When a team gets snubbed from the NCAA Tournament and reaches the NIT, things can go one of two ways. There can either be disappointment in missing the “Big Dance” and they have a lackluster outing in the NIT, or they can play with a chip on their shoulder to show the selection committee that they deserved to be in the field of 64.
That’s where things stand with Texas A&M, as the Aggies reached the SEC championship game but failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Buzz Williams made an impassioned plea as to why A&M should’ve made the tournament. And the Aggies have come out strong so far in the NIT, reaching the quarterfinals tonight.
Two NIT quarterfinal matchups highlight our NCAAB best bets for this Tuesday in NCAAB men’s college basketball.
Texas A&M (25-12) is on a mission to prove the doubters wrong, as they have scored double-digit wins so far in this tournament over Alcorn State and Oregon. Now, the Aggies face a Wake Forest team (25-9) that was expected to be in the NCAA Tournament as well but fell short due to a late-season slump that included a loss to Boston College in the ACC tournament. Wake has a 10-point win over Towson and then a six-point victory over VCU to reach the NIT round of eight.
A&M hosts the Demon Deacons tonight as 2.5-point favorites. Wake is averaging 79 points per game compared to the Aggies’ 73, but Texas A&M is allowing 61 points per game compared to Wake’s 69.
Each team has won four of its last five, but since an eight-game losing streak that killed the Aggies’ tournament hopes, they have won 10 of its last dozen games. Wake won seven of eight through late January into February but is 5-4 since.
Wake is 6-3-1 against the spread on the road, but the Aggies come in covering eight of their last 10 games. They are also 16-2 as the betting favorite and 15-4 straight up at home this year. The Aggies are 1-0 against the ACC this year (win over Notre Dame) while Wake Forest fell to their only SEC opponent this year (LSU). We like A&M to win and cover with the home-court advantage.
The final NIT quarterfinal matchup to determine the Final Four of the tournament next week in New York takes place in Utah, and it’s a battle of the Cougars: Washington State (21-14) visits BYU (24-10).
The teams are evenly matched statistically, as BYU is averaging three more points per game, but Washington State is allowing three fewer points per contest.
After a five-game losing streak in February that included losses against the Pac-12’s elite in Arizona, UCLA, and USC, Wazzou went on to win seven of its past nine games with their last loss being by 10 points to the Bruins in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals. After beating Santa Clara, Washington State went on the road on Sunday to beat top-seed SMU, 75-63.
BYU was 14-3 after a win over St. Mary’s in the WCC, but then the Cougars lost five out of seven and fell in the conference tournament to San Francisco in the quarterfinal round. They have beat Long Beach State and Northern Iowa to reach this point in the NIT.
BYU is an impressive 14-2 at home this year but just 7-7 against the spread. Washington State is 7-5 both straight up and ATS on the road and is coming off that impressive win over SMU as 2.5-point underdogs. We like Washington State getting three points here tonight.
Middle Tennessee came from behind and then pulled away over Abilene Christian in a 85-69 win last night, while UNC-Wilmington handled Northern Colorado 80-64 on Tuesday, and both teams come back a day later to play in the CBI Championship game in Daytona Beach, Florida.
On average, the Blue Raiders (26-10) are scoring three more points and allowing two fewer points per game than the Seahawks (26-9). In their last five, MTSU has allowed over 70 points just once, and that was in a triple-overtime loss to UAB in the Conference USA championship game. The Seahawks won the regular season of the Colonial Athletic Association but fell in the title game to Delaware.
As we mentioned yesterday, the Blue Raiders are one of the best teams this season against the spread, putting up a 25-7-2 ATS record after covering against Abilene Christian last night. The Seahawks are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games and a solid 22-10-1 overall. Because the Seahawks have played just as well as MTSU recently, we think this will be a one-possession game, so take UNC-Wilmington and the points.