College Basketball’s Best Bets for March 3

By Sidelines   March 3, 2022 

College Basketball’s Best Bets for March 3

A night after Wisconsin just about wrapped up a Big Ten regular season title on Tuesday, No. 5 Auburn clinched a share of the SEC championship last night. It wasn’t without some drama, however, as the Tigers were taken to overtime on the road at Mississippi State, but the Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 20-7 in the extra session to snap a three-game road losing streak and their first road cover since mid-January. The Tigers just have to beat South Carolina at home on Saturday to clinch the league crown.

Tonight, Michigan looks to continue its late push into NCAA tournament contention with a ranked team coming into Ann Arbor, and a rematch in the Big 12 could have a say into that league’s regular-season championship.

We’re also putting a bit of a streak on the line, as we’ve hit two out of three here at best bets in four-straight nights, so let’s see if we can at least keep that up if not have a perfect night as we take a look at tonight’s picks for NCAAB men’s college basketball.

TCU Horned Frogs vs. (6) Kansas Jayhawks

The Bet: TCU +11

Kansas has lost consecutive games for the first time this season after road losses at then-No. 10 Baylor and TCU on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, and now, it’s a rematch with the Horned Frogs just two days later, but this time at Allen Fieldhouse. 

Despite the losses, the Jayhawks (23-6, 12-4 Big 12) can win the Big 12 regular-season title by winning tonight and at home Saturday against Texas. It would be shocking to see Kansas lose three-straight games, and they are 13-1 at home this year, with the lone loss coming in a non-conference matchup with Kentucky.

TCU (19-9, 8-8 Big 12) likely played themselves off the bubble with wins over Texas Tech and Kansas in their last two games. The Horned Frogs have just one loss out of conference, and just three of their nine losses were to teams unlikely to make the NCAA tournament. They have lost three-straight on the road but all to upper-echelon Big 12 teams–losses to Texas Tech, Baylor, and Texas by a margin of nine to 13 points. 

So with tonight’s spread sitting at 11, how to we lean? TCU’s defense was impressive in keeping Kansas to 15 points beneath their scoring average in a 74-64 win on Tuesday. The Jayhawks have been below their scoring average in four of their last five games. The Horned Frogs are a defensive-minded team under head coach Jamie Dixon, and they’ve kept teams below 75 in six-straight games. TCU is also 6-1-1 against the spread on the road, whereas Kansas is 7-7 ATS in Lawrence. The Frogs are also 4-0-1 ATS in their last five overall, so while they may not pull out another win over Kansas tonight, we like their chances to stay within the spread. 

(24) Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines 

The Bet: Iowa +2

Michigan guard Eli Brooks talks with third-year head coach Juwan Howard near the sideline as the Wolverines go to the line to shoot a pair of free throws late in the first half against Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in State College.  Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK
Michigan guard Eli Brooks talks with third-year head coach Juwan Howard near the sideline as the Wolverines go to the line to shoot a pair of free throws late in the first half against Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in State College.  Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Iowa Hawkeyes (21-8, 11-7 Big Ten) are closing out the season strong, winners of four-straight games and seven of their last eight. They visit Michigan looking to avenge the only loss in that stretch, and the Wolverines are playing their eighth-straight game against a likely NCAA tournament team. They are 4-3 in that stretch, including 2-1 under acting head coach Phil Martelli after Juwan Howard was suspended for the final five games of the regular season.

Michigan (16-12, 10-8 Big Ten) is on a bit more solid footing after beating Michigan State handily on Tuesday, and a win here would give them some breathing room going into their finale at Ohio State and then the Big Ten tournament, where they will have to win at least one game to feel good about their NCAA tournament chances. 

The Wolverines are 6-8 against the spread at home while the Hawkeyes are 5-5 both straight up and ATS on the road. Iowa is also 5-2 ATS in this stretch where they have won six out of seven. In their last meeting that Michigan won 84-79, the Wolverines were 11 points above their scoring average. Since that loss, Iowa has won each of their last four games by double-digits, including wins over Michigan State and Ohio State, teams that are around the caliber of Michigan, so we expect Iowa to avenge that loss to Michigan last month as they continue to play well going into the postseason tournaments.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. SMU Mustangs

The Bet: SMU -7.5

With the Mustangs squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble, SMU (20-7, 11-4 American) need to shake off a loss at AAC-leading Houston and win their final two games, tonight at home against Cincinnati and then a home date with Tulane this weekend. It starts with the Mustangs desperate to break their 10-game losing streak to the Bearcats, but Cincy (17-13, 7-10 AAC) is struggling, having lost four-straight games and six of their last seven. 

The Bearcats beat the Mustangs 77-60 in early January, and Cincinnati was at 15-6 and 5-3 in the league at the end of that month. Since then, Cincy is 2-7 both straight up and against the spread. SMU is 9-3 since that loss in Cincinnati. They have won 10-straight on their home floor and have been one of the better teams against the spread as of late, going 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games. 

Given the trajectories of both teams, especially with SMU in desperate need of a good performance, we like the Mustangs to finally solve the Bearcats and get a solid victory here. 

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