Conference tournaments loom as dash for March Madness starts

By Justin Mark, SGPN College Bball Handicapper

Justin Mark of the Sports Gambling Podcast Network is currently ranked fifth in college basketball picks against the spread in the 2022-2023 season per Tallysight. After going 3-2 last week, he’s back to help make some college basketball picks for our local teams. Find all of Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s college basketball picks here. (Point spreads are estimated as of Thursday and dates and times are as published at Thursday’s deadline.)

St. Joseph’s does not have a game scheduled this weekend and Drexel’s game is to be determined still.

Penn (+1) @ Princeton (Saturday, 12:00pm on ESPN+)

In January these two teams met at Penn. Princeton won that game as underdogs, 72-60.  In fact, Princeton has won the last five matchups straight up and covered the spread. The closest was a five-point game in 2020, however, in the last three the closest has been a ten-point spread. Something about this Princeton team and coaching has Penn’s number. Still, Penn has averaged 83.4 points per game in the last five games while Princeton has only averaged 76.6 against some of the same opponents. Penn gets it done for the first time in the last six games and wins outright. 

Loyola-Chicago @ La Salle (-4.5) (Saturday 2:00pm on ESPN+)

The spread on this game is hard to figure out. Against like opponents the books have been weighing Loyola-Chicago as a stronger team at times. At other times, the Explorers are the better-graded team. There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between on-the-road or at home results, either. Both of these teams are struggling, dropping their last four games, and both are looking to grasp on to some hope in the conference tournament. La Salle is 140th in the nation against the spread while Loyola-Chicago is 393rd. I like La Salle to win this, especially if the line stays as less than a five point favorite, I’d be cautious on this one. 

#14 UConn @ Villanova (+8) (Saturday, 7:30pm on FOX)

I know Villanova looked impressive in February, but now it’s time to see if they can really buckle down. To close out our Saturday games, they face the 14th-ranked Huskies, who have also done very well. UConn only lost two games in February, and both to teams that Villanova beat. In December, the last time these two played, the Wildcats covered the +12.5-point spread but lost by eight. That’s exactly where I feel this line lands. With how they’ve been playing, I like Nova anywhere north of a seven-point dog, so I’ll take the eight, even though I think Connecticut wins again.

#21 Maryland @ Penn State (+4) (Sunday, 12:00pm on BTN)

These two teams played less than a month ago in Maryland. In that game Maryland won, but by six points and Penn State covered the eight-point spread. Now, with the Nittany Lions at home, I don’t think they’ll catch as many points. Penn State is currently outscoring the Terps in points per game. They also are better at field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free-throw percentage. The Nittany Lions have won four of their last five while Maryland has dropped two of their last four. I expect this game to be close and come down to the wire, so give me Penn State and anywhere +3 and higher.

Temple (+4.5) @ Tulane (Sunday, 2:00pm on ESPN+)

Closing Sunday out Temple, goes on the road to face Tulane. The Tulane Green Wave are currently outscoring Temple by 11.1 points per game. What I really like in this game is over 146.5 points if you can find it (last game was at 147 and went over). However, when looking at these teams Tulane just seems to be clicking better. I think Tulane covers as a favorite of six points and more.

Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football”, and co-host of a show on the NFL Gambling Podcast, as well as co-host of the XFL Gambling Podcast. He’s also a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.

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