It's my final 3-Point Play of the 2016-17 college basketball regular season, although I will go into the postseason as long as possible - usually to the Final Four (although perhaps not daily). Don't forget there are also a couple of other postseason tournaments other than the Big Dance. You can probably expect odds on the National Player of the Year at the various sportsbooks on Monday after the regular season concludes. It's probably a three-man race between Villanova's Josh Hart, Kansas' Frank Mason III and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan. I'm not sure Purdue is good enough for Swanigan to win it. Mason was the slight favorite on Bovada's most recent odds , and with KU the No. 1 team in the nation he's probably the guy to back.
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No. 1 Kansas at Oklahoma State ( pick'em )
Big 12 game at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN. I believe Oklahoma State is great value here (although must admit I thought OSU would be getting a few points). The Pokes appear safely in the NCAA Tournament as a projected No. 7 seed by ESPN. Kansas really has nothing to play for but pride as it already has wrapped up a 13th straight Big 12 regular-season title and the top seed in next week's conference tournament. I suppose if KU lost here it could jeopardize its chances for the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance, but more likely than not it will be the No. 1 in the Midwest Region regardless.
I won't be picking Kansas to win it all because it tends to fall behind to inferior teams but then manage to stage a ridiculous rally to win. The Jayhawks did that again Monday on Senior Night at Allen Fieldhouse vs. Oklahoma, falling behind 54-42 before finishing the game on a 31-11 run. Mason had 23 in his final collegiate home game. Freshman Josh Jackson had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and he'll never play in Lawrence again as a lock Top-5 pick this summer. OSU had a five-game winning streak end Tuesday in an 86-83 loss at Iowa State. The Cowboys are now 1-6 vs. ranked teams this year. They lost at Kansas 87-80 on Jan. 14 despite leading into the second half. Mason had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. That was part of Oklahoma State's 0-6 start in Big 12 play.
Key trends: KU is 5-12 against the spread after a win. The Cowboys are 8-1 ATS in their past nine on Saturday. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings.
I'm leaning: When's the last time the No. 1 team was a dog vs. an unranked foe? I still like OSU.
No. 17 Duke at No. 5 North Carolina (-6)
ACC game at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. I believe I am contractually obligated to write about any UNC-Duke game just like ESPN is required to televise them. The game matters, as it usually does. The first-place Heels lead Notre Dame by a game - the Irish are likely to lose Saturday at No. 8 Louisville so UNC should be the outright champion regardless of this result. Duke is in a three-way tie for third with the Cardinals and Florida State. A Top-4 finish earns a double-bye in the ACC Tournament.
Carolina had its four-game winning streak end in a 53-43 loss at No. 23 Virginia on Monday night, by far UNC's worst offensive game of the season. Potential ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson, who arrived averaging 19.9 points in league play, had just seven points and was 3-for-10 from the field. North Carolina, averaging 86.2 points, scored just four points in the game's last 9:26. The 43 points scored were the school's fewest since February 1979. Duke ended a two-game losing streak with a 75-70 home win over No. 15 Florida State on Tuesday. Both Amile Jefferson and Grayson Allen were questionable but played: Jefferson had 14 points and 11 rebounds in his final game at Cameron Indoor, while Allen was a non-factor in 16 minutes. Duke beat UNC 86-78 on Feb. 9. Allen had 25 points. There were 17 lead changes, nine ties and neither team leading by more than eight points.
Key trends: The Blue Devils are 3-10-1 ATS in their past 14 road games. The Heels are 4-1 ATS in their past five. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
I'm leaning: North Carolina.
Washington State at No. 3 UCLA (-21)
Pac-12 game at 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Bruins are probably out of luck in terms of sharing the Pac-12 regular-season title as they are a game behind Oregon and Arizona, and both the Ducks and Wildcats should win Saturday at Oregon State and Arizona State, respectively. This will certainly be the final home game for UCLA star freshman Lonzo Ball as he'll be a Top-5 pick this summer and will only play for the Lakers if you listen to his screwball dad. Ball has been fabulous this season and has the second-most assists in Pac-12 history with 227. He's just two behind Gary Payton's record set in the 1986-87 season. Ball leads the nation in assists at 7.6 per game. Will UCLA have fellow star freshman T.J. Leaf? He left Wednesday's 98-66 blowout of Washington with a sprained left ankle. It sounds like Leaf will sit and target the Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA doesn't need him to beat Wazzu.
Washington State is 10th in the conference. It had a two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday in an 89-64 loss at USC. Senior Josh Hawkinson, the team's only good player, finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He has 989 career rebounds and is just three shy of the WSU record of 992 rebounds held by Steve Puidokas (1974-77). Wazzu hosted UCLA on Feb. 1 and lost 95-79. Leaf had 32 points and 14 rebounds, while Ball had 14 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and five assists. UCLA shot 57.6 percent from the field despite going 3-for-16 from long range.
Key trends: The Cougars are 1-4 ATS in their past five vs. teams with a winning record. The Bruins are 6-2 ATS in their past eight on Saturday. The home team is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings.
I'm leaning: UCLA.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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