Predictions for All 14 Saturday Conference Championship Games
What a day we have ahead with a Conference Championship in FOURTEEN different leagues. Madness. Let’s take a quick look from a betting perspective at each and every one of the following 14 conference championships:
- AMERICA EAST: UMBC at Vermont -10 (11 a.m. ET | ESPN2)
- MEAC: NC Central vs Hampton -3 (1 p.m. ET | ESPNU)
- SWAC: Texas Southern -5.5 vs Arkansas Pine-Bluff (5 p.m. ET | ESPN2)
- BIG 12: West Virginia -1.5 vs Kansas (6 p.m. ET | ESPN)
- MOUNTAIN WEST: New Mexico vs San Diego State -4.5 (6 p.m. ET | CBS)
- BIG EAST: Providence vs Villanova -13.5 (6:30 p.m. ET | FOX)
- MAC: Toledo vs Buffalo -6.5 (7 p.m. ET | ESPN2)
- BIG SKY: Eastern Washington vs Montana -4.5 (8 p.m. ET | ESPN2)
- ACC: North Carolina vs Virginia -3.5 (8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN)
- CUSA: Marshall vs Western Kentucky -6 (8:30 p.m. ET | CBSSN)
- SOUTHLAND: SE Louisiana vs Stephen F Austin -5.5 (9 p.m. ET | ESPN2)
- PAC-12: USC vs Arizona -3.5 (10 p.m. ET | FS1)
- WAC: Grand Canyon vs New Mexico State -4 (10 p.m. ET | ESPNU)
- BIG WEST: UC Irvine vs CSU Fullerton -2 (11:59 p.m. ET | ESPN2)
The first ticket-punching championship starts at 11 a.m. ET in Burlington, Vermont and the last at 11:59 p.m ET. in Anaheim, California. We will have approximately 14 hours of conference tournament action today. Does it get any better? Make sure your evening schedule is clear, as 11 of the 13 tip at 5 p.m. ET or later. We have a lot to get into, so let’s get down to business, starting with the America East final.
(We will continue to update this piece throughout the day as lines become available.)
UMBC at Vermont (-10)
Time: 11 a.m. ET
Location: Burlington, VT
Season Series: Vermont 2-0
Vermont couldn’t have asked for a better matchup in its quest for back-to-back AmEast titles. UVM has won 23 straight over UMBC since the 2009 AmEast semis. The Catamounts also dominated the regular-season series, winning by margins of 15 and 28, the latter of which came at UMBC on a night when the program opened its brand new gym in front of a packed house.
UMBC thrives offensively by spreading the floor in transition off of its pressure defense. (Terriers led the league in defensive turnover rate.) UMBC plays at its best when lethal scoring guard Jairus Lyles can go to work on the break. However, UVM has the league’s Player of the Year at point guard in senior Trae Bell-Haynes to matchup with Lyles. It also only turned the ball over on 19% of possessions in the two blowout wins vs UMBC this season. Both games were played at just 62 possessions, which was the slowest pace UMBC played all year.
Vermont will play in front of its home crowd and has all of the big-game experience in this matchup. UVM should dictate pace, dominate the paint, and contain Lyles. That was the exact recipe it used in both blowout wins in the regular season. No reason why this will play out any different this time around.
THE PICK: Vermont -10
NC Central vs Hampton (-3)
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Norfolk, VA
Season Series: Hampton 1-0