NCAA Basketball Betting: Handicapping Saturday's College Schedule
by Robert Ferringo - 2/28/2014
There is a host of big games on the schedule for Saturday. Wichita State’s is attempting a perfect regular season. Louisville heads to Memphis and Texas travels to Oklahoma in two games featuring Top 25 opponents and regional rivals. And perhaps the biggest game on Saturday’s card is the de facto ACC title game between Syracuse and Virginia.
But I’m digging a little deeper here. Below is a look at five games that aren’t going to be on the radars of casual fans. But each of these contests will play an important role in sorting out conference tournament seeding as well as the NCAA Tournament field.
(The spreads are my own projections. However, you can find current college basketball odds here.)
Massachusetts (+2.5) at Dayton (11 a.m.)
This is a big game for both teams. Neither is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, and both are scrapping for favorable position in the Atlantic 10 tourney. The top four seeds in the conference get a critical bye, and right now there are seven teams battling for those four slots.
The Minutemen have been one of the streakiest teams in college basketball this year. And right now they are hot, winning three straight and five of six. They won at George Washington on Feb. 15, and senior Chaz Williams and Co. want to keep their momentum going.
The Flyers are coming off a blowout loss at St. Joseph’s, but prior to that they had been riding a six-game winning streak of their own. Dayton is one of the toughest venues in the league to get a win. And the home team has won five of six in this series. The favorite is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings, but Massachusetts is 7-3 ATS when these two play.
Colorado (+6) at Utah (2 p.m.)
This is another game featuring two teams battling for some of the last at-large berths available for the NCAA Tournament. Colorado was a lock to go dancing two months ago. But a late slide, corresponding with the injury to leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie, has them feeling a bit nervous.
Utah is nothing but confident. They are an amazing 17-2 straight up at home this year, including wins over Arizona State and UCLA in league play. Utah has been explosive offensively, and forward Jordan Loveridge is one of the most unheralded players in the country.
Colorado has been efficient. They win at home, and they have beaten the teams they are supposed to beat. But they were blown out by 27 points by Arizona last Sunday, and that loss could linger. Utah has revenge in this game for an overtime loss at Boulder back on Feb. 1, but the Buffs have won seven of the last eight meetings, and the underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven.
California (+5.5) at Arizona State (6 p.m.)
It seems like everyone is on the bubble in the Pac-12! And these two are no exception. But they come into this game on opposite ends of a momentum spectrum. Arizona State just earned one of its most important wins of the season, downing Stanford 76-64. Cal was torched by Arizona, 87-59, and that is now two of three blowout losses for the Bears.
This is another rematch of an overtime game from the first meeting. Arizona State outscored Cal 17-6 in overtime back on Jan. 29 for an 89-78 win in a game where the Golden Bears blew a six-point lead with just 26 seconds left. This one will also feature a matchup of two of the best point guards in the country, with Cal’s Justin Cobbs facing Arizona State’s Jahii Carson.
The road team is an exceptional 17-6 ATS in the last 23 meetings between these two teams, and Arizona State is 3-1 ATS in the last four. Cal’s Jordan Matthews is questionable with an ankle injury in this one for Cal, which has gone 1-4 ATS in its last five road games.
Columbia (+8.5) at Harvard (6:30 p.m.)
It is Senior Night at Harvard, and this is a big one for the Crimson. They needed overtime to take down Columbia in New York on Feb. 14, and the Lions are very capable of pulling the upset here. Columbia is the third-place team in the Ivy League and very capable of springing the upset. Two of the last four meetings have gone to overtime, and three of the last five have been determined by five points or less.
Harvard has just a one-game lead for the Ivy League title over Yale. Harvard and Yale will square off in what is essentially the Ivy League championship game next Friday in Connecticut. Are the Crimson looking past Columbia to next week’s showdown? We’ll see.
Gonzaga (Pk) at St. Mary’s (10 p.m.)
This is one of the games I focused on when discussing the importance and difficulty of handicapping Senior Night. And this has also been one of the biggest rivalries in college basketball over the past decade.
Gonzaga just wrapped up the outright regular season title in the West Coast Conference with an easy 70-53 win over Pacific on Thursday. It was one of their best performances of the season and came at a time when the Bulldogs had really played their way onto the NCAA Tournament bubble.
This will be a hyper-emotional game for the Gaels. Not only are they at home against their hated rivals, but also this is a revenge game for a 22-point bludgeoning that they took back on Jan. 2. It is also Senior Night for their three senior starters. St. Mary’s is not a team on the bubble, and they need to win the WCC Tournament in order to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament. They have an outside shot at earning the No. 2 seed – and a double-bye into the semifinals – if they can win this game and get a lot of help.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sport and one of the top college handicappers in the country. Robert has posted 10 of 13 winning college hoops weeks and 17 of 20 winning college hoops months. He has banked nearly $8,000 in profit with his side plays this year and nearly $15,000 in profit since Nov. 11, 2012. Robert is a profit machine and you can take advantage of our free, no-strings-attached $60 credit to use toward a purchase of Robert’s college basketball selections. CLICK HERE for $60 absolutely free!
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