College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, March 6th

By Adam Burke  ( 

March 6, 2023 11:11 AM

College basketball schedule today has 14 games

Let’s call Monday the calm before the storm. The Sun Belt, West Coast, Colonial, Horizon, SoCon, Summit, Big Sky and Southland are the conferences playing tourney action today. Most of the big conference tournaments start tomorrow and Wednesday with first-round action. I’ll be on the new VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast with Tim Murray tonight for Tuesday’s new episode and we’ll have plenty more coverage this week and of course heading into the NCAA Tournament. (Tracking sheet)

Check out the latest edition of the VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast.

Here are some thoughts on the March 6 card (odds from DraftKings):

Northern Kentucky Norse vs. Youngstown State Penguins (-3.5, 137)

Chalk held up in the early rounds of the Horizon League Tournament, so we have 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 in the semifinals on Monday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. These two teams split the regular season meetings, with Northern Kentucky prevailing in 2OT on Jan. 1 at home and Youngstown State emerging victorious by 18 points at home on Feb. 4.

The Penguins made some tremendous adjustments from the first game to the second. They committed 24 turnovers in the first game, but only turned it over 10 times in the second game, though it is fair to note that there was 10 fewer minutes of game time in the second game. What stands out the most to me is that Dwyane Cohill for the Penguins had six turnovers in the first game, but only one in the rematch. He’s the guy that makes this offense go and the senior played a much stronger game.

When you look at these two teams defensively, the biggest difference is NKU’s ability to force turnovers. From an eFG% standpoint, Youngstown State ranks 265th at 52.1% and Northern Kentucky ranks 226th at 51.4%. The Norse are better at defending 2s, but opponents shot 37% from 3 against them. Youngstown State doesn’t take an extremely high rate of 3s, but does shoot 37.1% on them. Northern Kentucky’s TO% is why these teams are 150 spots apart in adjusted defensive efficiency, but Youngstown State doesn’t really turn the ball over and only had four more turnovers in the second meeting, which was an 18-point win.

The big issue defensively for the Penguins comes at the rim, where they’ve allowed a 63.2% FG% on Close Twos, but Northern Kentucky doesn’t finish effectively on the interior. The Norse are only shooting 50.9% on Close Twos (354th) and their 34.3% shot share is 231st. They prefer to take a lot of 3s with a 41.1% 3P Rate. Youngstown State, meanwhile, is shooting 66.4% on Close Twos (12th). It’s been tough to score at the rim on NKU, but the Penguins were 31-of-46 (67.4%) in the two meetings.

As long as the Penguins take decent care of the basketball, I think they win and cover.

Pick: Youngstown State -3.5

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