Stuckey’s 8 Favorite Situational Spots on Saturday’s College Basketball Slate
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyson Carter
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Let’s get to work.
2018-19: 47-32-2 (59.5%)
2019-20: 30-34-2 (46.9%)
Sacred Heart +5.5 at St. Francis PA
Noon ET on ESPN+
Home court doesn’t mean that much in the NEC, so I have no issues fading the top overall seed at home here in the conference tournament. Especially since I make the line around 3.5.
Sacred Heart has won six of seven and is peaking at the right time. The Pioneers did lose both regular season meetings against St. Francis PA but both games were ultra-competitive. Sacred Heart is the best rebounding team in the conference on both ends and should get enough at the rim against a vulnerable St. Francis interior defense in order to keep this close throughout.
Indiana ML vs. Wisconsin
Noon ET on ESPN
I’ve been Wisconsin’s biggest hype man all season and have generally been higher on the Badgers than the market. It’s one of the reasons I pulled a trigger on a midseason Wisconsin future before it went on its recent run.
That said, I think it’s time to sell high on the Badgers, who’ve won seven straight to get in position for a chance to at least share the Big Ten regular season title.
You should get a desperate max effort from the Hoosiers, who are looking to sure up an NCAA Tournament bid. They’ve also been solid against superior teams this season at home with top 25 wins against Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Florida State. They also lost by one to Maryland in a game they probably should’ve won.
Indiana will also be looking to avenge a 20-point loss in Madison way back in December. The teams look a little bit different than they did that day as Kobe King, who’s no longer with the program, went off for 24 points for Wisconsin. And Indiana was a bit undermanned without Rob Phinisee.
The Hoosiers should control the boards and their turnover issues won’t be exploited by a Wisconsin defense that doesn’t force a ton. The Badgers are also probably due for a bit of shooting regression here.
Accounting for home court advantage, I make Indiana -2.5 favorite here, so only a small edge on the spread, but I like the spot enough to pull the trigger on the moneyline. I personally threw Indiana in a moneyline parlay with LSU.
Seton Hall +3.5 at Creighton
2:30 p.m. ET on FOX
I think we are getting about a point of value here with Seton Hall after the recent play of both teams.
I’ll side with the Pirates coming off a home loss and looking to avenge an earlier season home loss to these Blue Jays.
I still don’t trust the Creighton defense, so I’ll roll with Myles Powell and company on the road where they’ve been very good in conference play. The Pirates are 7-1 in league play away from home with a perfect 4-0 record SU as an underdog with victories at Marquette, Villanova, Xavier and Butler.
I think Seton Hall makes that 5-0 and wins the outright Big East regular season title.
Kansas State -5.5 vs. Iowa State
4 p.m. ET on ESPN+
After watching Iowa State in recent games, I can’t overestimate how important potential lottery pick Tyrese Halliburton was to the Clones. I still think the market (and myself) have not fully captured the impact of the loss of their injured star.
So, while I have no issues fading Iowa State right now, especially away from Hilton, this is more about the situational spot. I just can’t see Iowa State being very motivated for a meaningless season finale at lowly Kansas State.
Iowa State is already locked into the No. 9 seed and knows it will face Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday. There also could be a bit of a letdown here after it came up just short in a spirited effort against West Virginia in its home finale last time out.
Kansas State is also locked into the No. 10 seed, but I expect a spirited effort from the Wildcats in their home season finale as they look to end a 10-game losing skid. They’ll also look to avenge a 10-point road loss from earlier in the season at Iowa State.
I think Kansas State ends that streak today and sends some of its senior starters out in style on Senior Day in Manhattan.
Louisville +1 at Virginia
4 p.m. ET on ESPN
This is an unexpected battle for a share of the ACC regular season title after Virginia’s recent surge. However, I’m not buying into the Virginia hype. Yes, the Hoos have won seven straight overall but they’ve come by a combined 26 points, which is the lowest combined margin during a seven-game winning streak in the modern era.
Virginia has won six of those seven by one possession, becoming the first team to accomplish that fortunate feat in the past 20 seasons. I just don’t buy this offense whatsoever and the late-game luck will run out eventually.
Ultimately, I’m higher on Louisville and lower on Virginia than the market right now, so this sets up as a nice spot to back the Cardinals.
Malik Williams may not go for Louisville but I still can’t pass up taking the Cards as a short road pup here. They have the shooting prowess to score over top of the UVA pack line defense, which they did with ease when Louisville scored 80 in a seven-point win in the first meeting earlier this year.
Southern -1.5 vs. Prairie View
6:30 p.m. ET
Let’s get some SWACtion in here. Southern has been playing its best basketball of the season of late, with six-straight wins. The Jaguars have won all six by double digits and covered each with ease.
They will close out their regular season with plenty of motivation as they look for revenge from an earlier season loss to Prairie View. A win also locks up the No. 2 seed in the upcoming SWAC Tournamnet.
On the other hand, Prairie View has already locked up the outright SWAC title and No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Panthers looked a bit disinterested in their last game at Alcorn State in an upset loss and I’m not sure how much of a focused effort you’ll get today with nothing on the line. That could show up with a drop-off in efficiency in the high-pressure style of defense the Panthers utilize.
I think Southern ends its six-game losing streak against Prairie View and keeps it rolling at home.
DePaul +10 at Providence
6:30 p.m. ET on FS1
It’s finally time to fade my Friars, who I think are a touch overvalued here after a recent hot stretch. Plus, I have no issues fading PC as a favorite. Ed Cooley’s bunch really struggles from the line at just 69% overall (248th).
If you recall, Providence was actually a 1.5-point underdog when these two teams first met back in early January when the Friars won by one on a free throw with one second left.
Despite their season taking a turn for the worse during conference play, the Blue Demons have continued to fight and compete. They even picked up a win over Marquette in their most recent game — despite not having the services of star big man Paul Reed, who’s listed as questionable but I think plays tonight.
Providence is just one of those teams I love to fade as a sizable favorite and the numbers have backed that up this year. The Friars are just 3-7 ATS as a favorite of seven or more points this year with four outright losses to Northwestern, Penn, Long Beach State and Charleston.
It’s also not a bad matchup on paper for DePaul.
Mississippi State -6 vs. Ole Miss
6:30 p.m. ET on SECN
All good things must come to an end. It’s time to finally fade a Rebels team that was very generous to me this season, but the market has recently caught up.
Mississippi State obviously needs this game to keep its tourney hopes alive but this game means much more than that. Not only is this the regular season finale at home against an in-state rival, the Bulldogs will be out for blood after suffering one of the most embarrassing losses in program history against Ole Miss in Oxford earlier this season.
Ole Miss outscored its rival 50-24 in the second half en route to a 83-58 romp in which Breein Tyree scored 40 points.
Mississippi State should come out with its hair on fire for this one in front of the Starkville faithful. The Bulldogs should dominate the boards both ends and get to the line at a high clip (where they are rock solid at north of 75%) against an Ole Miss defense that fouls a ton.
Ole Miss is also just 1-9 straight up on the road this season. I don’t see that improving today. I split this up with a bet on the first half as well.