College hoops fans now arrive at Wednesday of the final week before the announcement of the field for the NCAA tournament. What will the conference tournaments bring in terms of surprises and upsets that will change the direction of the season in its later moments?
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Wednesday, 7:05 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Odds: Oklahoma State -9.5
The Oklahoma State Cowboys looked like a team that was down and out, but it has rallied to rescue its season. The Cowboys have been a hot team the past two weeks and have managed to accumulate the kinds of wins (and enough of them) to get into the NCAA tournament. Beating Kansas was the centerpiece of their efforts. The big reason for Oklahoma State’s revival has been powered by wing Marcus Smart, who has begun to shoot the ball better after coming back from a suspension of three games for shoving a fan at the end of a loss to none other than Texas Tech. Smart’s ability to regroup from the toughest period of his season has changed the outlook for the Cowboys, who – though still in eighth place in the Big 12 Conference – are going to be in the NCAA tournament. Texas Tech gave Oklahoma State fits earlier this season, but Oklahoma State was not in the good place it finds itself in. Take the Cowboys to win but expect Tech to cover the spread.
Pick: Texas Tech +9.5
DePaul Blue Demons vs. Georgetown Hoyas
Wednesday, Approx. 9:35 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Odds: Georgetown -11
This is a game in which the Hoyas have to win. They’re just trying to get through the first game of the Big East Tournament and move on to the quarterfinals so that they can play a big game against the Creighton Bluejays, which would give Georgetown a chance to make an important statement to the NCAA tournament’s selection committee. The incentives are too great for Georgetown in this game to lose. That’s one big reason the Hoyas should win. However, the other big reason is that DePaul just isn’t very good. The Blue Demons have been a disaster over the past several seasons, and nothing about the program shows any real sign of changing soon. Expect Georgetown to win big and cover the college basketball betting odds.
Pick: Georgetown -11
Washington State Cougars vs. Stanford Cardinal
Wednesday, Approx. 11:35 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Odds: Stanford -10.5
This is a game in which Stanford needs to win in order to feel secure about making the NCAA tournament. Stanford isn’t playing a top team here, but that’s part of the point. If Stanford loses to Washington State, a team that finished above only one other school (USC) in the Pac-12 Conference, that would look really bad for the Cardinal, which has not closed the season as strongly as it would have hoped to. Stanford is wobbling at the moment, and if it shows another sign of weakness here against a bad opponent, that could be just enough to keep the Cardinal out of the tournament. This is a game in which Stanford has a lot more talent and could score a blowout win if it plays at its best, but the pressure of this game will probably limit the extent to which the Cardinal play effectively, and they’ll barely get by with a victory in Las Vegas.
Pick: Washington State +10.5