NCAA Men’s Basketball Previews, Picks and Predictions for Tuesday, March 1

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NCAA Men’s Basketball Previews, Picks and Predictions for Tuesday, March 1
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Here is tonight's 3-pointer, college basketball betting advice on three NCAA men's games.

Providence vs. Villanova

  • Finneran Pavilion, Philadelphia
  • 6:30 p.m. ET Tip

The Villanova Wildcats will look to sweep the Big East Conference regular-season champion Providence Friars at home tonight.

The Friars won their first-ever Big East regular-season title in a 72-51 crushing of the Creighton Blue Jays Saturday. That win, combined with Villanova’s 71-69 loss at No. 21 Connecticut last Tuesday, clinched the title for the Friars.

How Teams Look Coming In

Villanova coach Jay Wright had seven days to prepare this game, which might prove detrimental to the Friars.

Collin Gillespie averages 16.6 points per game for the Wildcats and has been playing on a sprained ankle for more than a month. Justin Moore has been suffering from the same type of injury and is the second-leading scorer on the squad, averaging 15.3 points per game. The Wildcats’ offense is designed around the depth of their guard position, which accounts for eight of the 14 roster positions.

Wright elected to start the season pitting his team against some of the best teams in the country. The Wildcats had 73% of the minutes played and 71% of the points scored returning from last season.

They took on UCLA, a Final Four participant in last year’s NCAA Tournament, in November and lost 86-77 installed as 3-point underdogs. In November, they beat SEC power Tennessee 71-53, priced as 2-point neutral court favorites. They lost to Purdue 80-74, priced as 3-point neutral court underdogs. Then in December, they lost to defending champion Baylor 57-36 and failed to cover the spread as 5.5-point underdogs.

I reference this type of schedule as ‘seasoning,’ which will pay off for the Wildcats in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. Based on my power ratings, the Wildcats have had the toughest schedule by a significant margin over any of the other 11 Big East teams this season.

The power ratings also show that Villanova is a 9.5-point home favorite against Providence. The public will bet the double-digit road underdog simply because they are the Big East Champions and not recognize that the Wildcats are the superior team at both ends of the court.

Wright is 19-9-1 against the spread when playing in the second half of the season against elite opponents sporting a win percentage of at least 70% on the season.

Bet Villanova minus the points.

Ole Miss vs. Kentucky

  • Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
  • 7 p.m. ET Tip

The No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats will look to build winning momentum in their home finale against Ole Miss tonight.

The Wildcats are 2-2 over their past four games and are coming off a hard-fought 75-73 loss at then-No. 18 Arkansas. So, they certainly need a bounce-back win against the Rebels, who are 13-16 on the season.

The line for this game opened with the Wildcats priced as a 17-point home favorite. I think the market will see Mississippi money come in and make Kentucky less of a favorite as the betting day wears on ahead of tip-off.

So, if you like Kentucky in this matchup, wait until about an hour before game time to make your bet.

A Solid Betting System Supporting Kentucky

This betting system has produced an 80-54 against the spread record for 62% winning bets over the last five seasons of action.

The requirements are to bet on double-digit favorites that are coming off a loss of six or fewer points and taking on a foe that trailed at the half by 15 or more points in their previous game.

I am taking Kentucky to the window.

Cal State Northridge vs. UC-Santa Barbara

  • The Thunderdome, Santa Barbara, California
  • 10 p.m. ET Tip

Two struggling Big West Conference teams meet as the CS-Northridge Matadors travel to take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos tonight.

The Gauchos are in seventh place in the conference standings and the Matadors have lived up to their mascot reputation and have avoided wins quite well this season.

How The Teams Come Into This Matchup

The Gauchos are coming off a double-overtime thriller against UC-Riverside, winning 97-90 Saturday night. The Matadors are coming off another 68-49 defeat in conference action to UC-Davis.

The Matadors are simply a team that struggles to score points. They have been outscored by an average of 10.1 points, ranking 333 among the 358 Division I basketball programs.

By comparison, the Gauchos rank 65 by outscoring their opponents by an average of 5.8 points per game. The Gauchos will control the action and the pace of play in this matchup at both ends of the court.

I do like the Under bet in this game. The Under betting line opened at 132.5-points, and I see this game more in the 125 or fewer range.

The Gauchos are a highly profitable 18-3 Under after allowing 85 or more points in their previous game. The Matadors are 10-2 Under after trailing by double-digits at the half in each of their last two games.

Bet the Under.

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John Ryan

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