College basketball takes center stage

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN.com) 

With college football’s regular season in the rearview mirror, college basketball will soon dominate sports betting on Saturdays. 

 

Fans will get a taste of that this weekend with several marquee matchups. Let’s see how betting markets have been evaluating the programs you’ll be watching on TV. Late-week computer rankings posted by Ken Pomeroy at kenpom.com are in parentheses to help you see the national picture. 

 

No. 10 Oregon (14) at No. 5 Michigan (17) (noon ET, CBS) 

This is the biggest game of the day, according to the AP poll. But you’ll soon see that Pomeroy’s rankings are pointing toward a much later matchup. 

Michigan recently won the Battle 4 Atlantis with victories over Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga — with a couple of wipeouts since. The Wolverines ( 5.5) lost by 15 at Louisville, then fell at Illinois by nine as a very short dog. They’re still 6-4 against the spread but no longer a secret. Oregon has shocked the market to the tune of 7-2 ATS but did lose close games straight up to North Carolina and Gonzaga in the Bahamas. Saturday’s tip is a bad body-clock start time for the Ducks. 

 

No. 13 Memphis (34) at No. 19 Tennessee (21) (3 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Pomeroy is not nearly as excited about Memphis as pollsters are. The market has overpriced the Tigers in three of their last five outings. Tennessee’s last three games have landed within a point of the number, suggesting the market is rating the Vols correctly. Both look to be at least round-of-32 caliber Big Dance entries.

 

UCLA (110) at Notre Dame (63) (3 p.m. ET, ABC)

A storied matchup in terms of basketball history, but potentially just a preview of NIT-bound teams given current skepticism. The Bruins are 60% to cash so far this season and did cover two of three at the Maui Invitational. Overrated Notre Dame is 3-6-1 ATS, with poor showings as favorites vs. Marshall, Presbyterian, Toledo and Boston College. Body clock shouldn’t be an issue for the Bruins. 

 

No. 22 Seton Hall (18) at Rutgers (69) (4 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Unfortunately, you can’t bet either team at New Jersey sportsbooks. But this is obviously a game of great local interest that got even better when Rutgers waxed Wisconsin on Wednesday night 72-65 at pick-’em. That put the Scarlet Knights in the black for the season at 5-4-1 ATS. Seton Hall had covered six of its first eight before losing at Iowa State. A huge game for Rutgers in terms of building its resume. 

 

No. 6 Gonzaga (8) at No. 15 Arizona (12) (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

This is Pomeroy’s best game of the day. Set your DVRs if you’re not a night owl. Gonzaga has tested itself with road games and the trip to Atlantis. It won’t be intimidated in Tucson. Arizona has been overrated of late, dropping four of its last five ATS. 

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