YTD: 124-122-6 (We're officially handing out NCAA Tournament bids today. Let's fucking go)
Missouri State -2.5
Belmont -3 (OVC Championship Game)
Note: We are officially entering the best 3 week stretch of the year. We have conference tournaments starting tonight. The regular season is ending in major conferences this week too. Next week we have all the major conference tournaments underway and then bam the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Just the best. I'll give out some conference tournament picks as I see them and anything sticks out.
Wisconsin at Indiana (-1.5/129.5)
Wisconsin is one of the hottest teams in the country. However, their winning streak has been understandable. Don't get me wrong, you have to win games and that's impressive, but outside of the Michigan win at Michigan, they've been all expected wins. Now you go to Indiana, who is moving safely in to the Tournament but probably wants one more quality win just to seal it up without any question considering the Big 10 Tournament will be mayhem. Wisconsin wants to beat you by shooting threes right now. They are 30th in the country in 3PA/FGA. Indiana should challenge that and then use Trayce Jackson-Davis to clean up defensive rebounds. I'll take the home team.
Pick: Indiana -1.5
Western Carolina vs Mercer (+1.5/152)
The SoCon Tournament is going to be awesome. The top-3 seeds are all damn good teams in ETSU, Furman and UNC-Greensboro. So this 4/5 matchup is wildly entertaining. Mercer is one of the hotter teams in the country, winning 4 in a row and 11 of the last 14. WCU lives and dies by the three. They are coached by Skip Prosser's son and you can see has a similar coaching pattern to his dad. That said, we're going to take the hot hand here getting a free point.
Pick: Mercer +1.5
Drexel vs UNC-Wilmington (+4/139.5)
This is why I love this time of the year. We're starting to get into the mid/low-major games where you just start seeing weird things. We're heading to the CAA Tournament for this one. Drexel has lost its last 7 and 10 out of 11. Wilmington just beat them in the second to last game of the year. It's going to be an ugly game, don't get me wrong both of these teams suck. That said, I'll take the points.
Pick: UNC-Wilmington +4
UNC at Duke (-10.5/153)
I don't care that UNC sucks this year. Getting double digit points in this game - as we saw in game 1 at UNC - just feels like an auto bet. UNC is also playing its best basketball of the year right now, winning 3 in a row and actually shooting the ball well. Again, it just feels wrong that any game between these two teams will be double digit spread wise (insert the graphic that everyone knows showing how they've scored the same amount of points). I don't see a let down spot here for UNC or anything like that, even on the road.
Pick: UNC +10.5
Valpo vs Missouri State (-2.5/139.5)
Shit got weird at Arch Madness yesterday. The top-3 seeds (UNI, Loyola and Indiana State) all lost. It's not surprising that Missouri State advanced as the 6 seed, they were favored yesterday. They also have probably the best player left in the tournament in Gaige Prim. Both teams split the regular season, winning at home. Two key things here for Missouri State - they are dominant on the offensive glass and Valpo really struggles rebounding the ball. That should be some free points there. The other thing is Valpo isn't a good 3pt defensive team and while Missouri State doesn't launch a lot of threes, they shoot it at 35% as a team.
Pick: Missouri State -2.5
Murray State vs Belmont (-3/139)
Without a doubt the best game today. It's the OVC title game. It's the two best teams in the conference. Belmont should 100% dominate the turnover game. They force turnovers on nearly 20% of possessions defensively, while Murray State is turnover prone. That could be massive in a short spread game. The key is going to be whether or not Belmont can get its offense going with Murray State's ability to take away the 3pt line. Inside KJ Williams vs Nick Muszynski is going to be awesome. Going to trust that Belmont will win the TO battle, get free points and then hit enough threes to get over that number.
Pick: Belmont -3
San Francisco vs Pacific (+2.5/134.5)
San Francisco had a blow out win last night. Pacific on the other hand didn't have to play with the way the WCC Tournament is set up, with teams getting byes. Feel like we see this a lot. Team who played the night before gets out to a lead, typically winning at halftime. Team that didn't play calms down and makes a run in the second half. San Francisco is an analytics wet dream. They shoot 3s and layups. They foul and take advantage of 1-and-1s late in the half. Pacific though takes away offensive rebounds and crash the offensive glass. Both games were close, with each team winning on the road. Give me the points.
Pick: Pacific +2.5
Stanford at Oregon (-7.5/133)
Pretty simple here. Playing a spot play. Oregon needs to win this game for at least a share of the Pac-12 title. It's also Peyton Pritchard's Senior Night. I know everything going on with Chris Duarte and that's a big loss, but this just feels like a game where Oregon comes out on fire. Stanford can get turnover prone, so don't be surprised to see Oregon extend their defense and try to speed Stanford up. Really, this is just trusting the spot + Pritchard being the All-American. The other key is Stanford thrives on forcing turnovers while Oregon doesn't turn it over and when they do it's dead ball turnovers.
Pick: Oregon -7.5
Baylor at West Virginia (-1/130.5)
Again, I hate taking road teams, but feel like I have to here. Baylor needs a win in order to have a shot at winning a share of the Big 12 title. The question is will Mark Vital play for Baylor, one of the most important players in the country because of what he's able to do for Baylor defensively. That said, WVU's. guards are just terrible. Even without Vital, Baylor's guards should eat up WVU defensively, even on the road. WVU has lost 6 of 8, 2 of which were at home, so it's not like it's an impossible place to win this year either. I am concerned about WVU's ability to get free points on offensive rebounds (they are the best offensive rebounding team in the country). But, I trust Baylor's defense vs WVU's guards here.
Pick: Baylor +1