Free College Basketball Picks Tuesday 3/10/2020 and Opening Line Report
It's Championship week, and Tuesday's slate has five championship games where mid-major teams will not only win a conference title, but they'll also win a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Horizon League, Colonial, Northeast Conference, West Coast Conference, and the Summit League all conclude on Tuesday. Who will win and who will go home? Here are the early leans for these exciting championship matchups.
Illinois Chicago vs. Northern Kentucky 3/10/20 (-4.5, 135.5)
The Horizon Championship should be a good one. Illinois Chicago knocked off the number one seed in Wright State, while Northern Kentucky won their 2-3 matchup at the two seed over Green Bay. UIC is getting hot at the perfect time. They've now won four of their last five outright. And don't forget, this four seed beat Northern Kentucky 73-43 on the road the last time they met. With the way UIC is playing right now, they should be able to finish the job over Northern Kentucky. I was impressed with Northern Kentucky's defense against Green Bay. In fact, UIC scored 73 points and since then Northern Kentucky hasn't allowed 70 points against again. I've got the four seed winning the Horizon League and moving on to the NCAA Tournament.
Key trends: Flames are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Early lean: Illinois Chicago, Under
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Northeastern vs. Hofstra 3/10/20 (-1.5, 137.5)
The CAA championship features the number one seeded Hofstra as they'll take on the number six seed in Northeastern. Hofstra has won 25 games this season and were the clear favorites coming in. Northeastern has won 17 games and were sub-par all season. The last time these two teams played against each other, Hofstra pulled away in a 75-71 victory at home. Hofstra also won on the road, 74-72 in January. These teams play close every time. Hofstra seems like they never finish the job and get to the NCAA Tournament. This year, it's a different vibe. Losing Justin Wright-Foreman wasn't fun, but this team has so much more balance this season. They also have three seniors in the starting lineup. I've got Hofstra, as a small favorite, to win the Colonial Athletic Association.
Key trends: Pride are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
Early lean: Hofstra, Over
St. Francis vs. Robert Morris 3/10/20 (+1.5, 142)
In the Northeast Conference Championship, we've got the two top seeded dueling it out for a chance at the NCAA Tournament. St Francis has blown away their first two opponents to get to the finals with wins over Bryant and Sacred Heart. St Francis' offense has been stellar, scoring an average of 85.5 points in the tournament. Robert Morris escaped an upset to Saint Francis Brooklyn in the quarterfinals, winning 59-58. Then, Robert Morris dominated LIU Brooklyn in the semi-finals, and we all saw why Robert Morris was the one seed. These teams split the season series. St Francis won 86-71 at home while Robert Morris won 78-68 at their home. In the NEC, the higher seed gets the home game. Give me Robert Morris at home to win the NEC as slight underdogs!
Key trends: Colonials are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Early lean: Robert Morris, Over
St. Mary's vs. Gonzaga 3/10/20 (-9, 145.5)
I live on the East Coast and last night is the perfect example on why it stinks. St. Mary's pulled away in the final second against BYU as Jordan Ford drilled a mid-range jumper to move on to the WCC Finals. Does St. Mary's have it in them to defeat Gonzaga and upset the Bulldogs for another time? St. Mary's will do whatever it takes to win basketball games. They shut BYU down to just 50 points in the semis but can also score at will if it comes down to it. Gonzaga escaped a semifinals scare to San Francisco with an 81-77 win. The Dons always give Gonzaga a battle, but the Zags always find a way. Gonzaga is the better offensive team against St. Mary's. And if they're able to get up and down the court a little quicker, the Zags should win another WCC title. Just not against
the spread. St. Mary's will keep it close.
Key trends: Bulldogs are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Early lean: St. Mary's, Over
North Dakota vs North Dakota State 3/10/20 (-6, 143)
For the Summit League Championship, a team in North Dakota will win the title. That I can promise. North Dakota State has won 24 games this season and have put together an incredible season. North Dakota, at 15-17, probably shouldn't be this deep in the tournament as a six seed. But here they are. It's the 1 vs. the 6 for the Summit League Championship and a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. In the last meeting between these two teams, North Dakota defeated North Dakota State at home, 71-68. North Dakota State split the season series with an 83-74 win in January. This is a rivalry game with a lot at stake. North Dakota has won two straight games in the Summit to get to this point. This team started the journey with just 13 wins on their resume. Now they've got 15 and they're looking for 16, and Summit Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. I'm not sure they get it, but I'm sure it's going to be a close game. Take the points.
Key trends: Bison are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Tue. games.
Early lean: North Dakota, Under
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