NCAA Basketball – Western Kentucky/LA Tech Under 137 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on ESPN2
It’s weird seeing these Conference USA teams meet again in the NIT, but it gives us a rare opportunity to handicap based on their two regular-season matchups.
Given that those games finished at 130 and 121 points, this total is far too high. Louisiana Tech is an excellent defensive team, 10th in defensive efficiency, 40th in PPG allowed, and were 16-11-1 to the under on the season despite constantly facing extremely low totals. Western Kentucky is a strong defensive team as well, ranking 69th in defensive efficiency and have one of the best shot blockers in the country in Charles Bassey.
The Hilltoppers also tend to allow the other team to dictate the game flow. Their games against the other defensive-oriented C-USA teams all went well under this number. I don’t buy that a tournament environment will have this big of an impact on the total given the history for these teams, so take the under.
NCAA Basketball – NC State -1.5 vs. Colorado State (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN
I loved how Colorado St. played during their Mountain West schedule, but that conference has looked awful in the postseason. With Utah St. and San Diego St. bowing out early and ugly from the big dance last week, I have little faith in the MWC overall and especially this 3rd place Rams team against a revived NC State squad.
I wrote the Wolfpack off after star guard Devon Daniels was lost for the season, but they’ve bounced back well behind their strong frontcourt to win six of their last seven — and their loss to Syracuse looking better and better. That interior strength, led by the forward trio of Manny Bates, Jericole Hellems, and DJ Funderburk, should find easy buckets against a Rams defense that’s 171st in opponent two-point percentage.
I also see smart money coming in on the Wolfpack to move this off pick’em despite more tickets on CSU, so fade the Mountain West, take the hotter team, NC State wins easily here.
Tiny Nick is 206-130 ATS (+67.6 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.