College Basketball Betting Pace Report: 4 Weekend Over/Under Spots to Target (Feb. 24-26)
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The second-to-last week of the college basketball regular season is almost complete. But before we transition into conference-tournament mode, there are a number of games this weekend in which tempo will be critical.
With that in mind, I’m diving into four matchups you should watch from an over/under perspective from Thursday to Saturday.
Thursday, Feb. 24
New Orleans vs. SE Louisiana
New Orleans Tempo: 16th
SE Louisiana Tempo: 29th
The Southland Conference will showcase not just the two fastest teams in the conference, but two of the highest tempos in the nation.
SE Louisiana has been on a terror over the past month from an offensive efficiency perspective, ranking as the top team in the Southland in that category.
However, the Lions are also the second-worst team in defensive efficiency, just edging out Incarnate Word in conference play.
At 9-1 in league play, New Orleans tops the conference standings. That is a great sign heading into Hammond as underdogs against a SE Louisiana team that has yet to cover a game at home this season.
The opening total on this game sits at 159, directly on the KenPom projection.
The difference in this matchup is getting to the free throw line, where the Lions are 16th and Privateers are the top team in the nation.
Do not expect a ton of defense in a game where the clock will constantly be stopped for free throws.
Taking an over through the projection of 159 is suggested.
Friday, Feb. 25
San Jose State vs. San Diego State
San Jose State Tempo: 286th
San Diego State Tempo: 291st
The slowest-paced game during the Friday night slate will come in the Mountain West, where San Diego State looks to maintain a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Standing in the Aztecs’ way is a San Jose State team in the cellar of the Mountain West, and spiraling south in defensive efficiency over the past month.
Neither the Aztecs or Spartans have gained ground through conference play in offensive efficiency, as KenPom projects the total at 125, a full nine points less than when the teams met on Feb. 9.
San Diego State prefers to keep the game at a grinding pace, going 16-8 to the under on the season.
Making matters worse for the Spartans is the loss of Myron Amey Jr. — he was absent from the previous Spartans game with an ankle injury.
Look for the excellent perimeter defense of San Diego State to shut down a San Jose State offense that has a heavy tendency to lean on getting points from beyond the arc.
Any number under 125 deserves a look for investment.
Iowa vs. Nebraska
Iowa Tempo: 46th
Nebraska Tempo: 13th
Not only are the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers two of the fastest teams in the nation, but both combine for a 34-18-2 record to the over on the total this season.
These two teams played to 173 points on Feb. 13, when Keegan Murray managed 37 points.
One of the reasons for the offensive outburst between these two teams is the lack of rebounds for Nebraska — its near dead last on the offensive glass.
Iowa fields the top offense in the Big Ten in turnover rate, a good sign for points against a Nebraska team that is dead last in defensive efficiency.
The Cornhuskers have not played well offensively in Big Ten play, but they do rank fourth in getting to the free throw line, which is key against an Iowa team that commits plenty of defensive fouls.
Any total at 161 or lower will deserve a look at the over.
Saturday, Feb. 26
Austin Peay vs. Eastern Illinois
Austin Peay Tempo: 311th
Eastern Illinois Tempo: 306th
There may not be a better spot to find two teams that have nothing to play for than the finale of Ohio Valley play between the Governors and Panthers.
Teams must finish in the top eight of the Ohio Valley to qualify for the conference tournament.
Austin Peay is locked into the eighth seed, requiring the Governors to win three straight road games to make the title game.
As for Eastern Illinois, this will be the last game of the season for the Panthers, as they are currently 3-15 in league play.
Both teams have combined for a record of 38-12-1 to the under on the season, which is a testament to both teams failing to reach the midpoint of offensive efficiency over the past month.
If Eastern Illinois has any redeeming quality, the Panthers are the best team in the conference at keeping opponents off of the free throw line.
A middling rank of seventh in the conference in perimeter defense may be enough for Eastern Illinois to disrupt Austin Peay’s 3-point attempts.
Look for any total under the KenPom projection of 120.
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