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College Basketball Betting Pick & Roll: Calabrese & McGrath’s Selections for Feb. 12

College Basketball Betting Pick & Roll: Calabrese & McGrath’s Selections for Feb. 12 article feature image
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Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyger Campbell (UCLA)

  • Mike Calabrese and Tanner McGrath continue to roll in this column, and this week they're taking four road teams.
  • Calabrese is diving into Davidson and UCLA while McGrath is eyeing Seton Hall and Hartford.
  • Below you will find why these two are taking these plays on college basketball Saturday.

Another Saturday, another edition of Mike Calabrese and Tanner McGrath’s top four plays.

The Action Network’s two-man weave is still hitting at a 57% clip so far this season, and the team has researched the entire Saturday slate to find value at every level.

For this week, that includes two power conference plays and two mid-major plays — four road teams.

So, as you’re game-planning for Saturday, take our team’s “Picks” and “Roll” into a profitable Saturday.


McGrath’s Top 2 Saturday Picks

Seton Hall vs. Villanova

Saturday, Feb. 12
1 p.m. ET
FOX

We all know how good Villanova is. The Wildcats are now 11-3 in Big East play and are rolling along in the top 15 in the AP Poll.

But this is too many points.

That’s especially true for a Seton Hall team that has been frisky this year. Hall has just ripped off three straight wins over Georgetown, Creighton and Xavier. The offense isn’t amazing, but the defense is legit and the point guard duo of Kadary Richmond and Bryce Aiken can carry the Pirates offensively.

The Pirates’ defense is an intriguing matchup for Villanova. Jay Wright will run a slow progression offense that ends in a 3-point shot. But Seton Hall has been great at avoiding the 3-pointer, ranking 43rd nationally in opponent 3-point rate.

Instead, Seton Hall funnels guys into the interior and then uses its length to its advantage. The Pirates’ frontcourt consists of 7-foot-2 Ike Obiagu, 6-foot-10 Tyrese Samuel and 6-foot-10 Tray Jackson.

As a result, the Pirates are top-20 nationally in 2-point defense.

Therefore, I just don’t think Villanova will get enough solid looks to win this game convincingly — specifically by double digits.

Moreover, the past seven Seton Hall-Villanova matchups have finished within six points or less.

I’m expecting more of the same in this one, and I’m going to bet that the Pirates hang around for 40 minutes.

Pick: Seton Hall +9.5


Hartford vs. NJIT

Saturday, Feb. 12
7 p.m. ET
ESPN3

Hartford is just due for a win.

John Gallagher’s team has struggled mightily in its quest to repeat as America East champions. Following four straight losses, the Hawks are now 5-16 overall and 3-6 in America East conference play.

However, Hartford hasn’t played that badly, and it’s due for serious regressions.

First, Hartford’s offense can really cook. Led by sixth-year senior point guard Traci Carter and several solid wing scorers — like Austin Williams, Moses Flowers and Hunter Marks — the Hawks are top-50 nationally in eFG% (53.2%) and pace the AE in offensive turnover rate.

Secondly, despite Hartford’s 5-16 record, ShotQuality actually projects Hartford should be 11-10 based on the quality of shots taken and allowed. Hartford should be an easy target down the stretch in this conference.

Luckily, the Hawks will face NJIT. The Highlanders have posted the worst offensive efficiency mark in America East conference-only play, and their 48.5 eFG% is second worst.

This NJIT team cannot score.

NJIT is coming off of back-to-back upset wins, over Stony Brook and New Hampshire. But I believe those are two teams are highly overrated in the markets, which has skyrocketed the NJIT stock higher than its been all season.

It’s time for NJIT to drop one, while Hartford picks up a key win on its way to a late-season run.

Plus, Hartford needs this win. If the Hawks drop this one, they’ll likely lose their game against Vermont on Monday, and the streak will extend to six.

Pick: Hartford ML

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Calabrese’s Top 2 Saturday Picks

Davidson vs. Rhode Island

Saturday, Feb. 12
2 p.m. ET
ESPNU

It’s strange to write, but despite Davidson’s run (19-1 SU), it stills feel “due” for a really strong performance.

In the Wildcats’ last six games, they’ve connected on their 3-point attempts at a 36%+ clip just once, a five-point win over St. Bonaventure (42.9% 3PT).

Dreadful shooting nights led to a loss at home against VCU and a handful of near-misses to middling A-10 teams like Fordham, George Washington and Saint Joseph’s.

Despite their recent run of poor shooting, Bob McKillop’s team is still the eighth-best 3-point shooting team in the country (39.1%) and fifth in shooting efficiency.

The Wildcats have three go-to scorers — a pair in their backcourt (Hyunjung Lee, Foster Loyer) and an Austrian-import that is a complete matchup nightmare at 6-foot-10 (Luka Brajkovic).

I don’t believe you can hold a team like this down long term, and Rhode Island certainly doesn’t have the defensive chops to really disrupt the Wildcats’ offensive flow.

Yes, Rhode Island is holding opponents to 63.9 points per game (36th), but it has accomplished it by slowing the pace way, way down.

According to KenPom, the Rams have only faced opposing teams whose offenses rank 150th nationally. Davidson checks in at 10th, and that is after a recent cold streak.

In their first meeting, Rhode Island succeeded in slowing the pace down in the final 20 minutes. But as a result, the Rams fell out of rhythm themselves.

The Rams scored just four points in the final 5:25 of the game. Long second-half droughts have become Rhody’s calling card during its current six-game slide. Two points in the final four minutes in a loss to George Washington was followed up with a single point in the final 5:50 against Richmond.

Those gut-wrenching back-to-back fold-jobs weren’t the end of this trend.

The Rams mustered two points in seven minutes against Dayton in the closing minutes and then, they kept the cringeworthy trend going with a four-minute scoreless streak in the closing minutes against UMass.

You can’t trust these guys to close right now.

For that reason, I’ll go with the far superior team that is finding a way to win when it doesn’t play its best against a hardluck team that can’t buy a bucket when it needs one down the stretch.

Pick: Davidson -2.5 (Play to -4.5)


UCLA vs. USC

Saturday, Feb. 12
10 p.m. ET
ESPN

This is the time of year when teams really start making a strong push for a top four seed, or in the case of USC, let a top four seed slip through its fingers.

The Trojans have not looked solid over the past five games (3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS). A loss to Stanford spiraled into back-to-back lackluster performances against Cal and Arizona State.

The Trojans found themselves in one possession games against the Golden Bears (10-15 SU) and Sun Devils (7-15 SU). Cal shot 50% from the field and 3-point range against USC, and the Trojans shot 18-60 (30%) against Arizona State.

Andy Enfield’s squad seemingly hasn’t put together a game on both ends of the floor against a quality opponent all season long. Even the Trojans’ best win, a 58-43 smothering of San Diego State back on Black Friday, featured an anemic shooting performance.

UCLA simply isn’t a team you can beat with defense alone. In the Bruins’ four losses this season, opponents have averaged 82.5 points per game.

The issue for UCLA opponents is that while the Bruins push the tempo and share the ball incredibly well (Ast-To-TO ratio, 9th), they’ve also proven to be a true pest on defense.

Mick Cronin’s team ranks 17th in adjusted defensive efficiency, keeps opponents off of the offensive glass (40th) and always seem to be far ahead in the turnover margin department (+4.7 per game). That requires teams to really shoot well to beat them, and USC doesn’t have the goods to do so.

USC has slipped all the way to 167th in shooting efficiency, and its dreadful from the foul line (64.4%, 346th).

On the personnel front, Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson have really struggled from the field lately, placing all the offensive load on Isaiah Mobley’s shoulders.

While Mobley has played well as of late, UCLA has proven it can limit opposing bigs. Arizona’s Christian Koloko and Azuolas Tubelis were held in check during their two meetings, and the Bruins suffocated Cal’s Andre Kelly in their last meeting, denying him the rock the entire game (4 FGA).

If Mobley can’t score 20+, USC will be in trouble from the jump.

So why is this line so tight, aside from this obviously being a road spot in a rivalry game? Well, USC has taken five of six in this crosstown feud, and the Trojans’ only loss came in OT back in 2019.

Not only is that trend not useful with these two teams headed in opposite directions, but it also doesn’t account for road experience.

The Bruins have played three straight away from Westwood, and have proven (third-best road record SU in Pac-12 under Cronin) they can get it done on the road in recent years.

Pick: UCLA -2 (Play to -4.5)

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