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Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – March 9, 2024

Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – March 9, 2024

TRENT’S NCAAB BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY – MARCH 9, 2024 – It is the last weekend of the regular season, and several conference tournaments are already underway.

Some teams will fight to play into the postseason, and others want to build momentum before heading into the big dance.

In this article, I will give my best bets for the Saturday games, including one team that has been in the bubble for the last month. It should be an exciting day of college basketball; let the madness begin!

Check out the Godzilla Wins Daily Staff Picks page.

Read on for Trent’s NCAAB Best Bets for Saturday – March 9, 2024

Creighton at Villanova

Villanova has been bouncing around Joe Lunardi’s bubble teams for quite some time. They are firmly on the bubble but could change that with a victory over Creighton.

KenPom has them ranked as the 24th-best team, but they have not beaten a ranked team since the last time they faced Creighton. They won that game in overtime, 68 to 66, on December 20.

It was a perfect start to conference play, but they have had their fair share of struggles since then. They lost five in a row at one point, which began and ended with Marquette. They need a phenomenal performance at home against Creighton to cement themselves in the NCAA tournament.

Creighton has been red hot recently, with wins over Connecticut and Marquette, but they dropped a game to St. John’s between those massive victories. Villanova could have the same recipe to defeat the Bluejays, especially at home.

They play a slow pace (18.8 seconds per possession), and more importantly, they limit a team’s from behind the arc. Teams shoot 32.2% from three, and Creighton loves to shoot the three.

They average 10.7 threes made and 29.2 threes attempted per game. The Wildcats must limit their shooting from behind the arc, much like St. John’s did when they held them to 23.1%.

The Pick: Villanova +1

Kentucky at Tennessee

Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC, but Kentucky is hot on the offensive side of the ball. They scored 117 points in a win over Alabama at home and 111 against Arkansas two games later. The Volunteers will not allow that many points, ranking as the third-best team in defensive adjusted efficiency by KenPom.

Both teams average less than 16 seconds per possession, but Tennessee’s defense makes the team play slower than usual. They force opponents to spend 18.2 seconds per possession. They must slow down this Wildcat offense if they want a chance to stop them.

Kentucky is the best three-point-shooting team in the country, making 40.8% of their attempts. Tennessee holds their opponents to 30.7% from behind the arc while allowing 24.2 three-point-attempts per game.

They may force Kentucky off their spot more because of the efficiency of their shooters. If they do not, it could be a long game for them. Kentucky must stop Dalton Knecht on defense. He averages 20.6 points per game and is the motor of this offense. He can create his shot and has beautiful chemistry with Zakai Zeigler, who averages 5.8 assists per game.

Rob Dillingham is the catalyst on the offensive side of the ball for Kentucky, but Antonio Reeves is the steady hand. Reeves shoots a little over 50% from the field and converts over 87% of his free throws. They will need a big game from both to hang with Tennessee in the raucous Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Pick: Kentucky +7.5

North Carolina at Duke

The best rivalry in college sports takes center stage yet again. They will meet in a top-10 matchup, which decides the ACC regular season title. UNC is guaranteed a share, but a Duke win would mean they would share the ACC title.

The Tar Heels beat Duke in Chapel Hill by the score of 93 to 84 on February 3. The Blue Devils have won eight out of nine games since, only losing to Wake Forest on the road.

Duke has been playing some of the best basketball in the country as of late. They are scoring 71.5 points and allowing 65.6 points per game over their last 10. It has been a group effort as well. Their starting five has been playing plenty of minutes, but Kyle Filipowski has been the leading scorer, averaging 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

North Carolina has one of the oldest teams in the nation and is well-seasoned for playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium. RJ Davis and Armando Bacot have four seasons together under their belts.

Bacot has played 10 games against Duke, with a 5-5 record, and has never scored less than double digits. Davis has played eight games against them with a 5-3 record. Both teams project as either a three or two-seed in the tournament, but no doubt each team wants this victory. The Blue Devils are peaking at the right time and should bring their A-game on Saturday night.

The Pick: Duke -4.5

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