Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets Today (Who Has Edge in St. John's vs. Seton Hall?)

College basketball best bets for Thursday, March 14 college basketball action, including St. John's vs. Seton Hall.

Mar 9, 2024; New York, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm center Joel Soriano (11) dunks in the
Mar 9, 2024; New York, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm center Joel Soriano (11) dunks in the / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Conference tournament week rolls on with a slew of high leverage games to help decide league supremacy.

I'm eyeing a bunch of NCAA Tournament hopefuls in play on Thursday, including a battle of two bubble teams in St. John's vs. Seton Hall.

Since the Pirates' incredible comeback about a month ago against the Red Storm, Rick Pitino's team has been on a tear. Can they keep it going on Thursday and avoid anymore "Big Dance" doubts?

Here's a handful of betting previews for Thursday's action, there will be plenty more on my betstamp, which is @rw33.

College Basketball Season Long Record: 159-148-7 (+6.73U)

Best College Basketball Bets Today

  • BYU ML vs. Texas Tech
  • St. John's (-4) vs. Seton Hall
  • Boston College (+4.5) vs. Virginia

BYU vs. Texas Tech Prediction and Pick

BYU came into Big 12 play overrated after a monster non conference stretch, stumbled, but has regained its form ahead of the postseason. The team took care of an aggressive ball pressure defense in UCF and now face Texas Tech, who I find the most overrated Big 12 team of the bunch.

The Red Raiders have been the opposite of what it's expected when Grant McCasland took over from North Texas, anchored by a potent offense, offsetting a poor defense.

While big man Warren Washington's status looms over this one, the team is nearly 10 points worse per 100 possessions on offense and about four points worse on defense, per hoop-explorer, I still believe the team is set to be out-classed by BYU's offense.

The Cougars offense is far more reliable from the perimeter with its motion offense opening up driving lanes to break through a mediocre Texas Tech defense that was ninth in Big 12 effective field goal percentage. BYU is a top 20 offense in points per possession in the half court with the third highest spacing rating, per ShotQuality.

This is massive against a Texas Tech team that is 273rd in open 3 rate.

While the Red Raiders offense has been on a tear, the team is struggling to get to the rim, reliant on unsustainable 3-point shooting.

The team shot 37% in Big 12 play, but will struggle against a disciplined BYU defense that force teams into midrange twos at the 15th highest rate in the country. For what it's worth, SQ deems that TTU is due a six percent drop in midrange field goal percentage.

I'll take BYU to keep it rolling in the Big 12 Tournament.

PICK: BYU ML

St. John's vs. Seton Hall Prediction and Pick

On February 18th, St. John's squandered a 20-plus point second half lead to Seton Hall, leading to an infamous Rick Pitino rant about his team. It appears that was the bottom for the Red Storm, who have won five straight since (albeit against four teams outside the KenPom top 50).

Seton Hall won both meetings, but I believe the current form of St. John's is far superior.

Both teams crash the glass at a top 20 rate in the country, but its St. John's ball handling and ability to generate good looks that stands out against a clunky Seton Hall offense. The Red Storm are top 100 in the country in turnover percentage, a number that has improved in Big East play as well.

On the other side, Seton Hall lacks ball handlers outside of Kadary Richmond, and the Red Storm's ball pressure ranks 55th in the country over the last 10 games, which can get easy run outs and buckets to push ahead.

Where the Johnnie's have had issues of late is the perimeter, allowing teams to shoot 40% from beyond the arc over the last 10 games. However, Seton Hall is a poor 3-point shooting team that is intent on getting to the rim, so that issue may be mitigated in this game.

Pitno's group is 35th in the country on near-rim field goal percentage eallowed and 15th in midrange field goal percentage allowed, per Halsametrics.

I'll lay it with St. John's to avenge its two regular season losses and get a cover.

PICK: St. John's -4

Boston College vs. Virginia Prediction and Pick

Our ACC sleeper has come out of the first round and its Boston College, who out-classed Clemson in the late window on Wednesday night. Now, the team draws Virginia, who sits squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

The Cavaliers' elite packline defense has held up the teams poor offense all season, but I can't count on the team to win with margin on a neutral floor with its porous offense. In away games or neutral settings this season, Virginia ranks 309th in effective field goal percentage.

These two met on Feb. 28 in Chestnut Hill, a tight win for the Woos, 72-68 as a point-and-a-half favorites. I'm skeptical the point spread should adjust north of two buckets given what we have seen from BC in the ACC Tournament and the overall form from Virginia.

In the lone meeting this season, seven footer Quentin Post scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. While UVA will force opponents to shoot over the packline, BC has proven to be a solid three-point shooting team, 50th in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage.

Ultimately, I can't trust this Cavaliers offense to cover a spread this big against a sound offense. Post is a nightmare for opponents around the rim, BC is 21st in near-rim field goal percentage allowed, and Virginia is incredibly reliant on late shot clock three's to bail out its prodding offense.

If this game is close, Virginia is bottom 15 in the country in free throw percentage.

I'll take the team I can trust to keep this one close.

PICK: Boston College +4.5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!