Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, center, talks with guard Trevor Keels, left, and Theo John during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia Wednesday Feb. 23, 2022, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NCAAB BEST BETS, MAR. 5

Patrick Werkmeister

Following a perfect 3-0 performance in last week’s college basketball best bets, these games are a great opportunity to stay hot. In this jam-packed weekend slate, schools from across all conferences will see some action on this day-long full of games before the start of conference tournaments next week. However, the real action lies in the top 25 programs who are scheduled to play in this slate. As these teams fight it out in their respective conference, it will be interesting to see if the top dogs are able to live up to their reputations and successfully close out this season. Nevertheless, here is what I’m going with for these college hoops games.

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Texas @ Kansas (-6)
The opening point-spread margin for this matchup had Kansas as five-point home favorites and they are currently favored by six points. While Kansas is a perfect 5-0 SU in their last five games played at home, Texas is a shoddy 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games. Led by an array of NBA worthy talent, Kansas has made it their 31st straight season with 20+ wins with a current record of 24-6. According to Kenpom data, they are a top 10 offense in the country for adjusted efficiency. Although the Jayhawks have a top 5 offense according to their adjusted efficiency, their defense will have another tough test against the 21-9 Longhorns. Last game out, Texas was narrowly defeated by the 3rd ranked Baylor Bears, whereas Kansas got the W at home vs TCU. While the Jayhawks have proved they deserve to be in the conversation of winning this year’s national championship, Texas seems more and more like a longshot to make the NCAA tournament. Additionally, after suffering back-to-back losses just a week ago, Kansas has seemingly rediscovered their rhythm and will be sure to stay hot in front of their home crowd. The Jayhawks carry the momentum necessary to get this win and will certainly want revenge after their loss to Texas earlier in the year. Take Kansas to take care of their in-conference rival.

North Carolina (+11.5) @ Duke
The opening spread for this contest had Duke as 11-point home favorites and they are currently favored by 11.5 points. Although the Blue Devils are a solid 15-2 SU in their last 17 games played at home, North Carolina is an impressive 7-2 ATS in their past nine contests. Duke comes into this one with a 26-4 record as coach Mike Krzyzewski coaches his final game at home and against their rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels. North Carolina has been slaying the competition with a 22-8 overall record and are looking to carry some momentum going into March Madness. However, with a strong three-point shooting percentage of 37% from downtown as a team, the Tar Heels could be more of a problem in this matchup than they were in the first meeting. Last game out, North Carolina defeated Syracuse at the Carrier Dome by a margin of nine points whereas Duke blew out the Pitt Panthers on the road. Although the Blue Devils have proved to be one of the top dogs in the ACC, the Tar Heels can’t do much worse than they did in their first match with Duke. Take North Carolina plus the points to at least cover this wide margin.

USC (+8) @ UCLA)
The opening line for this contest had UCLA as nine and a half-point home favorites but they are currently favored by eight points. While USC is a shoddy 1-4 ATS in their last five games, UCLA is an impressive 5-1 ATS in their past 6 matches. Led by star big man Isaiah Mobley, USC has had a stellar year with their 25-6 record. Similarly, the Bruins are destined for the NCAA tournament led by Johnny Juzang with their 22-6 record. Last game out, the Trojans struggled against Arizona in a 20-point defeat whereas UCLA defeated Washington 77-66. USC Trojan Isaiah Mobley, brother of NBA rookie Evan Mobley, scored just 9 points in the defeat so a better performance from him could be all they need to take down the Bruins. In their first meeting earlier this year, the Trojans came away with a three-point victory. With USC having the edge over UCLA coming into this one, I like them in this spot to at least cover this margin. Take the Trojans plus the points to cover against UCLA.

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