 11-1 9-3 7-5
Overall Record 26-10 25-11 25-11 22-14 20-16
Handel White Splane Evans* Steinmetz*
Oregon - Alabama Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
Virginia Tech - St. Joseph's Virginia Tech St. Joe's Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
BYU - Harvard BYU BYU BYU BYU BYU
Iowa State - Cincinnati Iowa State Iowa State Iowa State Iowa State Cincy
Vanderbilt - Purdue Purdue Vanderbilt Purdue Purdue Vanderbilt
Cal - Virginia Virginia Virginia Virginia Cal Virginia
South Dakota - UNLV UNLV South Dakota UNLV South Dakota UNLV
Colorado - Penn St Penn St Penn St Colorado Colorado Colorado
Oklahoma - Washington St Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
Monmouth - Cornell Monmouth Monmouth Cornell Monmouth Monmouth
Missouri - Illinois Illinois Missouri Illinois Illinois Missouri
Louisville - Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Louisville Louisville
This Week's Record 9-3 7-5 9-3 7-5 6-6
Overall Record 21-15 18-18 19-17 7-5 6-6

*denotes no picks for the first two weeks

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