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Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – March 2, 2024

Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – March 2, 2024

TRENT’S NCAAB BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY – MARCH 2, 2024 – It is finally March, so let the madness begin. It is the time of the year when teams start to get hot and find themselves deep in the tournament.

It is also when teams lose their way and play themselves out of the postseason. Many, such as Villanova and Gonzaga, have been playing for their tournament lives for a while, battling to make it off Joe Lunardi’s bubble.

Check out the Godzilla Wins Daily Staff Picks page.

Read on for Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – February 24, 2024

Florida at South Carolina

One of the first games of the day is a ranked SEC matchup. The Gators will travel north to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks, who have been feasting ATS all season. They are 20-8 ATS this season, but this may be a spot to fade them. They are at their worst as a home favorite (7-6 ATS), and the Gators have been solid as underdogs (4-2 ATS).

Walter Clayton is the leading scorer for Florida this season, averaging 16.8 points per game. He faced some difficulty last game, fouling out due to a technical foul with 14 minutes left. His team went on to win by nine against Missouri, but he cannot make those mistakes against South Carolina, especially on the road.

The key in this game will be the pace. South Carolina averages 19.6 seconds per possession and plays at one of the slowest paces in the nation. Florida plays quickly and hits the boards as well as anyone.

They average the most rebounds (40.7) per game in the country, including 14 offensive rebounds per game. Rebounding will be vital in this matchup because limiting second-chance opportunities will allow Florida to push the pace instead of South Carolina burning more clock.

The Pick: Florida +1.5

Iowa State at UCF

The Cyclones are a two-seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology and second in the Big 12 with a 22-6 record. UCF is 15-12 on the season and eleventh in the conference standings. They have a couple of quality wins but have dropped a few games that hurt their resume. The Knights have been profitable against the spread this season. They are 16-11 ATS this season but have not fared well following a win. They are just 6-8 ATS in that situation. Iowa State is 14-6 ATS this season as a favorite and 19-8-1 ATS in all their games.

UCF only has two players, Jaylin Sellers and Darius Johnson, who average double-digit scoring per game. Iowa State’s leaders are Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lipsey, who fill up the stat sheet. The difference maker for them is their defense. KenPom ranks them as the second-best defense in adjusted efficiency because of their 10.5 steals per game. They should have a field day against UCF, who averages 11.5 turnovers per game.

Iowa State should be able to get high-percentage shots against this team. Central Florida has a stingy defense but can get beat by feeding the ball into the paint. Iowa State has experienced guards in Gilbert and Lipsey who can find the open guys and get their teammates open shots.

The Pick: Iowa State -4

Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s

Gonzaga is one of the last four teams in and firmly on the bubble. Joe Lunardi has Saint Mary’s as a six seed because of their undefeated conference record. They beat Gonzaga on the road a few weeks ago, 64 to 62. They shot 38.9% from three and held Gonzaga to 21.4% from behind the arc. It was a back-and-forth matchup, but the Bulldogs could not overcome the Gaels’ late lead.

Gonzaga needs this win to secure themselves as a tournament-worthy team. They have rattled off seven consecutive wins since that loss, including a road win over Kentucky. The Bulldogs have not fared well ATS this season, though. They are 13-15 ATS in all games this season but covered their lone matchup as an away underdog. They are also 5-4 ATS in away games this season. Saint Mary’s is 16-13 ATS this season and .500 when they are a favorite.

Saint Mary’s hangs their hat on the defensive side of the ball. They are the 13th-ranked team on KenPom in terms of defensive-adjusted efficiency. Gonzaga is the 10th-ranked team in adjusted offensive efficiency and is dominant inside. Graham Ike and Anton Watson are forces inside and should make their presence felt in this matchup. Saint Mary’s also shoots 68% from the line, which could hurt them, especially in March.

The Pick: Gonzaga +2.5

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