March Madness is here! Non-major conference tournaments around the country begin Tuesday with the Atlantic Sun, Big South, Horizon League and Patriot League. There are 32 total conference tournaments up to Selection Sunday. Here’s a look at two early-week games from power conferences with Mybookie NCAAB odds TBA.
Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – March 2nd Edition
No. 9 Maryland at Rutgers
- When: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Rutgers has just one home loss this season and this is the Knights’ last game there. Maryland, meanwhile, is atop the Big Ten but by just a game over Michigan State after losing 78-66 at home to the Spartans on Saturday. MSU bolted to a 17-5 lead and never trailed in dealing Maryland its first home loss of the season. Jalen Smith had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Maryland, now 15-1 at home. The Terps can still clinch at least a share of the league title with a victory at Rutgers.
The Knights lost their third in a row Wednesday, 65-64 at Penn State. Myles Dread hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to lift Penn State over Rutgers after the Nittany Lions blew a 21-point lead. Trailing 40-19 late in the first half, the Scarlet Knights tied the game at 62 with 1:32 left on Geo Baker’s layup. His jumper gave Rutgers a two-point lead with 42 seconds remaining before Dread’s big shot. Rutgers is 6-8 in its past 14 games.
Maryland looks for the season sweep as it beat visiting Rutgers 56-51 in an ugly game on Feb. 4. Jalen Smith had 14 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks for Maryland, and Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 17. The Terrapins trailed 25-20 at halftime after shooting 24%. With Smith leading the way, Maryland emerged from the break with a 14-4 run and held off a late surge by the Scarlet Knights. Three free throws by Cowan put the Terrapins up 52-49 with 2:12 to go. Myles Johnson answered with a dunk, but the Scarlet Knights did not score again. Akwasi Yeboah scored 13 for the Scarlet Knights, who shot 34% and went 3 for 17 from beyond the arc. Rutgers is 0-8 against Maryland since both teams joined the Big Ten in 2014.
No. 6 Florida State at Notre Dame
- When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET (ESPN2)
Florida State is in position to win the ACC regular-season title but can’t afford a slip up here. The Noles fell into a tie for first with Louisville following a 70-69 FSU loss at Clemson on Saturday on a last-second shot. Florida State’s desperation heave after Al-Amir Dawes’ basket last-chance heave was way off the mark.
Florida State is 14-4 in conference play. It marks the second consecutive season the Seminoles have won at least 13 ACC regular season games and earned a double bye in the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles’ 14 regular season ACC wins is a school record for conference wins in school history. The Seminoles won at least 10 games three times while a member of the Metro Conference (1977-91) and have now won at least 10 games 10 times as a member of the ACC. Leonard Hamilton has guided Florida State to double figure ACC wins seven times in the last 12 seasons (including this year). The Seminoles have earned eight of their 14 ACC wins by double figures.
The Irish had a three-game winning streak snapped in an 84-73 loss at Wake Forest on Saturday. With a 10-0 run down the stretch, the Deacons won despite squandering a 16-point, first-half lead. The Deacons made 7 of 15 3-point field-goal attempts and were 23-for-27 from the foul line.
John Mooney notched a double-double with 24 points and 17 rebounds in the loss. Mooney’s double-double is his 24th of the season and 45th of his career. Mooney has 15 double-doubles in ACC play this season, tying Tim Duncan for the single-season record. Mooney is alone in second place in double-doubles in a season, trailing just Luke Harangody (25). The 45-career double-doubles moves Mooney into fifth place in the program record books, passing Bob Arnzen (44).
The Seminoles go for the season sweep as they edged the visiting Irish 85-84 on Jan. 25. The Seminoles missed their last nine shots from the floor, leaving the door open just enough for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had a few chances in the final moments, including Dane Goodwin’s desperation 3-pointer that was short at the buzzer. Wyatt Wilkes came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points for FSU. He saw playing time because forward Patrick Williams (toe) missed the game. Trent Forrest and RaiQuan Gray each scored 13 points for Florida State. Prentiss Hubb scored 24 points, knocking down 5 of 11 3-pointers, and John Mooney scored 16 points for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish used just seven players and didn’t have the depth to keep up with the Seminoles, who had a 40-12 bench scoring advantage.
College Basketball Expert Picks of the Week
Maryland 65, Rutgers 63/Florida State 75, Notre Dame 72