NCAA Basketball – Abilene Christian/UCLA Under 133.5 (-110): 4:15 PM CT on TBS
This one is tough because of how well UCLA has been playing and their offensive metrics. However, there’s an interesting angle here with the venue. This game is at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and is the first game there for both these teams so they’re unfamiliar with the sightlines in the mostly empty arena. That’s important because games played at Bankers Life so far in the tournament are 8-1 to the under.
Also consider some of the other metrics like Abilene having the best defensive efficiency numbers in the country, forcing the most turnovers in the country, and UCLA playing at the 331st pace nationally. Abilene showed what their defense can do against Texas, and I’d expect them to lean on that here as well, so combine the venue with a slower pace and I see minimal points.
NCAA Basketball – Ohio +5.5 vs. Creighton (-110): 5:10 PM CT on TNT
Anyone who watched Ohio’s game against Virginia saw the grit that this team has, not to mention the talent with Jason Preston and Ben Vander Plas. Anyone who watched Creighton’s game against UCSB saw a team who really had no business escaping the first round. That puts these teams on opposite trajectories, especially when factoring in Creighton’s Big East title game performance and off-the-court issues.
The Bluejays want to shoot a lot from deep as they take the 20th most threes in the country, but they only shot 28% against UCSB. I think an underrated factor here is that Ohio has been one of the best 3-point defenses in the country in March, plus they can fill it up themselves as the 18th best shooting team in the country. With how underdogs have been playing over the weekend, I love getting this many points with a hot and hungry team. I’ll be playing the Bobcats on the moneyline for a little as well.
NCAA Basketball – LSU +5 vs Michigan (-110): 6:10 PM CT on CBS
Mark it down: LSU wins this game outright.
Just in case though we’ll take the five points with the Tigers here like most of the smart money seems to be doing. This is not your typical 1-8 matchup as Michigan is not a 1-seed without Isaiah Livers. They showed it on Saturday with their inability to put away a Texas Southern team who closed it to 12 points late in the 2nd half despite shooting 8% from deep.
That is a bad sign for going up against the multitude of scorers LSU brings, as their Saturday game saw Cam Thomas drop 27 while three teammates recorded double-doubles against an excellent St. Bonaventure defense. This sets up as a great game, but with the Big Ten wildly underperforming expectations and a fellow 1-seed already headed home, I have to roll with the dog here.
NCAA Basketball – Alabama -5 vs. Maryland (-110): 7:45 PM CT on TNT
Maryland has slain giants all season long in unexpected spots, but that ends here. Their win on Saturday was a little fraudulent when you consider UConn grabbed 22 offensive rebounds but couldn’t cash them in, plus the Terps shot well above their season averages from the floor and from deep.
The Maryland defense will have its work cut out for them here. They’re only 197th in opponent 3-point percentage, and against an Alabama team who makes the 2nd most threes per game and is the 18th best rebounding team, giving up second-chance opportunities will get you run out.
Let’s not forget about the quietly elite Tide defense either – 15th in efficiency and 10th in opponent effective field goal rate – that can shut down a Maryland offense due for regression. I see a comfortable win for Alabama here, and as a bonus pick, I also like under 139 points given the strong defenses and the venue of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 202-127 ATS (+66.9 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.