Happy Valentine's Day to all college basketball fans. In this article every week, we'll be reviewing some of the top college basketball games of the day to see how we can beat Vegas. Today's slate of games features a number of bubble teams trying to further cement their spots in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Another 3-2 day on Wednesday leaves the taste of winning in the mouth, ready to pounce on a great slate of games today.
Here are some of the top college basketball expert betting picks for Saturday, February 15. Let me know your thoughts, and follow me on Twitter @fredetterline. All game times below are Eastern Standard Time.Editor's Note: Our friends at Monkey Knife Fight have the best, most fun, fastest growing DFS props game! It's super simple to play and to win real money. Just choose your NBA, NHL or PGA game, and make your picks! Get a 100% instant deposit bonus up to $50 using promo code: BALLER. That's $50 for free - don't miss out! Play Now!
Season record to date: 29-27-1 (-0.4 units)
Notre Dame @ Duke - 4:00 pm
During Coach Mike Brey's twenty-year tenure in South Bend, the Fighting Irish have been known for tenacious defense, above-average perimeter shooting, and a team-first mentality. Brey, a former Duke assistant, has led the Irish to critical wins over North Carolina (UNC) and Florida State in the past couple of weeks. This year's Irish team, while young, is no different. Right now, the Irish find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble, but with a quality opportunity to improve their chances at Duke. Senior forward John Mooney, a threat from anywhere on the court, is averaging a double-double and is one of the top players in the conference. Every Irish conference game since the season-opening loss to UNC has been decided by single digits.
Coach Krzyzewski has gone from coaching teams full of experienced seniors to now the main exhibit of a "one-and-done" dynasty. This year's team is led by sophomore guard Tre Jones and freshman star big man Vernon Carey. Jones played the hero in Duke's comeback overtime victory over UNC with 28 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. The Blue Devils can be streaky shooters but have taken care of business in conference play with slip-ups to Clemson and Louisville. The Blue Devils have only covered in 3 of 13 conference games this season.
Pick: Notre Dame +12
Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) @ Richmond - 4:00 pm
The VCU Rams enter this bout with Richmond in what is shaping up to be a crucial matchup between two bubble teams. The Rams dropped two of their last three games, including an inexplicable loss as a 12.5-point favorite versus lowly George Mason. Coach Mike Rhoades has certainly had this game circled for a long time with it being one of the last opportunities for a quality win before the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. VCU goes as far as senior point guard Marcus Evans will take them, and rely on their traditionally strong defense which is allowing only 63.8 points per game. VCU has better talent, but is playing a poor stretch of basketball and is running into a strong Richmond team that is catching fire at the right time.
The Richmond Spiders are chasing their first NCAA Tournament since a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16 as a 12-seed in 2011. Coach Chris Mooney has been leading the Spiders since 2005 and this year's team has the strongest strength of schedule of any of Mooney's teams to date. Richmond's early-season win at Wisconsin and a conference win over Rhode Island looks better and better each day. On January 28, when VCU and Richmond first met, VCU throttled the Spiders by 18, but the Spiders were without star guard Blake Francis and the game was played on VCU's campus.
Pick: Richmond -1.5
UNC-Greensboro @ Mercer - 4:30 pm
The UNC-Greensboro Spartans find themselves in a conundrum that we see similar mid-major teams in. They have taken care of business in the Southern Conference, but don't have a signature non-conference win and were swept in the season series by East Tennessee State, who offered the most realistic Quad-1 win opportunity. A few nice wins over Vermont, Furman, and Georgetown aren't quite enough to move the Spartans off the bubble, and they will need to run the table and win convincingly to impress the Selection Committee.
Coach Greg Gary is in his first year in charge at Mercer after spending the past decade as Matt Painter's top assistant at Purdue. The Bears have an international flair with top scorer senior guard Djordje Dimitrijevic hailing from Serbia, and starting forward Maciej Bender a Polish transfer who started his career at West Virginia. Coach Gary will need a few more years to get the players for his system of play on campus, and until then you will see more drubbings like the one the Bears were handed in the first meetings between these teams.
Pick: UNC-Greensboro -6
Seton Hall @ Providence - 8:00 pm
Coach Kevin Willard's Seton Hall Pirates have been the class of the Big East Conference all season long. With a sterling 10-2 conference record and a strong 7-2 road record, the Pirates have very few weaknesses and will be a tough team to eliminate in the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates are led by star senior guard Myles Powell, who is averaging 21.2 points per game this year. Powell, who hails from nearby Trenton, chose to stay in New Jersey as a top-100 recruit in 2016 and is putting the finishing touches on a career that may make him the top basketball player in Seton Hall history. The Pirates got a big boost at the end of January when big man Sandro Mamukelashvili returned from injury and are hitting the right stride on their way towards a high seed and Final Four aspirations.
Coach Ed Cooley is in his ninth year at the helm of Providence, and the Friars are enduring a mini-rebuild at the moment. The Friars have a senior-laden team, with Alpha Diallo heading a group of five senior contributors that have not been able to crack through in conference play. Providence lost the early season matchup at Seton Hall in a game that was never in doubt from the opening tip.
Pick: Seton Hall -2
California-State Northridge (CSUN) @ California-Davis (UC-Davis) - 8:00 pm
The CSUN Matadors have become a real force in Big West Conference play since star forward Lamine Diane returned from his first semester academic suspension. The Matadors have found themselves in 2nd place in the conference and seeking their first NCAA tournament since a first-round loss to Memphis in the 2009 Tournament. In order to meet their goal, Coach Mark Gottfried will need to get better defensive play from his team, as they are allowing nearly 80 points per game, ranking 333rd in points against per game in the nation.
The UC-Davis Aggies have won 3 of their past 4 games as they try to climb back into the Big West Conference race. Coach Jim Les runs lots of 4-guard offenses centered around star senior guard Joe Mooney. The Aggies last played in the NCAA Tournament in the 2016-2017 season as a 16-seed, but Coach Les' team has faltered since then and has struggled badly this season. The Pavilion, the Aggies home stadium, will be rocking tonight in hopes that the home Aggies can avenge their earlier-season loss to the Matadors.
Pick: CSUN +3
Thanks for reading, and remember to gamble responsibly.