The final week of February is upon us, which means that the tension and the stakes are rising in college basketball betting across the country. Here are three particularly important contests.
Georgetown Hoyas @ Syracuse Orange
Odds: Syracuse -6.5
Georgetown has overachieved to get to this game with a legitimate shot at the Big East regular season championship. The Hoyas’ offense was a mess earlier in the season, and it’s still not particularly imposing, but Georgetown’s defense has been so good that coach John Thompson III has still been able to move his team up the ladder in the Big East. Syracuse was expected to be one of the last two teams alive in the conference race, with Louisville being the other. The Orange should be mentally prepared for this moment, the last visit by Georgetown to the Carrier Dome for a Big East regular season game. Syracuse will go to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, so the enormity of this event will be felt by everyone. The emotions inside the big dome should propel Syracuse to victory. The Orange are going to take this game seriously, and they have better talent than Georgetown does.
Pick: Syracuse -6.5
New Mexico Lobos @ Colorado State Rams
Odds: Colorado State -6
This game is quite likely going to decide the regular season champion in the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State has not lost a conference game at home this season, and the Rams are, statistically speaking, the best rebounding team in the United States. It’s going to be hard for New Mexico to not only deal with the environment, but with Colorado State’s massive front line and its big rebounding guards. New Mexico has to shoot really well in order to minimize the centrality of the Rams’ prowess on the boards. The odds suggest that the Lobos will fall short. Colorado State has morphed into an excellent team, and having an all-senior starting five won’t hurt the Rams here.
Pick: Colorado State -6
Marquette Golden Eagles @ Villanova Wildcats
Odds: Villanova -1.5
This is not a must-win game for Marquette – the Golden Eagles are safely in the NCAA tournament and should feel good about what they’ve already accomplished this season. However, the Golden Eagles do have a few things to play for here: the Big East regular season championship, which is still within their grasp, and a top-four seed in the Big East Tournament, which would give Marquette a double-bye in the five-day event. Marquette’s opponent, Villanova, needs this game a lot more. The Wildcats have to win at least one of their two remaining showdowns against Marquette and Georgetown in order to have a good chance of making the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats will certainly be propelled by emotion in this contest, but will they be able to outwork Marquette’s quick and agile guards? It’s not likely. Take the Golden Eagles on the betting lines here.
Pick: Marquette +1.5