Jaime Jaquez,Isaiah Mobley
UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 75-68. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Patrick Werkmeister

Following a shoddy 1-2 performance in last week’s college basketball best bets, these games are a great opportunity to bounce back. In this jam-packed Sunday slate, schools from across the NCAA will see some action on this day-long full of games as the conference tournaments roll on. 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.


LSU (+3.5) vs. Arkansas
In this SEC conference tournament contest, the LSU Tigers will face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The opening spread for this contest had Arkansas as one point favorites but they are currently favored by three and a half-points. While the Razorbacks are an impressive 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games played, LSU is a solid 6-4 ATS in their past 10 contests. Led by star guard JD Notae, Arkansas has followed up their Elite Eight run last year with an impressive 24-7 record in the competitive SEC. Similarly, LSU has put themselves in a great position to qualify for the NCAA tournament with a solid record of 22-10. Last game out, the Tigers defeated Missouri by a score of 76-68, whereas Arkansas was narrowly defeated by the Tennessee Volunteers. In their two regular season meetings, Arkansas won both meetings by an average margin of four points. However, the Tigers have been playing their best basketball lately, so the Razorbacks will certainly not take this opponent lightly. While Arkansas defeated LSU in both meetings, they were highly competitive games and I anticipate this matchup to also be highly contested. Take the Tigers plus the points to at least keep this game close with Arkansas.

UConn vs. Villanova (-2.5)
From the iconic Madison Square Garden, the UConn Huskies take on the Villanova Wildcats in this Big East tournament matchup. The opening spread for this contest had Villanova as two and a half-point favorites and that is where this line currently sits. While Nova is an impressive 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games, UConn is also 8-2 ATS in their past 10 contests. Led by star guard Collin Gillespie, among a talented overall roster, Villanova is looking to at least repeat their Sweet Sixteen run from last year. Similarly, the UConn Huskies are a formidable Big East opponent where they are led by New Jersey Guard RJ Cole with a 23-8 overall record. In their two regular season matchups, each team won once and lost once, however, after a fruitful year in conference play they found themselves at the top of the Big East . Last game out, Nova narrowly escaped St. Johns by a score of 66-65 whereas UConn won comfortably against Seton Hall. Although the Huskies are loaded with talent, Villanova will come out and show why they are the top dog in the conference with all of their weapons. With more signature wins over quality opponents, Villanova is the more battle-tested squad so they should find a way to secure a victory. Take the Wildcats to handle UConn.

USC vs. UCLA (-6)
For this Pac-12 tournament matchup, from Las Vegas, the USC Trojans take on their in-state rival the UCLA Bruins. The opening spread for this contest had UCLA as six point favorites and that is where the line currently sits. While USC is a shoddy 2-5 ATS in their last seven games, UCLA is an impressive 6-2 ATS in their past 8 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 narrowly defeated the Washington Huskies, 65-61, whereas UCLA defeated Washington State 75-65. UCLA Bruin Johnny Juzang scored just 6 points in their last victory, so a strong performance from him today gives them a tremendous chance against the Trojans. UCLA had the better of the Trojans in their most recent matchup where they walked away with an easy seven point victory. With UCLA having the edge over USC coming into this one, I like them in this spot to cover this margin. Take the Bruins minus the points to cover against USC.

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