Providence Friars vs. Seton Hall Pirates
The Friars are on the NCAA tournament bubble, and since Seton Hall has been struggling for much of this season – at least to the extent that the Pirates do not represent a breakthrough kind of victory for an opponent – Providence has to be able to beat the Hall to avoid suffering a huge dent in its NCAA case. The Friars would move down several spots relative to the bubble and other bubble contenders if they lose this game. Seton Hall, thanks to a recent run of good play, is the favorite in this game on its home court in Newark, N.J. However, the sense here is that Providence is going to put together a strong game, since it should have all the motivation it needs and then some in this case.
Pick: Providence +3
Iona Gaels vs. Manhattan Jaspers
We stay in the north east for the second of our NCAA Basketball picks. This is a game in which Iona won’t be as motivated as Manhattan. Iona leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference by two full games with only two games left in the regular season. The Gaels can afford to lose this game on the road and yet still win the MAAC in their 18th and final league game this upcoming weekend. Manhattan is three games behind Iona and is trying to fight for third place in the conference, so that it can avoid Iona until the finals of the MAAC Tournament if the two teams do meet in that event. Iona is going to be the top seed in its conference tournament, so by getting the third seed, Manhattan would play the second seed in a potential semifinal, moving out of Iona’s path until the championship round. That’s going to help Manhattan here, as will home court. Iona will cover the spread, though.
Pick: Iona +5
This is a game that Washington should win. The Huskies lost at Washington State earlier in the season, so they should be ready to gain revenge here. Playing at home will also propel Washington’s efforts against one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 Conference. Washington State just isn’t a very deep team. It doesn’t have a lot of high-end scorers and secondary options at the offensive end of the court. Washington State doesn’t have a low-post offense. It doesn’t get a lot of scoring near the rim. The Cougars used a big run midway through the second half to beat Washington the last time the two teams played. Being on the road in this game, it’s going to be hard for Washington State to use adrenaline in the same way.
Pick: Washington -8[gameodds]14/259627/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]