The stakes are higher than ever in college basketball as teams round out their regular-season schedule and prepare for conference tournaments. Some teams are pursuing their dreams of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
There has been no shortage of upsets recently, most notably with the top-six teams all losing on the same day. This is unlikely to be replicated, but it is a sign that the madness of March has arrived.
Here are the best college basketball games to bet on Saturday, March 5.
Lock of the Day: Georgetown vs. Xavier
The Xavier Musketeers are all but guaranteed a win against the 6-23 Georgetown Hoyas. The only path to the NCAA Tournament comes from repeating as the Big East Tournament Champions. G’Town is no longer the dominant threat that its reputation deems it to be; however, as campus legend, Patrick Ewing— despite the university’s commitment to him— has not created a consistently competitive program.
Xavier is not the best team in the conference but has been competitive amongst the top dogs all year. The Big East expects to send the second-most representatives of any conference to March Madness. This game will be best combined in a parlay due to the lesser odds but is a near-lock for bettors. The Musketeer faithful may also benefit on the betting lines from the team’s recent five-game losing streak.
Upset Alert: #25 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers
Alabama has had a productive season and is a lock for the national tournament. As a dark horse national championship pick to start the year, they aren’t playing as well as expected. Instead, the Tide is 19-11 and fifth in the Southeastern Conference with a standout win over Gonzaga but inexcusable losses to Georgia and Missouri.
Alabama’s upcoming opponent, the unranked Tigers of LSU, has a better record (20-10) and is earmarked as a six seed in the latest edition of Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. They have only won one of their last four games, although their combined margin of defeat has been eight points. LSU has good guard play, size, and can match up with Alabama’s speed, which should help them seal a victory against their conference opponent.
Bubble Watch: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Clemson Tigers
Virginia Tech has won nine of its last 10 games in a ridiculous turnaround, putting a deplorable start to conference play behind them and surging up to the final spot in the projected “First Four Out.” The Hokies shoot the three-point shot extremely well, though they are very prone to cold streaks and have a balanced scoring attack with contributors off of the bench.
Their opponent in Clemson has won three straight games after losing six in a row prior, though they could be without leading scorer PJ Hall, who did not appear in any of the three wins. The odds should be fairly close for this game, giving a great opportunity for Virginia Tech bettors to earn some cash on a decent moneyline or spread.