Kentucky and Tennessee throw down in Knoxville on Saturday with way more than just bragging rights on the line.
The winner could be in line for a 1-seed in the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. That makes Wildcats-Volunteers the most important, and best, matchup over the weekend.
There are a lot of great games on, so let’s break down some of the upcoming weekend’s best matchups!
[Saturday, March 2]
#4 Kentucky Wildcats at #7 Tennessee Volunteers -3.0
Kentucky validated themselves in the national title scene the last time they clashed with the Volunteers, destroying Tennessee 86-69. The Wildcats have hit their stride. Although they did lose to LSU on Feb. 12, they were awesome before and they’ve been awesome since.
More importantly for us? Kentucky is an excellent 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games this season. They’ve also got the defense going, allowing 64.9 points per on only 40% shooting from the field on average.
That’s bad news for the Vols. Although Tennessee’s still shooting lights out, 50.5% from the field and 83.2 points per, they’re only 2-2 SU in their last 4. Against the spread, they’ve been awful, going 1-6 ATS in their last 7.
Tennessee should be favored although they won’t be favored by much. No matter. Kentucky wins this straight up and covers with ease. You simply can’t trust the Volunteers right now.
NCAAB Free Pick: Kentucky +3.0 and +135 ML
#6 Michigan State Spartans -6.5 at Indiana Hoosiers
Since losing 3 in a row in late January and early February, the Spartans have really turned it around. MSU has won 5 in a row straight up. They’re 4-1 ATS in those 5 games.
However, one of Michigan State’s 3 losses was to Indiana. The Hoosiers upset the Spartans 79-75 in overtime on Feb. 2. Since the victory, Indiana’s been terrible, going 1-5 SU. The Hoosiers are 3-0 ATS in their last 3, though, including beating favored Wisconsin 75-73 in overtime in their last.
The Spartans are due for a let down while the Hoosiers know they must win this, or at least be competitive, for any hope of an NCAA Tournament berth. Going with Indiana to cover.
NCAAB Free Pick: Indiana +6.5
#13 LSU Tigers -2.0 at Alabama Crimson Tide
Like fellow SEC squad Kentucky, the Tigers tend to step it up on the road. LSU is 6-2 ATS in their road games this season. The Tigers also beat Alabama 88-79 in the last matchup.
Bama broke an 0-4 ATS streak with a 68-62 win as a 1.5 dog against South Carolina in their last. That made it 2 wins in a row straight up for the Crimson Tide. They’ll come out swinging, but LSU guard Tremont Waters dominated them with 19 points, 7 assists, and 4 boards in the last matchup. Waters should control things again on Saturday.
NCAAB Free Pick: LSU -2.0
#5 North Carolina Tar Heels -4.5 at Clemson Tigers
Since the 61-69 loss to Duke, the Tar Heels have really turned it on, beating Wake Forest, Duke, Florida State and Syracuse. North Carolina’s been a straight up beast. They haven’t been unbeatable against the spread, though.
At home, the Tar Heels are only 7-6-2 ATS this season. They’re 1-3 ATS in their last 4 home games. Not only that, but Clemson’s defense has been special in the Tigers last couple of games. It held BC to 66 points and then kept Pittsburgh to 48. The Tigers won both matchups. Clemson covers while UNC wins straight up.
NCAAB Free Pick: Clemson +4.5
[Sunday, March 3]
#9 Michigan Wolverines at #17 Maryland Terrapins
Michigan hasn’t played their best basketball in the last couple of weeks. They’re only 2-2 SU and 2-2 ATS. But one of the matchups where they won and covered was against Maryland.
The Terps should bounce back after the awful loss to Penn State in their last. Maryland is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 and 3-0 ATS in their last 3 at home. Maryland should definitely cover and have a great shot of beating Michigan straight up.
NCAAB Free Pick: Maryland ATS