We’re getting closer and closer to the madness that is March! This week, college hoops has some seriously excellent battles. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, ACC rivals Louisville and North Carolina clash. Will North Carolina hold off Rick Pitino’s strong Louisville squad in Chapel Hill? What’s going to happen on Saturday in the Big East’s best battle between Creighton and Villanova? Also on Saturday, Feb. 25, two of the three best teams in the Pac 12, Arizona and UCLA, throw down in Tucson. Will the Bruins or Wildcats come out on top in that game?
College Basketball Best Bets Feb 20th – 26th
#8 Louisville at #10 North Carolina
When: Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9:00 pm ET
Where: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
Analysis: At 22-5, the Louisville Cardinals are tied with Duke and North Carolina atop the Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s an understatement to write that this game is important. Louisville could make a huge statement by beating NC in Chapel Hill.
What are the chances of that happening? The chances aren’t as bad as one might believe. North Carolina is one of the best teams in the ACC. But, the Tar Heels are only 9-4 against the spread in home games this season. More importantly, they’ve gone 1 and 2 ATS in their last 3 home games.
Louisville has one of the best defenses in college basketball. The Cardinals also match up well with NC player to player. I’m willing to back Louisville on the moneyline at what should be decent odds.
#20 Creighton at #2 Villanova
When: Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:00 pm ET
Where: The Pavilion, Villanova, PA
Analysis: The word is out on Villanova possibly winning its second straight NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The spreads have been ridiculous on Villanova in their last 10 games.
Because of the high spreads, the Wildcats are now 6 and 6 ATS at home. They’ve gone 3 and 7 ATS in their last 10 games overall. This includes going 1 and 4 ATS in their last 5 home games. In their last versus Creighton, Villanova beat the Blue Jays 80 to 70.
The Wildcats could beat Creighton by 10 points again this Saturday. But, even if Villanova wins by 10, it may not be enough to cover the spread. I think that Creighton plays well enough to beat Villanova against the spread even though the Wildcats should win the game straight up.
I’m going Creighton Blue Jays against the spread in this match up.
#6 UCLA at #5 Arizona
When: Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:15 pm ET
Where: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Analysis: Although Arizona has gone 1 and 4 against the spread in their last 5 games to start the week, the Wildcats match up well with UCLA. The last time that these two played, Arizona beat UCLA 96 to 85.
The game was on Jan. 21 this year. UCLA is one of the top three-point shooting teams in college basketball. Arizona held the Bruins to 10 out of 31 from deep in the last battle between these two. UCLA shot 45% from the field. Arizona shot 50% from the field. Since the last game between these rivals took place at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, the Wildcats have the upper hand at home in Tucson.
I like Arizona to not only win, but to also cover the spread versus the rival UCLA Bruins in the rematch on Saturday, Feb. 25.