We’re down to one day to go before we’ve got a full bracket for the field of 68, and that means conference tournament finals are aplenty today. This is the time to use the lessons of the past two or three games as well as the regular season, because momentum makes a big difference at this time of the year.
Case in point: last year’s runs by Oregon State and Georgetown. Neither was a good team (which both teams absolutely proved this year by going a combined 9-53), but both got hot at the right time and became easy plays in their conference tournaments. If you can find an undervalued team that’s playing good basketball at the right time (hello, Indiana), you can absolutely cash in.
Here are my plays for March 12.
RICHMOND-DAYTON U131, -120
The Flyers don’t really fly all that much on the court, as they’re one of the slowest paced teams in the nation. That should be just fine with Richmond, which has been an under team all year and just played out a 55-53 rock fight with Dayton two weeks ago. The teams had a combined 112 shots in that game, which says this one is likely to again be played at a slow pace.
SAINT PETER’S -2.5, -110
I’ve ridden with the Peacocks for most of the season. I’m not changing now with Saint Peter’s one step away from making it to the NCAAs. They’ve played Monmouth twice and beaten them by five points both times. They are the more talented team and should be the team that comes out of the MAAC.
MONTANA STATE ML, -130
I don’t want to mess with a spread in the Big Sky title game. Montana State and Northern Colorado have met twice and both games were decided by just two points. The Big Sky tournament final is usually a close affair, but the one trend that dictates this league is that the higher seed usually wins the game. The higher seed has won the past five Big Sky finals, so I’m backing the Bobcats here.
VIRGINIA TECH +6.5, -110
ACC tournament finals also tend to be close affairs, and Virginia Tech would love nothing more than to take the decision out of the selection committee’s hands by winning the ACC title and earning the automatic bid. Duke also has a tendency to let teams hang around longer than they should, and that lends itself to taking the points with the Hokies.
CAL STATE FULLERTON ML, -120
This is the EJ Anosike revenge tour in the Big West tournament. Fullerton lost the first meeting because leading scorer Anosike only scored eight points against Long Beach State, but the Titans’ star has brought his best to the conference tournament. In two games in the Big West tourney, he’s notched a double-double both times, and one of those was against Hawaii, which held him to four points in the first matchup. Fullerton should get it done here.