Last Updated: 2019-03-04
It’s the final week of the regular season for quite a few conferences. Many of the smaller conferences are in their conference tournaments this week, so you’ll see more big name conferences showing up in this list than normal. I wanted to stay focused on the regular season, because it is much harder to suggest a team is in a bad situational spot in the conference tournament. Everyone should care then, and many of the tournaments are played on neutral courts.
I hope these weekly situational spots articles have been helpful throughout the course of the regular season. BangTheBook is getting you prepared for the all the conference tournaments through article previews and on BangTheBook Radio. We’ll also have you ready for the NCAA Tournament and all the smaller postseason tournaments when those come around.
One quick note regarding conference tournaments, I would note that rested teams have fared much better than unrested teams. Rested teams (at least two days between games) are at 52.8% ATS against unrested teams since 2005. That number goes to 54.9% ATS when the unrested team is coming off a single digit win in their last game.
Tuesday March 5
Rhode Island at St. Joe’s- Rhode Island is coming off a stunning outright win as a seven point underdog at Dayton. The Rams have been the most inconsistent team in the conference. Rhode Island has proven capable of beating anyone in the league, but they have played some awful games as well. Phil Martelli’s team is coming off a rivalry win over LaSalle. You could argue this is a tough spot for both teams. I would lean toward St. Joe’s, especially if they are getting points at all.
Nevada at Air Force- To say that Nevada is coming off an emotional loss is likely underselling it. The Wolf Pack have been disappointing this season on the road, and Air Force isn’t an easy place to play. I’m not going to tell you that I think Air Force will win the game, but I definitely lean toward Air Force plus the points here. Nevada knows Air Force isn’t any good, and winning big here won’t change any minds about Nevada. Air Force has been playing much better of late.
Wednesday March 6
Georgetown at DePaul- Georgetown is coming off a key double overtime win over Seton Hall. The Hoyas have a respectable record at 18-11, but they have some ugly losses. They are going to need to do more down the stretch to get in the NCAA Tournament. This is a tough spot for Georgetown though. Coming off a double overtime win, and going to play a DePaul team that is much better than they were a few years ago.
Thursday March 7
UCSB at Cal State Northridge- UCSB is the side I’d be interested in taking here. Cal State Northridge is coming off an upset win in Hawaii. Cal State Northridge has been playing better of late, but UCSB is the more talented team. A big win in Hawaii can be difficult to carry through to the next game. It’s a unique spot, and I would look to fade the home team here if the price is right.
Montana at Portland State- Montana is playing for a Big Sky title so they should be highly motivated from that alone. Portland State also went to Montana and stunned them earlier this year. This is a great chance for road revenge for the Grizzlies. Portland State has played well of late, and they have won their last four home games. I hope that keeps the price reasonable on Montana in this one.
UCLA at Colorado- The Bruins are coming off an overtime win over rival USC this past weekend. UCLA hasn’t been good on the road all season, and now they head to Colorado to play at altitude. UCLA is an extremely inexperienced team, and the trip to Boulder is a tough one for anyone, but I think it is especially difficult for the youngsters since they have never experienced it before. I like Colorado here.
Friday March 8
Bowling Green at Buffalo- Buffalo was stunned by Bowling Green in the first meeting. Now, Bowling Green must travel to Buffalo to take on a Bulls team that will be really pumped up for this one. The Bulls are unquestionably the best team in the MAC. I think there is a good chance they prove a point in this one.
Saturday March 9
USC at Colorado- The Trojans go to Utah on Thursday and then play in Colorado on Saturday. This is the dreaded back to back at elevation in the Pac 12. USC is clearly not accustomed to this, and this is a really bad spot for the road team. The best thing we could hope for is USC to play well on Thursday at Utah so we get a better price on Colorado here.
UCLA at Utah- I have to list UCLA again here. As I just said, no one in the Pac 12 likes this situation. I think it is even worse for the teams from southern California since they are accustomed to such a low elevation. The thing that makes you hesitate a bit about this spot it is the fact that Utah made such a massive comeback to beat the Bruins on the road earlier this year.
Cal State Bakersfield at Utah Valley- Let’s go way under the radar, but stick with the California teams playing at elevation. CS Bakersfield is a good team, but the road trip to Seattle on Thursday and then Utah Valley on Saturday is a very tough one. Bakersfield knocked off Utah Valley by two in the first meeting. Utah Valley is in a good spot to get their revenge in this one.
Charlotte at Rice- This is one of the quirks of the Conference USA Bonus Play idea for scheduling this year. Charlotte hosts Rice on Wednesday and then travels to Rice in their next game on Saturday. This is the final regular season game for both teams. Definitely keep an eye on the results for the first meeting to see which team might be more motivated here.
UTEP at MTSU- A second example of Conference USA teams finishing with consecutive matchups against each other. In a spot like this I’d be interested in looking at the over if the total is low enough. These teams aren’t likely to be all that motivated for this game. It will be their third matchup against this team this season. It’s likely both teams care more about the conference tournament than this game.
Sunday March 10
Houston at Cincinnati- We all remember the first game between these two. Cincinnati didn’t score in the final six minutes of the game. Houston and Cincinnati are both high quality teams, and the intensity of this game will be extremely high. This should be a great game to watch. The Bearcats have to be a little extra motivated based on the way that first game ended. I would lean toward Cincinnati and the under in this one.
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