As someone who works from home, this is one of my favorite weeks of the year because there's college basketball on to watch (and bet on) from basically noon to 2 a.m. with all the major conference tournaments ongoing and some of the smaller conferences wrapping theirs up. If this past weekend is any indication, it's going to be a really unpredictable month of March.
Boston College vs. Florida State (-13)
ACC Tournament game at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2 from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. I'll flat-out admit I'm sort of rooting for Boston College (7-24) here as it's been a rough sports year on that campus with the football team and men's basketball team both going winless in ACC play. Those clubs finished a combined 0-26 in the conference. It's the first time a school from a current Power 5 conference went winless in those two sports since Georgia did it in 1943-44, but those Dawgs played only two SEC basketball games that season. BC became the sixth men's basketball team in ACC history to go winless for a season, but the first since Maryland in 1986-87, the season after the death of Len Bias. Of Boston College's 18 ACC losses, three have been by five or fewer points.
Florida State (18-12) should be NIT-bound unless the Seminoles somehow win this tournament. This could be a pretty good team next season with a good recruiting class joining current freshmen Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley (presuming they don't turn pro), who were both named to the All-ACC Freshman Team. Bacon (15.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg) and Beasley (15.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg) rank as the top freshmen scoring duo in Florida State history and the third highest scoring freshmen duo in ACC history with a combined scoring average of 31.5 points per game. They are both going to surpass the season school record for points by a freshman in this game. FSU beat Boston College 72-62 in Chestnut Hill on Jan. 26. Beasley had 22 points. The winner faces Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
Key trends: BC has covered just six of its past 20 conference games. It is 1-6 against the spread in its past seven neutral-site games. FSU is 13-3-1 ATS in its past 17 vs. teams with a losing record.
I'm leaning: Boston College.
Grambling vs. Mississippi Valley State (Pick'em)
SWAC Tournament opening-round game at 3:30 p.m. ET from the Toyota Center in Houston. You have to love those pick'em games, no matter the level of competition. Grambling (7-23) finished last in the SWAC during the regular season. The Tigers' Nigel Ribeiro was named the conference's Freshman of the Year. Ribeiro is Grambling State's second leading scorer in averaging 11 points per game and leads in assists at 2.1 per outing. Grambling actually played respectably to close the regular season, with its final four losses all by three points or fewer. It also won at Alabama A&M last Thursday for its only conference road victory of the year.
MVSU (6-26) was 2-0 vs. Grambling this season. It won 72-59 at home on Feb. 1 behind 25 points from Marcus Romain and 58-57 at Grambling on Feb. 29. Roman had 19 points and nine rebounds in that one. The winner of this game faces No. 2 seed Alcorn State in the next round. Alcorn State is ineligible to play in the NCAA Tournament because of low APR scores. Texas Southern, coached by former Indiana coach Mike Davis, is the heavy favorite to win the tournament title.
Key trends: Grambling is 0-5 ATS in its past five games. MVSU is 1-4-1 ATS in its past six.
I'm leaning: Jerry Rice's alma mater.
Pennsylvania at Princeton (-16.5)
Ivy League game at 8 p.m. ET. How much will Princeton (21-6, 11-2) really be invested in this game? Its chance to win the Ivy League regular-season title and get the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid vanished over the weekend when Princeton was upset at Harvard on Friday and Yale won both of its games to earn its first Big Dance berth since 1962. If Princeton beats Penn, it will become the first 12-2 team to not win at least a share of the Ivy title since 2003. With a Top 40 RPI, the Tigers are likely to earn a bid to the NIT.
Penn (11-16, 5-8) enters on a three-game losing streak after losing at Dartmouth and Harvard over the weekend. This is the final game on the Ivy League 2015-16 schedule. Penn hosted Princeton on Jan. 9 and lost 73-71 in overtime in the conference opener for both. The Tigers' Devin Cannady forced OT on a jumper with 20 seconds left in regulation. Penn jumped out to a five-point lead in the overtime, but Princeton responded by scoring the game's final seven points -- all at the free-throw line.
Key trends: Penn is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 Tuesday games. Princeton is 1-4 ATS in its past five at home. The Quakers are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
I'm leaning: Penn.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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