Upsets. Check. Routs. Check. Teams trending up. Check. Teams trending down. Check.
In so many ways, the latest weekend on the college basketball betting slate was no different than others. There are upsets and routs almost each day on the schedule, not just during weekends. Teams fall into ruts after fast starts, and others come out of their funks after struggling early.
What makes the results from this past weekend seem different is we've hit crunch time when wins and losses are magnified.
The final two weeks of the regular season tipped off Monday night, and Tuesday's card includes several teams coming off upsets, trending up or trending down.
Kansas State at No. 3 Missouri
Columbia, MO – 7:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN2
Frank Martin and the Wildcats returned to relevance with Saturday's 57-56 upset at Baylor as 7½-point underdogs. It appears the Big 12 is destined to get 5-6 invites to the NCAA Tournament, and Kansas State would definitely be among that group if brackets were filled right now. A win Tuesday night in Columbia would guarantee an appearance.
The Tigers are a perfect 15-0 at Mizzou Arena this season, but the Wildcats could be visiting Columbia at just the right time. The Tigers are coming off a 71-62 win at Texas A&M as 7½-point favorites last Saturday, snapping an 8-game losing streak against the Aggies, and can't help but to already be thinking about this Saturday's trip to Kansas.
Revenge could help Missouri avoid looking ahead to the Jayhawks. One of the two losses on the Tigers ledger came at K-State on Jan. 7 in a game that closed as a pick 'em. A win and cover for Missouri on Tuesday would mark the fifth straight season for the teams to split their regular season meetings, grabbing the victories and beating the spread each time on their home courts.
No. 7 North Carolina at North Carolina State
Raleigh, NC – 8:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN3
Mark Gottfried and the Wolfpack are among the teams trending down currently, and an upset over one of their Research Triangle rivals might definitely push them above the bubble for good. North Carolina State seemed to still be reeling from last week's blown opportunity at Duke when the 'Pack took to the home floor on Saturday against Florida State. Closing as small chalk, NC State came out flat and eventually fell to the Seminoles, 76-62. It was the fifth time in the last seven games for Wolfpack backers to drop the cash, and the team's fourth loss in the last seven ACC contests.
Roy Williams and UNC know all about blown chances vs. Duke, but the Tar Heels have bounced back with three straight wins, straight up and against the spread, since their Feb. 8 defeat to the Blue Devils. The latest was Saturday's 74-52 laugher vs. Clemson to remain a perfect 56-0 against the Tigers in Chapel Hill.
That was very close to the same beating the Heels put on NC State in late January. North Carolina took that meeting 74-55 while laying 13, the 11th consecutive win for the Tar Heels in the series (8-3 ATS). Feb. 3, 2007 in Raleigh was the last time the Wolfpack beat their neighbors.
No. 1 Kentucky at Mississippi State
Starkville, MS – 9:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN
The MSU Bulldogs are yet another team presently in a downward spiral after suffering their third straight loss this past weekend at Auburn. The 65-55 setback as 3½-point chalk left Mississippi State 6-6 in the SEC standings, a full six games behind the front-running and top-ranked Wildcats who are 12-0 in league play and riding an 18-game win streak.
Kentucky saw its 6-game ATS streak end in Saturday's 77-62 victory over Ole Miss, but remain a profitable 7-2 ATS the last nine times out after a horrendous start vs. the NCAA odds. A perfect 6-0 on the conference highway so far, the 'Cats have covered their last four SEC tilts away from Lexington.
Last season's get-together was at Rupp Arena where Kentucky had to rally for an 85-79 victory as a huge 17-point favorite. The Wildcats have won the last three clashes, and the 'over' has been a winner each time.
No. 18 New Mexico at Colorado State
Fort Collins, CO – 10:00 p.m. (ET)
With all due respect to No. 1 Kentucky and its 18-game run in the win column, there might not be a hotter team right now than the New Mexico Lobos. They are coming off a huge week that included relatively easy wins over San Diego State and UNLV to take charge of the Mountain West Conference where they have a 2-game lead over both the Aztecs and Runnin' Rebels.
The Lobos have won and covered their last seven games, a streak that coincidentally began with an 85-52 pasting of Colorado State at The Pit on Jan. 25. That game just stayed 'under' the 138½-point line, the fourth straight game between the two that failed to reach the total.
Colorado State grabbed a 68-62 win last February when the Lobos came to Fort Collins. The Rams were laying 1½ and snapped an 8-game skid vs. New Mexico with that victory.