What with conference tournament play meshing with the final Friday of the regular season it looks like there's just enough to choose from on what is usually a slim Friday night college basketball slate.
Here's our take on a couple of games for Friday, with free
picks, because we care.
Follow SBR for all of your NCAA Tournament betting needs.
Kent State +9 vs.
Akron (7 pm ET, ESPN2)
The Zips, who have already locked up the top seed in the
upcoming MAC tournament, host the rival Golden Flashes.
Akron had won 19 games in a row before losing at Buffalo
last Saturday. The Zips then bounced back to beat Miami Tuesday 72-58 to clinch
that top tournament seed.
But Akron took a severe hit late this week when starting PG
Alex Abreu, who was averaging 10 points and a team-best six assists per game,
got busted for pot. He has been suspended from the team, and the Zips are thin
Kent State, meanwhile, has won four games in a row, after
beating Bowling Green Tuesday 69-61. So the Flashes are 8-7 in MAC play, and
could use a victory to get a better seed for the MAC tournament.
In the first meeting this season between these teams Akron
rallied from down 10 points at halftime to beat KSU in Kent back in January
71-67. Abreu shot two-for-10 from the field in that game but dished out six
The Zips just managed to cover the spread that game as
3.5-point road favorites.
Our bottom line for this game goes like this; Akron has
already clinched the top seed for the conference tournament, so we wonder a bit
about its motivation. Also, the Zips have lost their starting point guard. So
we're leaning toward the underdog Flashes, getting a touchdown-plus.
Free Pick: Take
Kent State at the +9 points offered at Bookmaker.
Illinois State pick
'em vs. Northern Iowa (9:35 pm ET, ESPN3)
The Panthers and Redbirds meet for the third time this
season, in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley tournament in St.
Northern Iowa is the three seed in the MVC tournament, after
going 11-7 in conference play. The Panthers recently won six in a row, but have
lost two of their last three. Most recently they beat Illinois State last
Saturday 80-72, holding on for the cover as four-point favorites.
Illinois State is the six seed, after going a disappointing
8-10 in conference play. And the Redbirds stumbled down the stretch, losing
four of their last five games. Last time out, last Saturday, ISU lost at
Northern Iowa 80-72, although the 'Birds only trailed by a bucket with three
minutes to go. They also played much of that game without senior F Jackie
Carmichael, who was dealing with foul trouble. He's averaging 17 points and
nine boards a game this season, but only had five and six last Saturday vs. the
Illinois State has lost 14 games this season; eight have
come by seven points or less, four of those by three points or less.
Northern Iowa also beat ISU back in 70-60, pulling what was
at the time an upset as eight-point dogs.
The Redbirds would figure to get better than five points and
six boards out of Carmichael tonight, and
we give some credence to the adage about how hard it is to beat a team
three times in one season. So we're leaning toward Illinois State.
The NCAA Basketball odds on this game moved quickly from a pick 'em to
chalking the Redbirds by a point at many books early Friday morning. So we
might want to get down quick, before ISU gets bet up any further.
Free NBA Pick: Take
the Redbirds at the pick 'em (-104) offered at Pinnacle.