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NCAAB Conference Tournament Picks: Tuesday’s Best Bets, Featuring Lipscomb vs. Stetson

NCAAB Conference Tournament Picks: Tuesday’s Best Bets, Featuring Lipscomb vs. Stetson article feature image

Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Wheza Panzo (Stetson)

College basketball fans received a conference tournament appetizer on Monday night with two ASUN first-round games.

The full course doesn't come until next week, but the nation will get another taste on Tuesday.

With the ASUN, Patriot League, Horizon League and Sun Belt all in action, our staff has one best bet from each league for Tuesday.

So, dive in below to see the top NCAAB conference tournament best bets and predictions, including Lipscomb vs. Stetson.

Tuesday's 4 NCAAB Conference Tournament Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Tuesday's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

6 p.m. ET
Arkansas State +3
7 p.m. ET
Over 153.5
7 p.m. ET
Bucknell +5.5
7 p.m. ET
Stetson +1
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.

Arkansas State vs. Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt)

Tuesday, Feb. 28
6 p.m. ET
Arkansas State +3

By Tanner McGrath

I’m very excited about the Sun Belt tournament overall. The field is wide open and features five or six uber-talented teams spearheaded by elite mid-major players.

They call it the Fun Belt for a reason.

Unfortunately, none of what I said above applies to the Sun Belt’s play-in round. Coastal Carolina, Arkansas State, Texas State and Georgia State went a combined 7-24 in February, so all four are playing their worst basketball at the wrong time.

I guess that’s what you get when you let all 14 teams into the conference tournament.

However, if one team has some momentum, it’s Arkansas State.

The Red Wolves ended the season with four straight covers and two outright wins over Georgia State and UL Monroe. As a result, they may have some momentum, which could be a significant advantage when combined with the schematic matchup.

On the court, Arkansas State has two main matchup advantages.

First, the Red Wolves are great at running opponents off the 3-point line. They’re the ninth-best 3-point defense by ShotQuality’s metrics, and they’re very adept at preventing spacing (10th nationally) and controlling opposing shot selection (48th nationally).

That’s big against a Coastal Carolina team that shoots as much as anyone in the Sun Belt. It’s even better when the Chanticleers are also one of the nation's most inefficient 3-point shooting teams.

Second, Arkansas State plays at a methodical, slow pace. The Red Wolves are sub-340 nationally in tempo and second-to-last in the Sun Belt.

That’s also big against a Chanticleers team that plays fast, boasting the conference’s third-highest tempo. If Arkansas State manages to control the pace, the Chanticleers might get frustrated, especially if they fail in transition.

This exact game script happened when these two played in early February. Arkansas State controlled the tempo and ran Coastal Carolina off the 3-point line, as the Chanticleers shot 3-for-17 from deep and managed only five transition points in a 16-point loss.

I'm worried about the revenge angle, but I expect the Red Wolves to play confidently and control this matchup, like they controlled the last.

ARST +3 (-110) at Caesars is a good buy, but I’d also play the Red Wolves smaller at +2.5 (-110).

Pick: Arkansas State +3 (Play to +2.5)

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Purdue Fort Wayne vs. Detroit (Horizon League)

Tuesday, Feb. 28
7 p.m. ET
Over 153.5

By Matt Cox

It’s no secret that overs are a cash cow in the current college basketball betting market. The inception of conference tournament season may warrant caution, but in the Horizon League, points should remain plentiful.

In last season’s Horizon Tournament, all four opening matchups soared over the total.

The year prior, first-round overs went 3-1 against the closing number.

From tonight’s three-game Horizon League batch, the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons and Detroit Titans are bound for the biggest scoring output.

The first meeting between these two played to a blistering 78-possession pace, a whole 10 possessions faster than the rematch in early February (67). KenPom’s tempo tonight — 69 possessions — could be a little light if the rubber match falls somewhere in the middle of the first two games.

KenPom and Bart Torvik both project the total score at 155, so there’s no evidence of market shading that accounts for this league-specific over angle.

Still, do not chase any number above 156.

Bucknell vs. American (Patriot League)

Tuesday, Feb. 28
7 p.m. ET
Bucknell +5.5

By Shane McNichol

Welcome to “it’s hard to beat a team three times” season in college basketball.

With conference tournaments now underway, that old adage is certain to pop up over the next two weeks. There is some validity to the idea that after two matchups between semi-evenly matched teams that the losing team might be in line for some regression in a third matchup.

That’s certainly true in this first-round Patriot League Tournament game, where last-place Bucknell beat American twice this season. In two matchups this year, the Bison shot 19-of-29 (66%) from outside the arc, while the Eagles were a dismal 7-of-28 (25%).

Those were Bucknell’s two best 3-point shooting games — by percentage — all season. It’s unwise to expect a similar performance.

On the other hand, American is one of the worst teams in the nation at defending the 3-point line. Some of that is luck-based, but allowing conference opponents to collectively shoot over 40% from outside the arc is no fluke.

Flipping ends of the court, American is potentially in line for some positive shooting regression offensively. Over the Eagles’ last six games, they’ve made just 23-of-96 attempts from deep, good for 24%.

All six of those games, however, have resulted in a loss. Despite the numbers flashing big red numbers right in my face, I can’t advise betting on a team that’s lost six straight and is likely just playing out the string.

Bucknell, meanwhile, is playing its best basketball of the season. After starting league play 1-9, the Bison are 5-4 in their last nine games. With a last place finish to cap off a fourth-straight losing season, there’s a chance Nathan Davis is coaching to save his job.

Even if the American regression train hits the box score hard, I think Bucknell is motivated enough to keep it close, if not steal the road win.

Lipscomb vs. Stetson (ASUN)

Tuesday, Feb. 28
7 p.m. ET
Stetson +1

By Ky McKeon

Home court reigns supreme in the ASUN. On the season, ASUN home teams are a lucratively profitable 96-59-4 against the spread. Had you done nothing all year but bet on ASUN home teams, you’d be up a cool 31.1 units.

See? Betting is super easy.

Stetson has been the cream of the crop of the ASUN home teams, sporting a 7-1-1 ATS record in DeLand.

On Friday, Lipscomb handed Stetson its lone ATS home loss, defeating the Hatters in overtime. It was revenge for Stetson doing the exact same thing in Nashville back in December.

A key player was missing from that Friday contest, though: Stetson point guard and second-leading scorer Stephan Swenson, a Third Team All-ASUN honoree.

Swenson is Stetson’s quarterback, its heartbeat on the floor. He went down with an ankle injury on Feb. 18, but head coach Donnie Jones is hoping he’s back for tonight’s contest.

KenPom and Bart Torvik make this game Stetson -4, which is a significant departure from the current market price. Perhaps the market believes Swenson is still out, or perhaps the market saw Lipscomb beat Stetson on this floor on Friday.

If it’s the latter, it’s an overreaction.

Over the course of the season, Stetson has proven to be a strong home team and capable of competing and beating the top teams in the ASUN. A four-point move off of KenPom and Bart Torvik isn’t justified by “Lipscomb just beat them here.”

And while Swenson is fantastic, one could argue he isn’t worth four points to the line. So, if he’s out this line is still short, and if he plays, it’s a downright steal.

Back the best offense in the ASUN tonight on its home floor in a win-or-go-home tournament game.

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