College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, March 30th

 

College basketball schedule today has 1 game

Today is the NIT Championship between UAB and North Texas, as we get an all-Conference USA final. We have three regular season data points between these two teams to consider for the title game and one revenge angle, if you’re into that sort of thing. How North Texas won and covered and how that semifinal game stayed under is a mystery to me. With a total of 115, the first half had 70 points. Wisconsin led by 12, but scored 13 points in the second half and none in the final 9+ minutes.

The other game had drama as well, as UAB won 88-86 in a game that could not have been more of a contrast to the first one. It was an OT thriller and UAB prevailed, despite an ugly 5-of-23 night from Jelly Walker.

As I wrote for Tuesday’s article, we’ve got just four games left for the season. Think about how your season went. Evaluate what you can do better or what worked that you can incorporate more for next season. I’ll list my thoughts on Monday in the title game write-up. (Tracking sheet)

Check out the latest episode of the VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast with all kinds of Final Four thoughts.

Here are some thoughts on the March 30 card (odds from DraftKings):

UAB lost both regular season meetings against North Texas, but got the Mean Green when it mattered most. The Blazers won 76-69 in the Conference USA Conference Tournament, but got trucked by Florida Atlantic in the final. UNT won 63-52 and 82-79 in 2OT during the regular season, but gave up 1.141 points per possession in the conference tournament game.

That is the most PPP that North Texas has allowed since Jan. 19 against Rice. In the four games in the NIT, the Mean Green have allowed .866, .884, .887 and .889 with four remarkably consistent defensive efforts. Their offensive output has dwindled in the last two games, though, which certainly opens the door for UAB here.

The Blazers also won’t be caught off-guard by UNT’s style of play. They’ve seen it. They prepare for it every year. UAB also has a senior-laden roster that has played against this team a lot. I do think that helps. 

Statistically, here’s how this one looks. UAB is 29th in adjusted tempo per Bart Torvik, while North Texas is 363rd, so we’ll see if the Blazers can speed this one up at all. They were unsuccessful in the regular season, as the games had 61 and 71 possessions, but that was 71 possessions with two overtime periods. The C-USA Tournament game had 67 possessions, which was fast for UNT, but they had to foul a lot because they trailed by 20 in the first half and never led the game.

UAB does have a 39.4% shot share on Close Twos, which is well above North Texas’s 31.1%, but the Blazers also like to run and get out in transition, which creates those looks. With the way UNT slows it down to a half-court game, sometimes those shots aren’t there. North Texas actually had more shot attempts at the rim (58) than UAB (51) in the three games.

North Texas shoots a 3 on 41.8% of possessions, while UAB is 58th in the nation in 3P% defense at 31.7%. North Texas (35.9%) and UAB (35.7%) shoot almost identical percentages from deep, but North Texas takes a 3 about 10% more often than UAB (31.5%). Both teams are top-50 in 2P% defense, with North Texas eighth at 44.3% and UAB 47th at 47%.

Sad to say, I don’t have a bet in this game. Early line action showed love for UAB with a move from -1 to -2 and a little uptick in the total from 126 to as high as 128, likely due to the fact that two of the three games went over – and the 2OT game was an over in regulation. Also, there’s no tomorrow, so the trailing team will foul a lot if need be.

I don’t think I even want to steer anybody towards a lean here. There is a lot of familiarity here and we’ll likely see a tight game. If not for all the fouling, I could see an under, given that the pace of the conference tourney game sped up because UAB went nuclear from the floor in the first 10 minutes and UNT had to push the pace a little more to close the gap. I don’t see that happening again here, but a parade to the free throw line is where unders go to die.

No play for me. Could be some live betting opportunities to get plus money on the moneyline both ways or create some nice spread middles if this game is close, so maybe that’s what you look for.

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