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Bettor's Guide to Handicapping NCAA Basketball This Weekend

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Bettor's Guide to Handicapping NCAA Basketball This Weekend
Trent Frazier #1 of the Illinois Fighting Illini against the Baylor Bears. Photo by ANDY LYONS / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

It is the final weekend of the regular season for college basketball, and much is to be determined about how the seeds will work out for when the majority of the conference tournaments are played.

Time to cue the old school Barry Manilow hit song that sums up this college basketball season (“Looks Like We Made It”). We, like everyone, had our doubts, and the ride was choppy and bumpy from time to time for everyone involved. We slightly changed the words from comedian Larry the Cable Guy to describe the regular season, but we “Got’er Done”.

For this weekend, we explore meaningful conflicts around the country and try to figure out who to take against the college basketball odds at various betting sites. As has been the case all season, we project the lines as best we can since this is done in advance and use astute power ratings to get as close as possible.

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Florida State Seminoles vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Saturday, March 6, 2021 – 12:00 PM ET at Purcell Pavilion

Florida State can lock up a second ACC regular-season crown with a victory, having a higher win percentage over Virginia, no matter what they do. Though the Seminoles are 11-3 and 9-4-1 ATS in conference play, there could be some general concern. On the road this season, the Noles are 3-3 and 2-3-1 ATS, winning by just 1.3 points a contest. 

Nonetheless, Notre Dame has dropped four straight (0-4 ATS) and is back to playing no defense in permitting 79.5 PPG in this harrowing stretch. Florida State covers and is the top seed.            

College Basketball Picks: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 4:00 PM ET at Value City Arena

Possibly the most impressive performance in a matchup of Top 25 teams this season was Illinois over Michigan last Tuesday. Not only did the Fighting Illini run roughshod over the Wolverines in winning by 23 at Ann Arbor, but they also did so without their best player Ayo Dosunmu. 

Brad Underwood’s team has manned-up on defense since being manhandled at Michigan State, allowing under 39 on average in this span. Ohio State is reeling with three straight losses and no covers. The Buckeyes have turned defenseless, allowing foes to shoot over 48% on average in this downward spiral, falling to 217th in defensive efficiency. With the Illini hot and playing with revenge, a slight lean on them for our NCAAB picks.

College Basketball Picks:

USC vs UCLA
Jaime Jaquez Jr. #4 of the UCLA Bruins against USC. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images/AFP

USC Trojans vs. UCLA Bruins

Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 4:00 PM ET at Pauley Pavilion

Oregon has climbed to the top of the Pac-12 standings, but the winner of this Battle of L.A. could still win the conference title if the Ducks falter at rival Oregon State Sunday night, based on win percentage. 

USC appeared a lock for their first outright title in five decades, that was before closing February 1-3 SU and ATS. The Trojans regained some confidence back in slamming Stanford by 35 on Wednesday. 

UCLA is 4-4 SU since February and is running hot and cold. Both offenses are in the 30 to 45 range of offense efficiency. It’s on defense that matters with the Men of Troy 35th and the Bruins 188. Let's take USC with the points at the best betting sites.

College Basketball Picks: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

Duke vs. North Carolina
Garrison Brooks #15 of the North Carolina Tar Heels goes up against Jordan Goldwire #14 of the Duke Blue Devils. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Saturday, March 6, 2021 - 6:00 PM ET at Dean E. Smith Center

This is not the classic matchup of years prior, but Duke vs. North Carolina means competitive basketball. North Carolina will look to impose their will on the backboard, which is their key strength. Don’t be shocked to see Duke use some zone with the Tar Heels being a weak outside shooting team, averaging just over 30% behind the arc, with a meager five made 3’s a contest. 

Duke was playing better, but after two consecutive defeats, their continued lack of defensive at 46.2% allowed and 223rd in defensive efficiency is problematic. This is a strange rivalry, with the visitor normally covering, and we’ll lean that way.

College Basketball Picks: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

Houston Cougars vs. Memphis Tigers

Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 12:00 PM ET at FedExForum

This matchup features the Top 2 clubs in college hoops in points permitted per 100 possessions. Memphis has the top spot; however, the Tigers and the Cougars will take the life out of any offense. The winner secures the second seed in the AAC behind Wichita State, yet, they will probably be the conference tourney favorite at online sportsbooks.

 This one comes down to offense and who can avoid the longest drought. Houston is the better shooting team, who is also more accurate from deep. The Cougs can also put together runs, which should be the difference-maker.

College Basketball Picks: Houston -3 to -4 at Heritage Sports (visit our Sportsbook Review)

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Final

Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 2:10 pm ET at Enterprise Center

This is annually one of the best conference tournaments each year that gets showcased on CBS the first week of March Madness. We don’t know who is playing in this contest yet, but we suspect Loyola-Chicago and Drake are in the confrontation, as they were dominant all year. If we are lucky enough to get this matchup, it should be special. 

Loyola-Chicago has a more varied offense than Drake, which should be the difference. The only other team with a chance to reach the title game is Missouri State, who was definitely the third-best club in The Valley. If they face the Ramblers, the Bears would be about 7-point underdogs with a shot to beat the spread.

College Basketball Picks: Loyola-Chicago -2 to -3 at Bovada (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.