Loyola of Chicago's Braden Norris
Loyola of Chicago's Braden Norris (4) heads to the basket as Northern Iowa's Bowen Born (13) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Saturday, March 5, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

NCAAB BEST BETS, MAR. 6

Patrick Werkmeister

After another perfect 3-0 performance in yesterday’s college basketball best bets, these games are a great opportunity to stay hot. In this jam-packed Sunday slate, schools from across all conferences will see some action on this day-long full of games before the start of the rest 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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Houston (-2.5) @ Memphis
The opening spread for this contest had Houston as two-point road favorites, and they are currently favored by two and a half-points. While Houston is an impressive 5-1 ATS in their last six games, Memphis is 7-2 ATS in their past nine contests. Led by star guard Marcus Sasser, among a deep overall roster, Houston is looking to at least repeat their Final Four run from last year. Similarly, the Memphis Tigers are a formidable AAC opponent where they are 3rd in the conference standings with an 18-9 overall record. However, after another fruitful season in conference play for Houston, the Tiger’s chances look slim, though they were able to come away with the victory in their first meeting. Last game out, Memphis defeated South Florida by 9 points whereas Houston blew out Temple by 38 points. Although the Tigers are loaded with young talent, Houston is marginally better than any other program in the conference. With more signature wins over quality opponents, Houston is the more battle-tested squad so they should find a way to secure a victory. Take the Cougars to handle Memphis.

Loyola Chicago vs. Drake (+5)
In the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship, the Drake Bulldogs take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. The opening spread for this contest had Loyola as five-point favorites and that is where the line currently sits. While the Ramblers are a subpar 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games played, Drake is an impressive 5-2 ATS in their past seven contests. Led by star guard Lucas Williamson, Loyola has had another solid year with their 24-7 record. Similarly, Drake has put themselves in a great spot to qualify for the NCAA tournament with a solid record of 24-9. Last game out, the Bulldogs narrowly defeated the number two seed in the tournament, Missouri State, whereas Loyola blew out Northern Iowa. In their two regular season meetings, Drake won both contests by a margin of at least 8 points. However, the Ramblers have been playing their best basketball, so the Bulldogs will certainly not take this opponent lightly. While Drake defeated the Ramblers in both meetings by a comfortable margin, they are still underdogs by a wide margin. Take the Bulldogs plus the points to at least keep this game close with Loyola.

Iowa @ Illinois (-4)
The opening line for this contest had Illinois as three-point home favorites and they are currently favored by four points. While the Illini are a solid 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games played, Iowa is a subpar 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games. Additionally, Illinois is 17-3 SU in their last 20 games at home. Led by star big-man Kofi Cockburn, Illinois has had a solid year with a record of 21-8. Similarly, Iowa seems bound for the NCAA tournament with their 22-8 record. Last game out, the Illini narrowly defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions, 60-55, whereas Iowa comfortably came away with the victory over the Michigan Wolverines. Kofi had just 11 points against Penn State, so he will definitely be looking to bounce back vs the Hawkeyes. However, Iowa is a top 25 team with a lot of talent, so the Illini will certainly not take this opponent lightly. Take the Illini to take care of Iowa at home.

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