It’s March 1st ladies and gentlemen! You know what that means, we are going to do be doing a deep dive into college basketball over the next 30 days. With March Madness upon us, I felt it was necessary to do a betting preview for my favorite games on the slate today. We have big senior nights for senior laden teams. The first round of the ASUN is kicking off. The Big Ten regular season championship can be clinched. We have a Top 25 matchup in the Pac-12 typing off at 11 eastern. A loaded slate, and I will try to cover as much as possible.
Providence at Villanova
Spread: Villanova -10
This is one of the more interesting betting spots on the slate today. Providence has already clinched the Big East regular season title. There is also the "Providence isn’t as great as their 24-3 record suggests" narrative that has followed them all season.
It’s also Senior Day for Villanova’s senior laden squad. This is a chance for Villanova to make a big statement. The Wildcats virtually controlled the previous matchup from the opening tip. In their last four games, Providence has lost against Villanova and then has won in overtime against Depaul, Xavier, and Butler.
Going to Nova on the road is a big step up in competition. I won’t be surprised if Providence comes out flat with tired legs. So, we will go with Villanova to jump out to an early lead in this one.
The pick: Villanova (-5.5 - first half)
Dayton at Richmond
Spread: Richmond (-1.5)
Another A-10 classic. Richmond is one of the most experienced teams in the country playing a young Dayton team on the rise. Dayton starts four freshmen and a sophomore while Richmond starts four seniors and junior. Jacob Gilyard and Grant Golden will be playing their game at the Robin Center. Dayton is coming off a bad loss against La Salle. It’s hard to imagine this young Flyers team bouncing back in the type of environment they will have to play against Tuesday.
Richmond hasn’t beaten Dayton at home since 2004. Jacob Gilyard will challenge Dayton guard Malachi Smith on the perimeter. I don’t think Dayton will have an answer for Richmond wing Tyler Burton. Overall, Richmond has underperformed the last two seasons. Both they end the regular season on a positive note by beating Dayton here.
The pick: Richmond ML -130
Wisconsin at Purdue
Spead: Purdue (-3)
The first meeting between these two teams was quite memorable. Johnny Davis had 37 points back on January 3rd and the Badgers won at Mackey Arena, 74-69. Yet the entire betting public is on Purdue here. Wisconsin is going to prove their doubters wrong once again, and they will be lifting a Big Ten regular season championship in the process.
Purdue’s defense struggles with defending ball screens and they give up open shots off of dribble penetration. I just don’t think anyone on Purdue can keep Davis in front of them. If Steven Crowl or Tyler Wahl can just size up Zach Edey, I think Wisconsin is going to have a significant edge. Purdue’s offense is fantastic but they just don’t play defense well. Wisconsin ranked 35th in offensive and defensive efficiency. They are just the more balanced team in this matchup. I made this game Wisconsin +1, and I think we are getting a lot of value as the public continues to ride the Boilermaker train. Wisconsin getting a No. 1 seed? If they win this one, it’s possible. Go Badgers.
The pick: Wisconsin +3
Horizon League First Round
IUPUI at Oakland
Spread: Oakland (-23.5)
IUPUI only has five players that will be able to suit up. So if someone fouls out, they would legitimately only be able to play with four guys. That’s a problem when facing anyone but especially against an Oakland team that does work inside. IUPUI does play at a ridiculously slow tempo ranking 351st in offensive pace. They aren’t efficient and I can see Oakland speeding things up and literally running them out of the building. IUPUI ranks 358th in offensive efficiency and 323rd in defensive efficiency. Just lay the points.
The pick: Oakland -23.5
Arizona at USC
Spread: Arizona (-4)
Arizona is coming off a road loss at Colorado and now has to go on the road against USC in a make-up game. USC led most of the way in the first half against Arizona in Tucson when these teams first played. While many people will back the Wildcats in a bounce back spot, I think the edge goes to USC.
USC has the ingredients to win the rebounding battle against Arizona’s bigs. USC ranks second nationally in two point defense which is huge against this Arizona team. This time Arizona might be starting to slow down. USC wing Drew Peterson has been scorching hot shooting 10-20 from three over his past four games, winning Pac-12 Player of the Week this past week.
I think USC has the ability to limit Arizona in the paint and if they can get some shots to fall, they will be a live underdog in this one. Give me the Trojans at home.
The pick: USC (+4)
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