College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our 5 Best Bets for Today’s Conference Tournaments (Tuesday, March 8)
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Terquavion Smith (NC State)
- Conference tournament season rolls on Tuesday, as five tournaments across the country are in action.
- Our staff came through with five best bets for each active tournament, including the ACC's opener and the WAC.
- Check out all five picks and breakdowns for Tuesday below.
Six auto bids will be given out on Tuesday, but the ACC, Conference USA and others also begin their conference tournaments today.
That’s where our staff comes into play, as they find you the best value throughout this early Championship Week slate.
So, with that being said, check out how we’re betting Tuesday in college hoops with our five top selections.
Tuesday’s Conference Tournament Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
NC State vs. Clemson (ACC First Round)
You almost have to feel bad for the Wolfpack. Derailed by injuries early, they never seemed to find their footing in what turned out to be a forgettable season for them.
Finishing the season 320th in luck, per KenPom, NC State has one last chance to end on a high note and make a run in the tournament. Sadly, I just don’t see that happening.
But I also don’t trust Clemson for how well it’s been performing as of late. Instead, I will turn my attention to the over.
While NC State may have had a down year, it was not because of a lack of offense. It actually boasts a phenomenal offense, one that is efficient and can put up points in a hurry. The Pack don’t turn the ball over and can do damage from deep.
It’s the defense that has been the thorn in their side, ranking at the bottom of the barrel in AdjD all season, ending at 257th.
Clemson has impressed of late, winning four in a row and looking to extend its hot streak. With Virginia Tech on deck, either team has a puncher’s chance of making a run, as VT has been the definition of inconsistent this year.
With Clemson being able to score at will and forcing NC State to turn this into a track meet to keep pace, I will grab the over and play it no higher than 144.
Pick: Over 142.5 (Play to 144)
Southern Miss vs. UTSA (C-USA First Round)
The UTSA Roadrunners are the second-highest scoring team in Conference USA, while the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are fifth when it comes to scoring defense.
UTSA is also 95th in the country when it comes to pace of play, and while Southern Miss may not be inside the top 100 in pace, it’s kept up with its opponents’ scoring.
Both teams are outside the top 10 in C-USA when it comes to defensive efficiency.
The total has gone over in every one of the last five meetings between these two teams, while the Golden Eagles have surpassed the total in 10 of their last 11 games.
On the other end, opponents have surpassed the 70-point mark against UTSA in five of its last seven games. Golden Eagles opponents have done it in 12 straight games.
I think these two surpass this total with ease, and I would bet it as high as 140.
Pick: Over 138.5 (Play to 140)
Quinnipiac vs. Marist (MAAC First Round)
Marist missed out on a first-round bye in the MAAC Tournament after dropping its final two games to end the regular season. But the Red Foxes are live to make a deep run in the MAAC tourney.
Marist caught fire, winning six straight games in February against some of the top teams in the conference. The Red Foxes have a deep roster that ranks among the top 25 in bench minutes.
The offense is a well-balanced attack that is one of the most efficient in the conference. It’s the best 3-point shooting team that converts on 35% of its attempts from downtown. In MAAC play, the group ranked second in field goal percentage, trailing only Iona.
Now, it matches up against a Quinnipiac defense that’s been putrid defending the perimeter, ranking 333rd in 3-point defense.
Defense was the key to Marist’s six-game win streak toward the end of the season. During that span, the program held its opponents to 37% shooting from the field and 29% from 3-point range.
Quinnipiac’s offense is reliant on finding points from behind the arc. The Bobcats take 44% of its shot attempts from 3-point territory, where they convert at a 33% clip.
But over the last eight games, that number has dropped to just 30%. That may be the reason the Bobcats won just one of their final 10 games while going 3-7 against the spread.
Marist will have the advantage on both ends of the floor and should hand Quinnipiac its seventh loss in a row.
Pick: Marist -2.5 (Play to -3)
Chicago State vs. Utah Valley (WAC First Round)
By Ky McKeon
Chicago State might have finished 7-24 (3-15), but head coach Gerald Gillion should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year honors.
He turned a depressing program into a competent one overnight. The Cougars finished the regular season 18-13 against the number and won more conference games than the last six seasons combined.
Tonight, they have no chance. Utah Valley is a tough matchup for the Cougars primarily due to the Wolverines’ sheer size advantage. UVU is among the biggest teams in the nation and among the best rebounding teams as well.
In the only matchup between these squads this season, UVU grabbed 61%(!!!) of its misses and scored a seemingly impossible 1.53 points per possession. Chicago State turned in one of its best offensive performances ever (1.30 PPP, 9-of-20 from 3, six turnovers) and still lost by 14 points at home.
UVU plays through former WAC POY Fardaws Aimaq on the block, who should have no trouble putting up 20-plus points and grabbing 10-plus rebounds tonight. When CSU sends doubles, Aimaq can kick to a perimeter group that led the WAC in 3P% this season. It’s very difficult to imagine UVU not scoring at will.
CSU’s offense tonight will be “spray and pray.” The Cougars take a ton of 3s already, but that will be amplified by their inability to attack the rim against the UVU trees inside the paint. UVU’s guard and wing corps are very long, and they are among the best in the country at defending spot-ups.
Chicago State was a feel-good story all season, but unfortunately, its story ends tonight. At least the Cougars get to enjoy their final season in the WAC in Vegas, celebrating their first postseason appearance since 2019.
Pick: Utah Valley -12.5 (Play to -13.5)
Cal Poly vs. UC Davis (Big West First Round)
The Aggies are just 1-4 in their last four games of the season, but they played three of the best teams in the conference and lost those three games by a combined 13 points.
Cal Poly pulled off an impressive end to the season of its own, beating UC Irvine, 65-54. That win ended an eight-game losing streak for Poly.
However, I don’t think those two final days of the season carry the same weight. UC Davis is a solid team, consistently challenging some of the best in the league. Poly, meanwhile, seemed to catch the Anteaters in a bad spot.
UC Davis isn’t a team that’s great at rebounding or shooting, but it doesn’t make mistakes. The Aggies limit fouls and rarely turn the ball over while also being one of the better defensive teams in the Big West. UC Davis has not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 40% in any of its last three games.
Cal Poly, meanwhile, averages just 40% from the field this season and is 10th in the conference in turnover percentage.
Back the Aggies up to -6.5.