OK, that was more like it. I went 2-1 ATS with my NCAA conference tournaments best bets Friday with Alabama beating Auburn 81-63 as a 6.5-point underdog and plus-250 on the money line, Temple covering in an 89-81 loss to Wichita St. as an 11.5-point dog but then losing with Oregon in a 74-54 loss as a 6-point dog to USC in the Pac-12 nightcap.
There were six other games that I considered when handicapping the card late Thursday night, but while I’m bummed I didn’t include San Diego St. (a 90-73 upset winner over Nevada as a 3-point underdog), the fact is those other plays went a vig-losing 3-3 ATS so I’m glad I whittled down to my three best bets.
There’s a lot of college basketball action set for Saturday, but most of the games fall into three categories: both teams are already assured of being in the NCAA field, both teams are in one-bid conferences and are similarly motivated, or both teams are trying to be the second team from their conferences and also have no room for error.
So, I just have one official best bet for Saturday (note: the only other game I considered was St. Josephs plus-7.5 against NCAA-bound Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 semifinals; however, St. Joe’s just lost by 30 points at Rhode Island when getting 13.5 points, so this line looks too short.
American Athletic Conference semifinal
1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, CBS
Memphis plus-16.5 vs. Cincinnati: The Bearcats are comfortably in the NCAA field while Memphis is trying to be a bid-stealer. The Tigers have gotten hot at the right time, going 7-1 SU & 6-2 ATS in their last eight games, and they’ve won their first two AAC Tournament games after the rumors that head coach Tubby Smith was going to get fired and replaced by Penny Hardaway. Cincinnati won the first meeting, 82-48, covering as an 18-point favorite on New Year’s Eve. The Bearcats won the rematch at Memphis, 65-57, but didn’t cover as a 12.5-point favorite and this time is laying even more points. I’m not sure that Memphis can pull the outright upset to really complicate the coaching situation, but I’m pretty sure they can keep this in single digits again. Adding to my confidence was Cincy’s non-covering 61-51 win over a short-handed SMU team on Friday night in the AAC quarterfinals. Best Bet: Memphis plus-16.5.