College Basketball Betting Pace Report: 4 Early-Week Over/Under Spots to Target (Feb. 28-March 2)
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Minaya (Providence)
We have finally reached conference tournament season — the NEC Tournament begins Monday night — but for the sake of this early-week pace report, we are going to focus on three regular-season games and only one postseason affair.
Some games will be fast-on-fast, others will be slow-on-slow and others have external factors that could decide the over/under.
With that in mind, let’s jump into a CAA clash, Providence vs. Villanova, Toledo vs. Buffalo and a Big South Conference Tournament first-round matchup.
Monday, Feb. 28
Charleston vs. Hofstra
Charleston Tempo: 1st
Hofstra Tempo: 91st
For a number of teams, seeds have already been decided for the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
No matter which squad wins this contest, Charleston will take the No. 6 seed and Hofstra will snag No. 3. Both the Cougars and Pride will play on Monday night (regular season) and again on Sunday, March 6 in the quarterfinals.
Both teams have been steady on the offensive efficiency chart over the past month, but Hofstra stands out on the defensive side of the ball.
The Pride have generated havoc thanks to the highest defensive steal rate in the conference. That will be an issue for Charleston, which ranks 295th offensively in turnover rate.
The bigger question is what the pace of this game will be, and which players will contribute big minutes when there are no ramifications on postseason play. Charleston is 30th nationally in bench minutes, with seven bodies in the rotation that play at least 20% of possessions.
Charleston does have the fastest tempo in the nation, while Hofstra is expected to give minutes to five seniors on the roster playing their final game in Hempstead.
KenPom projects this game at 160, but considering the goal of each team is to get to Sunday in full health, the under is the only look.
Tuesday, March 1
Providence vs. Villanova
Providence Tempo: 287th
Villanova Tempo: 345th
Which Providence team will show up at Villanova to end regular-season play?
The Friars captured the regular-season Big East title for the first time in program history against Creighton Saturday night, causing a court-storming melee of celebrations.
Coach Ed Cooley must now make a decision to play for revenge or get prepared for the Big East Tournament.
Villanova has excelled on offense over the past month (above NCAA average) despite its recent loss to UConn.
The pace of this game will be the slowest on the slate, as a closer look at adjusted tempo has Providence at 295th and Villanova 346th offensively.
However, these two teams have the highest point distribution from the free throw line in the Big East, with Villanova owning the best mark from the charity stripe at 85%.
While an under is an autoplay on this game, free throws may get involved late. With a projected total of 135, I will be looking for a first-half under as Providence comes in on a hangover.
Toledo vs. Buffalo
Toledo Tempo: 64th
Buffalo Tempo: 20th
Only the top eight teams in the MAC make the conference tournament, but both Toledo and Buffalo are clearly in the hunt for the top seed.
These are two of the fastest teams in the nation, with a Jan. 25 game totaling 161 points.
Toledo has been the far superior offensive team over the past month, while Buffalo has won nine consecutive conference games.
The Rockets and Bulls both have an offensive strategy that consists of attacking the rim, as they rank first and fourth respectively on distribution of points from the interior.
Toledo does field the best interior defense in MAC play, though.
While the pace of this game will be furious, neither of these teams specialize in getting to the free throw line. Both are outside the top-225 nationally in getting to the charity stripe.
With a KenPom projection at 159 and expected steam in the market, there could be value in taking an under on two teams that do not shoot from the perimeter, or from the charity stripe.
Wednesday, March 2
Presbyterian vs. Campbell (Big South First-Round)
Presbyterian Tempo: 331st
Campbell Tempo: 346th
The first round of the Big South Conference Tournament tips off with sixth-seeded Campbell taking on 11th-seeded Presbyterian.
The Blue Hose finished conference play with just four victories, one of them coming over Campbell at home on Feb. 2 in a contest that totaled 122 points.
Neither team finished the season strong, as Presbyterian lost six of its last seven, including a three-overtime grinder on Saturday to UNC Asheville.
Campbell ended the season in the middle of the pack from an efficiency perspective, while Presbyterian did increase its offensive output despite a number of losses.
Not only is Campbell near the bottom of Division I hoops in getting to the free throw line, but its free-throw make percentage of 66% is 337th in the nation.
Both of these team look to score points at the rim, but transition offense continues to plague ball handlers. Presbyterian is second in Big South play in defensive steal rate, making this a great spot to back the Blue Hose.
As for the projected KenPom total of 124, this game will be played in Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Teams playing in larger arenas or football stadiums for the first time can have issues with depth perception, especially in their opening games.
Taking the under will be the look for the last Big South Tournament matchup on Wednesday.