No. 20 Notre Dame at N.C. State (+5., 157.5)
No. 20 Notre Dame has a great opportunity Saturday to extend its winning streak to four games when it visits stumbling North Carolina State, which will be playing its first game since firing coach Mark Gottfried. The sixth-year coach, who led the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament in his first four seasons, will finish out the season in the role before departing, but his squad has dropped six straight and is just a game out of last place in the ACC.
“It has been a privilege to serve as head coach of NC State, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished during my time here,” Gottfried said in a release. “NC State is a special place and I appreciate the opportunity to finish the remainder of the season.” The firing comes on the heels of three straight defeats by at least 24 points, which should have the Fighting Irish licking their chops as they look to keep the heat on the front-runners in the conference. Notre Dame is a half-game behind a trio of teams in second place and 1 1/2 games behind first-place North Carolina following an 84-76 win at Boston College on Tuesday. Bonzie Colson continued an impressive run with 20 points as the Irish improved to 4-3 on the road in the ACC.
* Fighting Irish are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Wolfpack are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 4-1 in Fighting Irish last 5 overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Wolfpack last 6 games following a ATS loss.
Tulsa at No. 17 Cincinnati (-16.5, 132.5)
No. 17 Cincinnati got right back to business after seeing its 15-game winning streak end and looks to take advantage of another struggling team when Tulsa visits Saturday for an American Athletic Conference contest. The Bearcats held last-place South Florida to 36.7 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers in a 68-54 win Wednesday after losing at SMU on Sunday.
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin goes after his 300th collegiate victory – 69 coming at Murray State – as the Bearcats trail SMU by a half-game with five contests left before the AAC Tournament. “There’s still work to do,” Cincinnati junior forward Gary Clark told reporters. “The reality is that you’ve still got a lot more games, a lot of prepping to do – a lot of growing as a team to do, to do something in March.” Tulsa has dropped five consecutive games after a promising start to league play and shot just 29.8 percent from the field in Tuesday’s 71-53 loss at Central Florida. “I thought we competed for the most part,” Golden Hurricane coach Frank Haith told reporters. “We just didn’t make shots.”
* Golden Hurricane are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
* Bearcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
* Under is 8-2 in Golden Hurricane last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Under is 4-1 in Bearcats last 5 overall.
* Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
No. 2 Villanova at Seton Hall (+7, 137.5)
No. 2 Villanova appears to be on course for a No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament, where the Wildcats clashed with Seton Hall in the title game a year ago. The Pirates won that matchup, but the Wildcats have won 31 of 33 games since – including the 2016 national championship – and they can continue that run Saturday at Seton Hall.
The Wildcats trounced the Pirates in the first matchup this season, 76-46, in mid-January as Kris Jenkins led five double-digit scorers with 16 points. Jenkins notched 13 points against DePaul in Villanova’s last game, but he continued to struggle with his jumper, shooting 33.3 percent or worse from 3-point range for the sixth time in seven games. He hopes to get back on track against a Seton Hall squad that has won three of four and needs a win Saturday to have any chance at an at-large bid to the Big Dance. The Pirates knocked off Creighton on Wednesday behind Khadeen Carrington’s career-high 41 points.
* Wildcats are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
* Under is 14-3 in Wildcats last 17 overall.
* Under is 7-1 in Pirates last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings.
Wake Forest at No. 14 Duke (-12, 159)
No. 14 Duke has worked its way back into the ACC title chase and will try to stay there when it hosts Wake Forest on Saturday. The Blue Devils have won six straight to climb back within one game of first-place North Carolina in a crowded field near the top of the conference.
The Blue Devils began the season as the nation’s top-ranked team, and after some early hiccups, they’re beginning to look like a national championship contender again. “We didn’t have our full team until late, and then when we got our full team, there were little bumps in the road just trying to figure out everything,” Duke freshman forward Jayson Tatum told reporters. “We’re not there yet. We’re still learning. But I think we’re getting better each and every day.” Duke barely eked out an 85-83 victory at Wake Forest on Jan. 28 – the game that started its current winning streak. The Demon Deacons, who have lost four of their last seven overall and two straight on the road, have dropped 17 in a row at Duke dating to 1997.
* Demon Deacons are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
* Blue Devils are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games.
* Over is 10-1 in Demon Deacons last 11 overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Blue Devils last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Demon Deacons are 3-13 ATS in the last 16 meetings in Duke.
Virginia Tech at No. 7 Louisville (-12.5, 144.5)
Finally at near full strength again, No. 7 Louisville is digging in for a late-season push for an ACC title. The Cardinals, who play three of their remaining five games at the KFC Yum! Center, start the stretch Saturday when Virginia Tech visits.
Sitting just one game behind North Carolina and tied with Duke and Florida State for the second spot in the conference standings, the defensive-oriented Cardinals have a big game next Wednesday at North Carolina before finishing the season by sandwiching home contests against Syracuse and Note Dame in between a trip to Wake Forest. After a six-game absence (hip), point guard Quentin Snider returned two games ago in a win over Miami along with big men Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang (one game suspensions) and senior guard Tony Hicks is nearing a return from a broken hand but is not expected to face the Hokies. Donovan Mitchell led five Cardinals in double figures with 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in Monday’s 76-72 overtime win at Syracuse, but seldom-used Ryan McMahon was the hero, scoring all seven of his points in overtime. Virginia Tech has won its last two contests, an 80-78 double-overtime victory against Virginia on Feb. 12 before overcoming a 13-point deficit in the second half and knocking off Pittsburgh 66-63 on Tuesday.
* Cardinals are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 4-1 in Hokies last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 4-0 in Cardinals last 4 overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Cardinals last 4 vs. Atlantic Coast.
No. 3 Kansas at No. 4 Baylor (-2, 145)
Third-ranked Kansas can take another huge step toward garnering its 13th straight regular season Big 12 championship Saturday afternoon when it travels to Baylor. A win over the No. 4-ranked Bears, who enter the game in sole possession of second place, would give the Jayhawks a three-game lead with just four games to go.
It doesn’t figure to be easy, however, for Bill Self and Co., who trailed 34-28 at halftime in the first meeting at Allen Fieldhouse and needed a pair of Frank Mason III free throws with a second to go to clinch a nip-and-tuck 73-68 victory Feb. 1. Baylor fans have had the rematch circled ever since, and students were allowed to begin camping outside the Ferrell Center starting at 5 p.m. on Friday night to get the best seats for the contest. The Bears, who like the Jayhawks are currently ranked as a No. 1 seed by the NCAA Selection Committee, can close to within one game of first place with a victory. “If Baylor is successful, then it’s anyone’s game,” Self said. “And if we were to play well down there and be fortunate enough to win, it would look like it would be a pretty significant hill to climb for the others.”
* Jayhawks are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big 12.
* Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 6-1-1 in Jayhawks last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 6-1-1 in Bears last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 6-1-1 in the last 8 meetings.
Texas Tech at No. 12 West Virginia (-12, 143)
The Red Raiders, who upset No. 4 Baylor 84-78 on Monday for their third victory in the last eight games, play their third consecutive contest against a ranked team since losing to Kansas 80-79 last Saturday and have covered their last four games in a row. The Red Raiders prevailed in the first meeting of the season 77-76 in overtime on senior forward Anthony Livingston’s 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left for their first victory in the last seven encounters with the Mountaineers.
West Virginia leads the country in turnovers forced with 21.9 per game while Texas Tech commits the 19th-fewest in the country (entering Friday) at 10.9, recording 13 against West Virginia in the last meeting. The Mountaineers are 6-1 in Big 12 home games this season – including blowout victories over Kansas and Baylor – while the Red Raiders are winless in six road conference contests, although the last three were by a combined nine points.
* Red Raiders are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
* Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Over is 8-2 in Red Raiders last 10 Saturday games.
* Over is 6-1 in Mountaineers last 7 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings.
No. 13 Florida at Mississippi State (+10.5, 146.5)
The Gators, who share the SEC lead with No. 11 Kentucky, lost redshirt junior center John Egbunu to a torn ACL in his left knee during the first half of their record-breaking 114-95 win at Auburn on Tuesday. Florida is riding a seven-game winning streak in which they are 6-1 ATS including 4-0 ATS on the road.
The Bulldogs opened conference play 3-1 but tailed off badly and have lost three in a row and five of six while allowing more than 70 points in each defeat. Mississippi State will attempt to snap a 16-game losing streak against ranked teams. Luckily for Bulldogs backers they have covered in five consecutive home games.
* Gators are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games.
* Over is 12-3 in Gators last 15 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Over is 5-1 in Bulldogs last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Colorado at No. 8 Oregon (-11.5, 142)
Colorado is peaking at the right time, having won six of its last seven games to breathe some life to its once-non-existent NCAA Tournament chances. But the Buffaloes’ late-season surge will face its toughest challenge yet Saturday as they visit No. 8 Oregon in Eugene, where the Ducks have reeled off an NCAA-best 41 straight wins and will be playing their season home finale.
Oregon’s latest triumph at Matthew Knight Arena came Thursday night when it routed visiting Utah 79-61 behind 53.4-percent shooting and 10 blocks on the other end of the court – all while wearing squint-inducing “electric-green” uniforms. “I think every month we’ve gotten better and better,” Ducks forward Jordan Bell said afterward in a post-game news conference. “We’re a totally different team when we (lost) in Maui and at Baylor. … I think we’re making steps consistently.” Colorado, meanwhile, weathered several runs from Pac-12 cellar-dweller Oregon State for a 60-52 road win and now will try to cap a season sweep of the Ducks after winning 74-65 last month in Boulder. “We’ve just gotta go in there, let it all hang out and not overthink it,” Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said Thursday night. “We have to be ready to play with great energy, great passion and great toughness because Oregon is a good team, (and) they’re going to be loaded for bear.”
* Ducks are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
* Under is 10-2 in Buffaloes last 12 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 5-1 in Ducks last 6 games following a straight up win.
* Home team is 7-0 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
* Favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
Pacific at No. 1 Gonzaga (-29, 141)
The Tigers don’t rate as much of an upset threat with their 2-10 road record. However, Pacific did record a 76-65 victory at Portland on Thursday to win for just the second time in its last 10 overall games. Sophomore forward Anthony Townes was superb in the victory over Portland with 18 points and a career-best 16 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
Top-ranked Gonzaga looks for its 28th consecutive victory while chasing an unbeaten regular season. The Bulldogs have won each of their past 19 games by double digits as they roll through their conference opponents with ease. Most importantly for bettors, is that not only is Gonzaga the top ranked team in the nation, but also the best bet at 19-4-1 ATS. What’s even more impressive about that number is that the Zags are regualarily covering huge spreads. They’ve covered the last four in which they have been favored by 21-points or more.
* Tigers are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Bulldogs are 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a ATS win.
* Over is 4-1 in Tigers last 5 games following a ATS win.
* Over is 13-3 in Bulldogs last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Michigan State at No. 16 Purdue (-9.5, 141)
Purdue has moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten and next tries to solve a suddenly hot Michigan State squad when the No. 16 Boilermakers host the Spartans on Saturday. Purdue has won four straight games and nine of its last 11 and is tied for first with Maryland and Wisconsin after the Badgers dropped their last two games.
Michigan State won four of its last five games — beating Ohio State on Tuesday — and is tied for fourth place with Northwestern after suddenly finding its groove. “We’re a grinder team, and I’m proud of my guys for being that way,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said after the victory over the Buckeyes. “It’s a blue-collar team and I don’t mind people calling me a blue-collar coach.” The Boilermakers are looking to win a fifth consecutive Big Ten game for the first time since the 2010-11 season but have dropped eight of their past 10 against Michigan State despite notching a victory last month. Sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan has recorded eight consecutive double-doubles and leads the nation with 22 while averaging 18.7 points and 13 rebounds per game.
* Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
* Boilermakers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home games.
* Over is 8-1 in Spartans last 9 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 8-1 in Boilermakers last 9 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings.
* Road team is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
No. 18 Florida State at Pittsburgh (+5.5, 153.5)
No. 18 Florida State is very much alive for the ACC regular-season championship, but the Seminoles must overcome what is beginning to become a fatal flaw. Struggling Pittsburgh, in what is quickly becoming one of the most difficult seasons in decades, will try to block Florida State’s rise to the top when it hosts the Seminoles on Saturday.
Sitting just one game behind North Carolina and tied with Duke and Louisville for the second spot, Florida State has had a week to think about its 84-72 loss at Notre Dame last Saturday – a defeat that snapped a three-game winning streak in which the team averaged 93 points and won by an average margin of 33 points. The problem has been on the road, where Florida State has been down by at least 18 points in three of their last four games and haven’t played well away from home all season. “If you’re not at your very best every night out, it’s going to be very difficult to win,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton told reporters. The Panthers, winners of two straight after an eight-game slide, squandered an 11-point halftime lead and fell 66-63 to Virginia Tech on Tuesday.
* Seminoles are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
* Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Under is 9-2 in Seminoles last 11 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 4-1 in Panthers last 5 Saturday games.
No. 11 Kentucky at Georgia (+7.5, 149)
Following an embarrassing loss at Florida two weeks, ago, No. 11 Kentucky appears to have regained its swagger entering Saturday’s road trip to Georgia. The Wildcats have won three in a row since that 22-point drubbing to the Gators, but more importantly is the urgency they have played with in the three games since, including an impressive first half in Tuesday’s 83-58 rout of Tennessee.
“We were playing that way early,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told reporters afterward, referencing the Wildcats’ 17-2 start, followed by three losses in four games, “we got away from it, so it made us look like a different team.” The only victory by Kentucky in that 1-3 stretch came against Georgia on Jan. 31, but it was not easy as the Bulldogs took the game to overtime before succumbing 90-81. The Bulldogs have won two in a row after dropping five of their previous six, beating Mississippi State 79-72 on Tuesday. “In the second half, we were certainly much better,” Georgia coach Mark Fox told the media after the Bulldogs scored 51 points in the final 20 minutes.
* Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
* Bulldogs are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS loss.
* Over is 8-1 in Wildcats last 9 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
* Over is 4-1 in Bulldogs last 5 overall.
* Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Georgia.
No. 23 Southern Methodist at Houston (+2, 129)
The red-hot Mustangs have won nine consecutive games, including an 80-75 comeback victory against Tulane on Wednesday to maintain their half-game lead over 17th-ranked Cincinnati at the top of the conference standings. SMU has been winning with defense as the Mustangs have held five of their last six opponents to 60 points or fewer, and hopes to extend their winning streak by beating the Cougars for fifth time in the last six meetings.
Houston is making a late surge for its first NCAA Tournament berth in seven years as it downed Tulsa 73-64 on Feb. 11 to notch its fifth consecutive victory. The Cougars have won three straight home games during their streak and hope to play their way back on the right side of the tournament bubble by avenging an 85-64 loss at SMU on Jan. 21. Hot-shooting Houston is averaging 82 points over its last three games but will likely face a stiff test against SMU, which is ranked third nationally in scoring defense (58.6).
* Mustangs are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Cougars are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Under is 6-1 in Mustangs last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Under is 4-0 in Cougars last 4 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
No. 6 Arizona at Washington (+9.5, 150.5)
The Wildcats might be shorthanded when they travel to Washington. Starting point guard Kadeem Allen missed Thursday’s victory at Washington State after dislocating the pinkie finger on his shooting hand during practice Tuesday, and starting forward Dusan Ristic sat out the second half after spraining his ankle. But the Wildcats still have plenty of options to create mismatches. Allonzo Trier, the top returning scorer this season, is due for a breakout game after combining for 11 points the last two contests, and 7-foot freshman Lauri Markkanen – who scored 19 points against Washington State – should give the undersized Huskies problems.
Washington has lost eight in a row, going 1-7 ATS during the skid and will have to lean heavily on the Pac-12’s leading scorer in Markelle Fultz, who returned from a two-game absence with an ankle injury and scored 19 points Thursday in an 83-81 loss to Arizona State.
* Wildcats are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
* Huskies are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 7-0 in Huskies last 7 overall.
* Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
No. 15 Virginia at No. 9 North Carolina (-5, 138.5)
The Tar Heels face four ranked teams in a difficult four-game stretch, including two contests against Virginia, after rolling over North Carolina State 97-73 on Wednesday to solidify their one-game advantage on three teams atop the ACC. The Tar Heels look to take advantage of a Virginia team that has dropped two consecutive games and four of the last six contests.
The Cavaliers still lead the nation in scoring defense (55.5), but have given up 66.5 per game over the last four outings after Wednesday’s 65-55 loss to red-hot Duke. The Cavaliers have scored points by committee much of the season but senior guard London Perrantes is not getting much help of late as he is averaging 15.8 points over the past five contests.
* Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Cavaliers last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 5-1 in Tar Heels last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
Southern California at No. 5 UCLA (-9.5, 172)
USC will try to run its winning streak to five games against No. 5 UCLA and are 4-1 ATS in those games. USC beat then-No. 7 UCLA by eight points earlier this season after winning both meetings a year ago and then went on to win five in a row before losing by 11 points Saturday to No. 9 Oregon. The Trojans are two games back of UCLA in fifth and, at this point, playing for city pride and a better conference tournament seeding.
UCLA has regrouped since losing to the Trojans and comes in riding a four-game winning streak, highlighted by an 82-79 win against visiting Oregon on Feb. 9. The added motivation of ending the losing streak to their crosstown rival should bring out the best in the Bruins, who’ve also gone nearly a week since their last game. UCLA enters the weekend 2 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona in the Pac-12 with a game remaining next week at the No. 6 Wildcats and 1 1/2 games behind Oregon.
* Trojans are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
* Bruins are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games as a home favorite.
* Over is 4-0 in Trojans last 4 Saturday games.
* Under is 4-1 in Bruins last 5 overall.
* Trojans are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
* Over is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in UCLA.
No. 19 South Carolina at Vanderbilt (+1.5, 134.5)
The Gamecocks are seeking their fourth straight SEC road victory as they look to bounce back from Wednesday’s home loss to Arkansas. The Gamecocks missed last year’s NCAA Tournament because of a late-season swoon, and they’re trying to avoid a similar collapse – not to mention maintain their hopes for their first SEC title in two decades. The Gamecocks lead the nation in 3-point defense, holding opponents to 28.1 percent, but have given up 26 3-pointers in their last three games and will need to tighten up their perimeter defense against a Vanderbilt team that lights it up from beyond the arc.
he Commodores are one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams, as they lead the SEC in 3-point percentage (38.3) and 3-point field goals per game (10). The Commodores lost two of three before Thursday’s 72-67 win over visiting Texas A&M. Vanderbilt had been considered an NCAA Tournament bubble team, thanks to one of the nation’s toughest schedules, but losses to Ole Miss and Missouri in recent weeks have damaged its resume to the point the team might need to run the table in order to remain in the selection committee’s conversation.
* Gamecocks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
* Commodores are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
* Over is 5-0 in Gamecocks last 5 overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Commodores last 6 home games.
* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
No. 21 St. Mary’s at Brigham Young (+4.5, 142.5)
Saint Mary’s bounced back from a 74-64 setback to Gonzaga by crushing Loyola Marymount 81-48 on Thursday and probably cannot afford another loss before a third matchup with Gonzaga looms in the WCC final if it is to entertain thoughts of making the NCAA Tournament. That point hits harder because Saint Mary’s wasn’t invited to the 2016 NCAA Tournament despite having a 27-5 record on Selection Sunday and could have the same mark this season – especially with a loss Saturday.
The Cougars are coming off an 82-70 victory over San Diego on Thursday, improving to 7-1 in WCC home games with the only blemish 85-75 to Gonzaga on Feb. 2 while winning for the third time in four contests since. The Gaels won the first meeting this season at home 81-68 on Jan. 5 behind 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists from junior center Jock Landale, but lost their last three at BYU by a combined 46 points.
* Gaels are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
* Cougars are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Under is 4-1 in Gaels last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
* Under is 7-1 in Cougars last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Favorite is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings.