NCAA Basketball Picks Of The Day: Win Big With Thursday's Top Plays

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 10:00 PM GMT

The University of Hawaii basketball team hasn't won a regular-season conference championship in 14 years but that could change Thursday with a victory. Here are my top three picks around the nation for the night on BetOnline's NCAA Basketball odds.

Hawaii vs. UC Davis (+8.5) 
This is an important season for Hawaii (23-4, 12-2), which also hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2002, because the school will be banned from the postseason next year for violations committed under former coach Gib Arnold. First-year coach Eran Ganot has done a fabulous job with the team. He was a former UH assistant who most recently was associate head coach at Saint Mary's. Hawaii will clinch the top seed in the Big West Tournament with a win here as it leads second-place UC Irvine by a game and swept the season series. UH closes the regular  season with a tough game at Long Beach State, which is still mathematically alive to share the title at two games back. UC Irvine is a big favorite Thursday at home against Cal  Poly and then closes at UC Riverside, which the Anteaters also should beat. There are two player notes to be aware of here for the Rainbow Warriors. One of the team's best players, guard Roderick Bobbit (13.1 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.2 rpg), didn't start Saturday's win over Cal State Northridge for disciplinary reasons but should be back in there here. Sophomore guard Isaac Fleming suddenly left the team early this week. He was averaging 9.5 points in 23.6 minutes per night. Fleming has played in just four of the team’s last eight games, however. UC Davis (10-17, 5-9) is tied for fifth in the Big West. It lost at Hawaii 78-62 on Jan. 23. Fleming had 13 for Hawaii in that one.

Take UC Davis with your NCAA Tournament picks. The Aggies are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 games.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2938057, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: UC Davis +7.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Georgia vs. South Carolina (-6.5)    
Georgia (15-12, 8-8 SEC) won't be an NCAA Tournament team barring a run to the SEC Tournament title. The Dawgs were in consideration for the Big Dance before a recent three-game losing streak. They ended it Saturday with an 80-66 home win over Ole Miss. J.J. Frazier had 26 points and Kenny Gaines 23. Yante Maten had 19 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. Frazier is averaging 25.3 points over the past three to take over the team scoring lead. This is UGA's final true road game. South Carolina (23-6, 10-6) appears comfortably in the NCAA Tournament and is looking for a top-four finish in the SEC and a bye into the conference tournament quarterfinals. The Gamecocks are off a 68-58 loss at Mississippi State, however, to fall out of the Top 25. This is the school's home finale. Michael Carrera, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, will be among the seniors honored. USC lost at Georgia 69-56 on Feb. 2. The Dawgs led by 10 at the half and never gave up the lead. Maten, Gaines and Frazier combined for 48 points. South Carolina is 31-18 all-time in the series at home.  

South Carolina at NCAA Tournament odds. Georgia is 2-5 ATS in its past seven games. USC is 16-5 ATS in its past 21 at home. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2936710, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: South Carolina -6.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Illinois vs. No. 14 Maryland (-15)
How much motivation will Maryland have here? The Terps (23-6, 11-5) lost a chance to potentially share the Big Ten regular-season title on Tuesday when Indiana clinched the outright title with a win at Iowa -- Maryland hosts Indiana on Sunday in a game that could have meant a ton. UM still wants to finish with a top-four seed for next week's conference tournament. This is the home finale, meaning the final home game for not just senior forward Jake Layman (10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) but probably star sophomore Melo Trimble (14.2 ppg, 5.2 apg) and freshman center Diamond Stone (13.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Both are likely to leave for the NBA Draft. Trimble's stock has fallen a bit so maybe he stays, but Stone's a goner and likely lottery choice. Maryland could use some momentum entering the Big Ten Tournament as it has lost three of its past four games to slide in the polls. Illinois (13-16, 5-11) is ahead of just Minnesota and Rutgers in the conference standings. And four of the Illini's five conference wins are against those two terrible teams. They haven't faced Maryland this season and are 1-5 against ranked teams. Illinois did upset No. 11 Maryland last season, 64-57 in Champaign.

Maryland -- if this were a road game, I'd take the Illini and the points. But the Terps should play well in the home finale. Illinois is 2-6 ATS in its past eight vs. teams with a winning record.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2936707, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland -15 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage