The college basketball regular season is slowly coming to an end with conference tournaments right around the corner. As we get ready for the tournaments, we still have a handful of games left to decide where each team will finish. These next few weeks will be crucial for some teams trying to make that final push to the big dance. With that being said, we have a couple key in conference battles that we will break down and have picks for this huge college basketball slate.
TCU @ Baylor: 12:00pm ET
Baylor -11.5 (-114): This has been a nice year for the Horned Frogs, but they have been struggling as of late especially turning the ball over. It doesn’t help that TCU as a whole shoots 30% from three and 67% from the free throw line. What’s going to keep them in this game is their ability at second chance opportunities. Now, with Baylor having a guy like LJ Cryer back in the fold is really going to give this squad a lift. He is the team’s leader in points per game at 13.5 PPG shooting 47% from behind the arch. I see this matchup being slowed down; TCU likes to play at a slow pace but the guard play from Baylor will be too much. Laying the points with the Bears.
Illinois @ Michigan St: 12:00pm ET
Michigan St +1.5 (-110): I like the dog in this matchup. Michigan St has 2 great three-point shooters in Tyson Walker and Malik Hall who can do a little bit of everything. The one thing that worries me is the turnovers for this squad. Averaging around 14 turnovers per game, the Spartans are going to have to do a better job taking care of the ball. Now, with Illinois I think they’ll be able to control the glass with a guy like Kofi Cockburn who can do it all. Last time these two teams played, Illinois won at home 56-55 so the revenge factor is definitely at play, and I think the Spartans need this game more. Riding with the home team +1.5.
Texas Tech @ Texas: 12:30pm ET
Texas -3.5 (-110): These two teams played earlier in the month with the Red Raiders winning at home by a final of 77-64. Texas being back home in front of their fans for this one is going to help. Both teams play extremely tough defense so getting points will be at a minimum here. With Texas Tech, what are we going to see from Kevin McCullar, will he be at 100%? If this game comes down to the wire, I think Texas has the advantage with their free throw shooting as they shoot around 75.5% from the line. They have active hands as they generate 8.2 steals per game. But you got to think revenge is going to play a factor this time around as the Red Raiders got the best of Texas the first time around. Siding with the home and laying the points.
Alabama @ Kentucky: 1:00pm ET
Kentucky -6.5 (-110): Last time these two teams played, Kentucky won as the underdog, oddsmakers did not make the same mistake this time around. I expect Tyty Washington to play in this game, he will be limited but him giving you at least 20 minutes per game is huge for this squad. I expect Kentucky to win the battle on the glass as Alabama doesn’t have a single guy who gives you more than 6 rebounds per game. I think this is a bad spot for Alabama, Kentucky is a tough place to play at especially when the Wildcats are clicking. I think Kentucky gets their pace and limits Alabama offensively. Laying the points with the Wildcats.
Notre Dame @ Wake Forest: 1:00pm ET
Wake Forest -6 (-106): Wake Forest is a much different team home vs being on the road. At home they’re giving up 13 points less per game. Coming back home after that tough loss to Duke, I think the Demon Deacons will be motivated to snap their losing streak. You got to give it to this Notre Dame bunch, winning 5 in a row and they’re doing it with their defense, only allowing 64 points or fewer in 4 of their last 5 games. But I think this winning streak comes to an end, Notre Dame doesn’t do a good job rebounding or generating steals which Wake Forest does really well. Give me the home team to get the job done and to cover the -6.