Duke-North Carolina highlights the final weekend in the college basketball regular season.
Next week, teams battle it out in conference tournaments with the Selection Committee setting the field for the 2019 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament on Sunday, March 17. In addition to an analysis and free pick for Duke-North Carolina, check out analysis and a pick for Michigan-Michigan State as well as picks for the other great hoops action this weekend!
[Saturday, March 9]
#4 Duke Blue Devils at #3 North Carolina Tar Heels -4.0
This is the final regular season game for both teams. Coach K said he’s keeping Zion Williamson off the court for this matchup because he wants his star player ready for the ACC Tournament.
That gives the edge to North Carolina automatically. The Tar Heels decimated the Blue Devils 88-72 in the last matchup. Zion went down 33 seconds into the game and Duke never recovered. Although the Blue Devils have played well with Williamson out, they aren’t covering the spread, going 2-3 ATS in their last 5. Looking back further, the Devils are only 2-5 ATS in their last 7.
The Tar Heels are 4-2 ATS in their last 6. Only Williamson can match up with Luke Maye, who tore apart the Blue Devils with 30 points and 15 boards in the last game. North Carolina loves beating Duke. They’ll do so again both straight up and against the spread on Saturday. For my sake, I’ll take UNC with the points.
NCAAB Free Pick: North Carolina -4.09
#7 Michigan Wolverines at #11 Michigan State Spartans -3.5
The Michigan Wolverines search for revenge on March 9, but it might be hard to come by. In the last game between the rival Wolverines and Spartans, Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad upset the Wolverines 77-70 as a +4 road dog.
Michigan has since won 2 in a row both straight up and against the spread. If not for the loss to Michigan State, the Wolverines would have gone 5-0 SU and ATS in their last 5. But, Michigan State has been great since suffering a 3-game straight up losing streak in late January and early February.
The Spartans lost to Indiana last weekend. Before that, they had gone 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS. MSU is an awesome 11-4 ATS at home. They’ll complete the straight up sweep as well as cover in their game versus Michigan on March 9.
NCAAB Free Pick: Michigan State -3.5
Florida Gators at #6 Kentucky Wildcats -10.0
Bubble team Florida faces a difficult task to secure a bid to the Big Dance. They must not only beat the Kentucky Wildcats on March 9, but they must also make an impression in the SEC Tournament next week.
Although the Gators are 5-2 SU in their last 7, they’re only 1-3 ATS in their last 4. They couldn’t shut the door on LSU in their last game. Kentucky is 0-3 ATS in their last 4, though. The Wildcats should beat the Gators, but it’s going to be desperately close, meaning Florida’s the pick against the spread.
NCAAB Free Pick: Florida +10.0
#8 Texas Tech Red Raiders -2.0 at #25 Iowa State Hawkeyes
If Iowa State loses, they’re out. Unless they win the Big 12 Tournament and reflate their bubble, they’ll watch the NCAA Tournament on their living room couches. That’s what happens when you lose 4-of-5 to Baylor, TCU, Texas, and West Virginia.
The Red Raiders have a shot to move closer to a 1-seed on Saturday. Texas Tech is on an 8-game straight up win streak. They’ve gone 8-1 ATS in their last 9 and are clearly the class of the Big 12 this season. They only beat Iowa State by 4 in the last matchup. On Saturday, they should dominate the Cyclones by at least 10.
NCAAB Free Pick: Texas Tech -2.0
Georgetown Hoyas at #15 Marquette Golden Eagles -9.5
How far will Marquette fall? That’s the question after the 64-73 loss to Seton Hall as a -2.5 road favorite in their last. The Golden Eagles’ confidence is shot. They’re playing like a one-dimensional team who has no idea what to do if Markus Howard doesn’t get his points.
What’s really concerning is how coach Steve Wojciechowski only played Howard 28 minutes in game against Seton Hall. Howard had 5 turnovers, which means he’s had a combined 18 turnovers in the Golden Eagles last 3 games. Howard only had 6 points in the loss.
Georgetown was awful against DePaul, though, but if there’s one thing the Hoyas can do, it’s put the ball in the hoop. They average 80.5 points per. With Howard struggling to find his shot, Georgetown could upset Marquette straight up.
NCAAB Free Pick: Georgetown +400 ML
[Sunday, March 10]
#12 Houston Cougars at #19 Cincinnati Bearcats
With 2 games to go for each, the Cougars and Bearcats are tied atop the AAC Standings. On March 7, Houston battles SMU, a game they should win, but Cincinnati takes on UCF, a game they could lose.
That would make this matchup really important. Although Cincinnati’s been great straight up, they’re 1-7 ATS in their last 8. Houston beat Cincinnati by 7 in the last meeting and are 8-2 ATS in away games. The Cougars beat the Bearcats straight up again.
NCAAB Free Pick: Houston ML (line available Sunday morning!)
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