NCAA hoops bubble team madness
March Madness bracket games are cropping up, but college basketball bettors are focusing on which teams will actually make the tournament this weekend.
Sure, there are some big games today between teams ranked in the Top 25, but there are also some important games between teams that are sitting on the bubble and need to win in order to improve their chances of getting to the Big Dance.
Michigan Wolverines (18-12 8-9 Big 10) at Minnesota Golden Gophers -5 (21-9 9-8 Big 10)
On the NCAAB odds lists, Bovada has the Golden Gophers as 5-point favorites in this game.
Michigan does have 18 wins, but they are only in 9th place in the Big 10. They are also one game under .500 in conference play and they may need to win this game in order to have a shot at the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers are in 5th place in the Big 10 and should get an invite, but they are only 9-8 in conference play and can really help their cause with a home win.
For Michigan to pull off the upset the high-low tandem of guard Manny Harris (17.2 ppg) and forward DeShawn Sims (15 ppg) have to have a good game.
The Golden Gophers are a great defensive team, but are not high scoring, as they only have one player averaging over 10 ppg (Lawrence Westbrook 12.3 ppg). If the Gophers can contain Harris and Sims they should be in good shape, as the Wolverines do not have many scoring options.
The Gophers come into this game in a slump, as even though they won their last game they have won only three of their last eight games. Michigan needs to win this game, as they have lost nine of their last 14 games.
North Carolina State Wolfpack (16-12 6-9 ACC) at Miami Hurricanes -8 (17-11 6-9 ACC)
BetUS opened the Hurricanes as 8-point favorites on their college basketball odds lists today.
This is, is pretty much, as do-or-die game for both teams, as they are each 6-9 in conference play and the loser, probably, has no chance to get into the Big Dance, while the winner keeps their hopes alive.
NC State is all about their frontcourt with F Brandon Costner (13.6 ppg), F/C Ben McCauley (12.6 ppg), Courtney Fells (11.6 ppg), and F Tracy Smith (10.2 ppg) and they will have to dominate inside to win this game.
The Hurricanes have to play good inside defense and G Jack McClinton (19.5 ppg) has to have a good scoring game.
In the first meeting between these two teams the Wolfpack won in OT 84-81 back in the end of January.
Nevada Wolfpack (18-11 10-5 WAC) at Boise State Broncos -1.5 (19-11 10-5 WAC)
The Broncos opened as 1.5-point favorites in this game at Bovada and this could be great betting value for the home team.
The WAC is not a major conference and Utah State is running away with it, so these two teams need to win this game as well as have a solid showing in the conference tournament to get into the Big Dance.
Nevada is on a roll winning five of their last six games and they are led by the high-low combo of F Luke Babbitt (16.5) and G Armon Johnson (15.2 ppg). Johnson must have a good game for the Wolfpack to have any chance tonight.
Boise State has won two in a row after dropping three straight and they have a much better frontcourt than Nevada with forwards Mark Sanchez (12.9 ppg), Paul Noonan (10.9 ppg) and C Kurt Cunningham (9.8 ppg).
If the Broncos can contain Johnson they should win this game, as they can control the lane on both ends of the court.
Get ready for March Madness betting odds and conference tournament lines this weekend.