Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – February 3, 2024
TRENT’S NCAAB BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY – FEBRUARY 3, 2024 – The top five of the AP top 25 rankings have remained the same from last week, but there could be some turbulence for those teams this week.
The regular season is winding down, and each game holds more weight, and many games will be between rivals. Tomorrow’s slate looks promising, with a couple of top-ten matchups.
Read on for Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – February 2, 2024
Duke at North Carolina
Duke is entering this game on a three-game win streak, with their latest win against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. They are 7-2 in conference, with losses to Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. Duke’s leading scorer is sophomore center Kyle Filipowski, who averages 17.5 points per game.
North Carolina is leading the ACC with a 9-1 record, with their lone loss coming against Georgia Tech in their most recent game. Seniors RJ Davis and Armando Bacot are their leaders. Davis averages 21.5 points and 4.2 free throw attempts per game (92.1%). Bacot’s numbers are down from last season, but he has a superior frontcourt in Harrison Ingram and Jalen Washington this season.
The Tar Heel faithful should show out in full force, as always, in one of the best rivalries in sports. The Blue Devils are capable of performing in hostile territory.
They average 9.1 turnovers per game, which is 18th in the nation. North Carolina also struggles to force turnovers, ranking 266th in the country, with six steals per game. The Blue Devils shoot 38.7% from behind the arc, and North Carolina holds their opponents to 29.9% from deep. Without UNC in the passing lanes, Duke should be able to find good looks, and they will convert them.
The Pick: Duke +4
Tennessee at Kentucky
In the second matchup between top-ten opponents, Kentucky tries to get back on track at home against Tennessee. They lost their most recent game to Florida at home, which is not typical for a John Calipari-coached team.
Rupp Arena is usually a tough place to play, and it will be especially tough following a loss there. Tennessee is also coming into this game following a loss to South Carolina at home. Both teams should be heavily motivated to right the ship, but Kentucky has the home-court advantage.
Tennessee is 15-5 this season and led by Dalton Knecht. He transferred into the program from Northern Colorado and has made an immediate impact. Knecht averages 20.1 points per game and has played his way into many mock draft projections. Kentucky is led by Antonio Reeves, who averages 19.5 points per game on 43.8% shooting from three.
The Wildcats have one of the most potent offenses in the nation. They average 88.7 points and shoot 48.9% from the field. They also shoot 40.1% from behind the arc, which is sixth in the nation.
Tennessee has held opponents to 30.1% from three but allows 22.8 three-point attempts per game, which is 226th in the country. That could become a problem against a locked-in Kentucky team at home.
The Pick: Kentucky +1.5
Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga
Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s is the nightcap to a packed slate tomorrow. The Gaels are first in the conference with an 8-0 record (17-6 overall), and Gonzaga is second with a 7-1 conference record. This matchup has become one of the best rivalries in college basketball and usually does not disappoint.
Graham Ike is the leader for Gonzaga, averaging 15.5 points in just 22.4 minutes per game. Anton Watson also contributes 14.5 points per game from the forward position.
Saint Mary’s leaders are guards Aidan Mahaney and Augustas Marciulionis. They average 14.1 and 11.9 points, respectively, and play more than 32 minutes per game. Both teams are below average in bench minutes percentage, so the starters should dictate the outcome.
The Gaels are the 16th tallest team in the country, with an average height of 78.6 inches (~6’7’’). It shows when they hit the glass. They average 37 rebounds and 12 offensive rebounds per game, both in the top 30 nationwide.
Gonzaga has struggled on the glass as of late. They allowed 10 offensive rebounds to Loyola Marymount on Tuesday and were out-rebounded 38 to 29 last week against San Francisco. Saint Mary’s plays slowly, averaging 20 seconds per possession. Gonzaga must prevent extra possessions from the offensive glass, or Saint Mary’s will hang around.
The Gaels have proven they are not intimidated by the powerhouse of Gonzaga and should be ready for the challenge.