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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives us his picks for Saturday's action-packed slate in college basketball

BET OF THE DAY: (2u) Seton Hall Pirates +3.5 @ -110

#8 Seton Hall Pirates @ #11 Creighton Bluejays, 2:30 PM:

  • Seton Hall has won four of the last six meetings with Creighton.
  • Both these teams have the two best ATS records in the Big East. The Pirates rank best at 18-11, and the Bluejays are 17-12. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Seton Hall

#11 Creighton (23-7) got back on track in a big way at home with a 91-76 victory over Georgetown. The Bluejays were on point, shooting 50 per cent from the field and nearly 50 per cent from three-point range.

Marcus Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock both had sharp 20-point outings. Zegarowkski added eight assists on 8-of-10 shooting, and Ballock knocked down six three-pointers.

#8 Seton Hall (21-8) fell short of clinching the Big East with an upset 79-77 loss at home to #14 Villanova.

Sandro Mamukelashvili carried the load with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds with three made three-pointers. Myles Powell added three made threes of his own in an overall poor shooting night with 14 points and eight assists.

The Pirates hosted the Bluejays nearly a month ago which resulted in Creighton upsetting Seton Hall 87-82. I’m anticipating another tightly-contested game on Saturday, especially with the Big East title on the line.

Seton Hall’s recent home let down on Senior Night cost backers, like myself, pockets, yet I’m going to ride with the top dogs in the Big East one more time for the regular season finale.

(1u)  North Carolina Tar Heels +9.5 @ -110

North Carolina Tar Heels @ #12 Duke Blue Devils, 6:00 PM:

  • These teams have been even splitting in each of the last 10 meetings (5-5).
  • Three of the last five matches have been decided by five points or fewer.

The reason we’re backing North Carolina

#12 Duke (24-6) got back on track and snapped a two-game losing streak with a big 88-69 bounce-back win over NC State. A close first half was put out of reach in the second as the Blue Devils outscored the Wolfpack 50-33.

Six Blue Devils scored in double figures, led by the efforts of Vernon Carey Jr. And Cassius Stanley who had a team-high 18 points with six rebounds. Carey Jr. added 17 points with seven rebounds.

North Carolina (13-17) has finally found a groove following a third straight win with a 93-83 victory against Wake Forest. The Tar Heels had a huge second half behind 58 per cent shooting from three-point range, and over 50 per cent from the field.

Cole Anthony was the difference maker as usual for North Carolina’s offense, knocking down four three-pointers for 28 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Garrison Brooks was right behind, adding 25 points with seven rebounds.

Despite the Tar Heels’ disappointing regular season, all bets and trends are off when it comes to this bitter rivalry. When these teams met in Chapel Hill earlier this season the Blue Devils narrowly avoided the upset 98-96, yet North Carolina covered the spread of +7.5. My expectation is this matchup will be yet another classic battle between two familiar foes, and I’m taking the Tar Heels getting the points to at least cover.

(1u) Louisville Cardinals -1 @ -110

#10 Louisville Cardinals @ #22 Virginia Cavaliers, 4:00 PM:

  • Louisville has the second best ATS spread in the ACC at 16-13-1, and Virginia has the second worst record in the ACC at 11-16-2. 

The reason we’re backing Louisville

#10 Louisville (24-6) got back on track at home with a commanding 68-52 win over Virginia Tech.

Jordan Nwora continued to be the playmaker on both ends for the Cardinals, totaling a double-double with a team-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. Ryan McMahon was the only other player to reach double figures, scoring 10 points with two made threes.

#22 Virginia (22-7) stayed on a roll with a sixth straight win, edging out Miami 46-44 for a fourth consecutive win by three points or fewer.

Mamadi Diakite played big, posting a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jay Huff added a team-high 17 points and nearly had a double-double of his own with nine rebounds.

Louisville holds a share of the ACC regular season title, and sits one game ahead of Virginia entering the season finale. The Cardinals hosted the Cavaliers back in early February and came out on top 80-73. Nwora was in great form in that matchup, scoring 22 points, and I expect him to make the difference yet again on Saturday.

Although Virginia has the best defense in the nation, allowing 52.3 ppg, the Cavaliers’ lack of offense (57 ppg) gives me cause for concern against the offensively driven Cardinals.


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