College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, March 14th

By Adam Burke  ( 

March 14, 2023 12:10 PM

College basketball schedule today has 10 games

After writing nearly 12,000 words on March Madness for our matchup articles and Big Dance Betting Guide, it’s back to the daily article with 10 games on tap for Tuesday. Eight of them are in the NIT, which will wrap up in Las Vegas this year instead of New York City. The other two are the first of the First Four games in the NCAA Tournament. We’ve also got The Basketball Classic starting tomorrow and the CBI starting on Saturday, so there is still plenty of basketball. (Tracking sheet)

I’ll also be on the VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast with Tim Murray tonight to break down the South and East Regions. Catch the latest episode with Tim and Matt Youmans on the Midwest and West Regions.

Here are some thoughts on the March 14 card (odds from DraftKings):

Bradley Braves at Wisconsin Badgers (-3, 127)

Greg Gard seems to have a pretty hot seat in Madison, where Paul Chryst (football) and Tony Granato (men’s hockey) have both been on the chopping block this academic year. Gard must like his team’s chances to compete with fervor in the NIT, but I’m not so sure. I heard an interview from Bally Sports Wisconsin where Gard made the decision to accept the NIT invite. Most coaches ask their players, but it seems Gard made the call and did not mention it to the team.

Maybe the Badgers are invested. Maybe they’re not. They started the season 11-2 and went 6-12 the rest of the way. Bradley should absolutely be invested. Head coach Brian Wardle played at Marquette and coached at Wisconsin-Green Bay, so he’s a guy with a lot of ties to the state. This is also helpful when it comes to recruiting. Plus, it’s a chance for Bradley to beat a team from the premier conference in that part of the country.

The Braves are a really stingy defensive team and have the height and athleticism to slow down 7-footer Steven Crowl. They have go-to scorers and seniors who should be eager to erase the bad taste of that Drake loss. Bradley ranks 71st in 2P% at 52.7%, while Wisconsin is 330th in the nation at 45.8%. The Braves are better at finishing around the rim and Wisconsin is worse defensively at the rim.

Perhaps the Badgers put it all together and are sufficiently motivated, but this is a subpar team propped up by the accomplishments of the other teams in the conference in the efficiency metrics. Bradley has a great chance tonight.

Pick: Bradley +3

Toledo Rockets at Michigan Wolverines (-6, 162.5)

Did you know that Toledo could have been part of Michigan? Ohio and Michigan hated each other long before the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was a thing. The Toledo “War” of 1835-36 was a border dispute between the state of Ohio (statehood in 1803) and the Michigan Territory (not a state until 1837) that took place over the “Disputed Toledo Strip”, an important port city for shipping and manufacturing. Ultimately, the United States Congress suggested a compromise that Ohio would get Toledo and Michigan would get what became the Upper Peninsula. Michigan became a state shortly thereafter. One person was wounded (stabbed) in the “War”.

Oh, right, the basketball game. Hunter Dickinson should be able to go to war against this Toledo defense. I have no idea how the Rockets are going to stop the 7-foot-1 center, who apparently had a lot of say in whether or not Michigan would bother with the NIT. The Rockets rank 262nd in 2P% defense at 51.9% and 269th in 3P% defense at 35.5%.  As long as Dickinson doesn’t somehow get into foul trouble, he should have a monster game.

Mocks have Michigan's Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard going in the upcoming NBA Draft, so those are two guys that are likely looking to put on a show. Defense usually goes out the window early in the NIT, which is why this total is as high as it is, but players are looking to fill the stat sheet. Teams play more defense as they advance deeper into the tournament, but I think there’s a good chance that the Wolverines play closer to Toledo’s tempo, which should create more offense for Michigan.

Toledo is 22nd in 2P% at 54.8% and second in 3P% at 39.9%, so they should be able to score on a Michigan defense that looked lackadaisical at times this season. The metrics like them a good bit, but they don’t force turnovers and Toledo will score if they have the ball. The Big Ten also just wasn’t a very good offensive conference. The conference ranked 14th in eFG%, 12th in 2P% and 12th in 3P%. The Rockets are a legitimately good offense.

It’s a big number, but hopefully we see a lot of shots made and a lot of tempo tonight with more fireworks than the 1835-36 Toledo War.

Pick: Over 162.5

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