Sunday College Basketball Best Bets: Our Favorite Picks for Houston vs. South Florida, Nevada vs. Utah State & More (Feb. 28)
David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Neemias Queta.
- The weekend is almost over, but life on the college-basketball landscape is not.
- Our staff handpicked four games on Sunday's slate to break down for their best bets, including NC State vs. Pittsburgh and Houston vs. South Florida.
- Check out each breakdown complete with a pick below.
The weekend is almost over, but at least we have more college hoops before jumping back into the week.
It all starts with Army vs. Boston at 3 p.m. ET, which is followed by Houston vs. South Florida and Pittsburgh vs. NC State at 4 p.m. Then, Nevada’s battle against Utah State rounds out our best bets at 7 p.m.
Check out full breakdowns and picks for each game below, and feel free to navigate to any game by using the table below.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
All listed odds have been updated as of Sunday morning. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Sunday morning.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Army vs. Boston University
By Mike Randle
I’m backing an Army bounce-back performance at home after losing yesterday to Boston University, 75-63.
Junior guard Jonas Harper had 18 points (6-of-9 3P) for the Terriers after scoring 14 total points in the prior three games combined.
BU rates as the worst team in the Patriot League in adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage allowed, and 2-point percentage allowed. The Terriers are also bottom of the league in turnovers forced, yet Army provided an uncharacteristic 12 offensive turnovers in the loss.
Army defeated BU by an average of 17 points in its prior two games on the road and should be much more competitive in the second home game in two days. The Cadets have earned at least a split in every consecutive game battle, with the exception of their second matchup against first-place Colgate.
Army leading-scorer Alex Grayson (13.6 PPG, 36.4% 3P) scored only nine points, ending a streak of eight consecutive games of 10 points or more. Everything equates to a big Army home bounce-back against a mediocre Boston University team.
I’m laying the small number with the Cadets on their Senior Day for Grayson, Alex King (11.3 PPG), and Nick Finke (5.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG).
Pick: Army -3.5
Houston vs. South Florida
Houston has been absolutely stifling its opponents on defense this season and sits fifth in the country in terms of efficiency, per KenPom.
During AAC play, it’s allowing an insane 0.89 points per possession. The reason for that is because it’s one of the best teams in the country at defending the paint.
The Cougars allow their opponents to shoot only 43% from 2-point range and 54.2% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math. That is going to make life extremely difficult for South Florida, which is the worst team in the conference from inside the arc, shooting only 41.6%.
The Bulls are also one of the worst offenses in the AAC, averaging only 0.96 points per possession, so I have a hard time seeing how they are going to score more than 60 points on this Houston defense.
South Florida hasn’t really been able to stop anybody on defense and things probably won’t change against Houston.
The Bulls are the second-worst defense in the AAC, allowing 1.02 points per possession. Their only hope in this game is to slow down the pace.
Both Houston and South Florida play at a below average pace. In fact, they’re both in the bottom 100 of adjusted tempo, per KenPom. So, I think this will be a game played in the half-court with both teams reluctant to push the pace.
I have the total projected at only 128.19 points, so I think there is some value on under 132 points or better.
Pick: Under 132 or better
Pittsburgh vs. NC State
The Pittsburgh Panthers look to regroup against the NC State Wolfpack after losing seven of their last eight games.
Although they’ve been spiraling recently, they have been hanging tough with some of the top teams in the ACC. Pittsburgh lost to Florida State and Virginia by seven points, Georgia Tech by six, and NC State by one just two weeks ago.
The interesting thing is Pittsburgh was laying 4.5 points at home in that last matchup. So, why has the spread dropped 11.5 points in 10 days?
The Panthers lost their second and third-leading scorers in the past week. Both Xavier Johnson (14.2 ppg) and Au’Diese Toney (14.4 ppg) left the program to enter the transfer portal.
Although this hurts the team in the long run, I see Jeff Capel’s squad as a prideful bunch that will continue to play hard. Justin Champagnie leads the Panthers, averaging 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per contest and will need to continue playing at a high level.
The Wolfpack have given up the second-most offensive rebounds in the conference, allowing teams a second chance on 31.7% of their misses, according to KenPom. The Panthers should take advantage of this and should continue to go to the free-throw line at a higher rate than any other team in the ACC.
These two teams were very even in the first matchup, and although Pittsburgh has been on a tough losing streak, it has been competitive and hasn’t given up on this season.
It seems there is an overreaction to the Panthers losing Johnson and Toney, and I don’t believe those two players should be worth 12 points to the spread.
I’m backing the Panthers and taking the points in what I expect to be a close game.
Pick: Pittsburgh +7.5
Nevada vs. Utah State
I think Nevada matches up fairly well here as its guards can have a field day against the Utah State perimeter and they’re capable inside to battle with Neemias Queta.
In the first meeting the other night, Nevada just got behind big early, which isn’t too surprising after a long break in action. The Pack found their game and legs in the second half and almost came all the way back.
I think they carry that over to today and this one comes down to the final minutes. I’d take anything over 7.
Pick: Nevada +8