College basketball schedule today has 2 games
Just as we all expected, it will be Florida Atlantic vs. UConn in one Final Four matchup. Who will it be in the other one? We’ll find out today with Creighton vs. San Diego State and Miami vs. Texas. These games tip at 2:20 p.m. ET and 5:05 p.m. ET, so sorry for the late posting, but I don’t actually have a bet on either game. I’ll just be presenting some stats and you can decide if they swing you in one direction or not. I do have takes on Tuesday’s NIT coming up in a couple days, so keep an eye out for that. (Tracking sheet)
My MLB podcast, VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will return on Monday with an American League preview. I’ll talk National League on Tuesday, game betting tips on Wednesday and then Thursday is Opening Day, so I’ll get into the regular format of the show, which will be M-F with new episodes likely between 2-3 p.m.. My daily MLB article will be M-Sat, as Sunday is just too tough with all the day games and the time zone I’m in. Plus, MLB is a massive grind and you’ve gotta keep yourself as fresh as possible.
Check out the latest edition of the VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast.
Here are some thoughts on the March 26 card (odds from DraftKings):
This is a fascinating game and the betting action has been quite interesting as well. A lot of people loved Creighton coming into the season with an experienced roster and a ton of talent. There are some longstanding Creighton futures from the spring and summer in play for this game. We did see this line touch -3 at a few shops on Saturday, but most have reverted back to -2.5.
The biggest difference between these two comes on offense, where Creighton is 17th in 2P% and 79th in 3P%. San Diego State is 222nd and 169th, respectively, in those two categories. The Aztecs are a much better offensive rebounding team, which could come in handy if they deal with some missed shots, and they surely will. SDSU takes a lot of mid-range jumpers, which I don’t like, but it is something of a blind spot for the Creighton defense.
Creighton loves to fire from 3, as 42% of their shot attempts are 3-point efforts. San Diego State is third in the nation in 3P% defense at 28.1%. Creighton gets inside at a higher rate with a shot share on Close Twos of 36.9% compared to 32% for SDSU per Bart Torvik.
The Aztecs’ 3-point defense is heavily skewing their adjusted defensive efficiency that ranks fourth in the nation. They are top 100 in TO% on defense, but they are 139th in 2P%. If Creighton doesn’t just settle for a bunch of 3s and works the ball around for some 2s, I think they’ll find more success. That certainly makes Ryan Kalkbrenner the most important player of the game for the Bluejays.
In a discussion we had on The Handle yesterday, Dave Ross and I talked about Most Outstanding Player odds relative to the futures prices on these teams. At the time, Kalkbrenner was about 10/1 and Creighton was +550 to win it all. If you like Creighton to win it all, I think Kalkbrenner at 10/1 for MOP is a better bet than the Bluejays at +550. It’s hard to see anybody winning the award besides him on this Creighton squad. He’s scored 21 PPG with 6.3 rebounds per game to this point.
As for a lean on the game, I guess I lean under. Creighton should have to work for shots and San Diego State, who plays at the slower pace, may force a few turnovers. I don’t have a bet on this game, though.
At time of writing, DraftKings had ticked down to 3.5, but most of the market sat 4 on this game. Something I find interesting here is that Miami closed as high as 8 in some spots against Houston. I don’t think there’s a four-point difference between Houston and Texas. Maybe the ranking sites do, and oddsmaker power ratings do, but I don’t think the gap is that big.
On the other hand, you do have to give Miami some respect for beating the No. 2 overall seed, so maybe there was an adjustment of 1 or 1.5 points to their power rating. It still doesn’t explain the full difference, but explains some of it. Houston had no answer for Miami’s speed or quickness and Jim Larranaga is an outstanding offensive basketball coach, so they were primed and ready.
I think Texas matches up a bit better here and they’ve actually faced the fourth-ranked slate of opposing offenses. At the time of the Sweet 16 game, Houston had faced the 101st-ranked slate of opposing offenses. Their defensive metrics felt a bit inflated. I don’t believe that Texas’s are. Not in any way, shape or form. Texas still forces turnovers at an elite rate of 22.3%, which ranks 19th in the nation. Houston only forced six turnovers. I think Texas will find more success.
I do question Texas’s offense a bit and its ability to exploit Miami’s defense. The Longhorns are 16th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 47th in eFG% against a top-10 slate of opposing defenses, so maybe I shouldn’t be skeptical, but they don’t get inside a ton and over 65% of their shots are jumpers, which can be volatile.
Texas is the closest I got to a bet today. If it somehow hits -3, I may take a small piece of it, but I’ve liked this Miami team for a few months now and couldn’t really understand the disrespect. I don’t think there is any anymore, but I think their offense is good enough to score on anybody, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they hang in there today.
Sorry I don’t have any plays, but there are only two games and sometimes the edges aren’t there. As things stand right now, I will have at least one on Tuesday for the NIT for you to check out.
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