No team that was preseason No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 has missed the NCAA Tournament since it expanded to 65 teams in 1985. Could North Carolina be the first? The Heels might not get a bid if they lose at Florida State on Monday. We break that and another game down. Check out MyBookie’s College Basketball betting odds for these couple of great games.
Top NCAA Basketball Betting Picks For February 27: Tar Heels Need Win At Florida State
North Carolina at Florida State (+8)
ESPN has this ACC game at 7 PM ET. UNC (18-11, 10-8 ACC) is on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble at the moment thanks to a 71-63 home win over No. 6 Virginia on Saturday, but a bad loss here would put the Heels right back on the bubble.
Pete Nance exploded for 22 points in Saturday’s win. RJ Davis led UNC with 10 rebounds and added 16 points to post his third points & rebounds double-double this season (and fourth of his career). Leaky Black played in his 151st career game, tying him with Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt for second on Carolina’s all-time list. The only Tar Heel with more games is Deon Thompson, who has the Carolina and ACC record with 152.
The Tar Heels hit a season-high nine first-half three-pointers and jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead, then held on as the Cavaliers cut the lead to single digits in the final minute. Nance posted his first 20-point game since he scored 21 at Syracuse on January 24.
Carolina finished 10-for-22 from the arc and is now 8-0 this season when making at least 35 percent from the three-point line. The Tar Heels outscored Virginia, 30-12 on three-pointers, and 17-5 from the free throw line. Carolina held the Cavaliers to 39.7% from the floor, just the fifth time this season the Cavaliers shot under 40%. Virginia had more points off turnovers (8-0), more points in the paint (20), more second-chance points (4) and more fastbreak points (2-0). It was UNC’s first win over a Top 10 (AP) opponent at home since a 79-70 win over No. 4 Duke on 3/9/2019.
Florida State (9-20, 7-11 ACC) was a huge underdog at No. 13 Miami on Saturday and won 85-84 to snap a four-game skid. FSU was down 25 early in the second half but won it on Matthew Cleveland’s 3-pointer as time expired. The Seminoles committed one second half turnover, shot .667 percent from the field (21 of 31) and .833 from the free throw line (10 of 12) to earn their fifth consecutive win on Miami’s home court. The 25-point comeback win as the biggest in ACC history.
The Seminoles are in line to post their first losing season since 2005, but Leonard Hamilton’s bunch isn’t showing any signs of quitting down the stretch. The Tar Heels haven’t won in Tallahassee since 2016, but this Florida State squad isn’t the same as the ones that consistently remained among the top teams in the ACC.
No. 9 Baylor at Oklahoma State (+1.5)
ESPN has this Big 12 matchup at 9 PM ET. Baylor (21-8, 10-6 Big 12) might be without one of its best players in freshman Keyonte George. The Bears overcame an early 14-point deficit and an injury to George to top the No. 8 Texas 81-72 on Saturday.
Texas jumped out to an 18-4 lead thanks to a 16-0 run. Immediately before the Horns’ last points of that run, George pulled up limping and immediately hobbled to the locker room. After the game, Baylor head coach Scott Drew said, “I don’t know how bad his ankle is or how long he’ll be out.” So far this season, George is playing like an All-Big 12 guard/wing as he’s averaged 17 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, three assists and one steal. He is projected as a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
With George out, Dale Bonner, who had played double-digit minutes just once in the previous 12 games, scored 13 points in 20 minutes off the bench and added four assists, two steals and another handful of deflections in arguably one of his best games in a Baylor uniform. Flo Thamba had his birthday with his second-career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds. He was an efficient 3-of-4 from the floor and 6-for-8 from the line, helping the Bears dominate the boards, 37-25.
Oklahoma State (16-13, 7-9 Big 12) likely will have to win the Big 12 Tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament. The Cowboys lost their fourth in a row Saturday, 73-68 to No. 14 Kansas State. Kalib Boone scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half on Senior Day for Oklahoma State. Caleb Asberry scored 13 points and John-Michael Wright added 12 for the Cowboys.
Boone’s career field-goal percentage currently sits at 60.2%, the best in Oklahoma State program history. At his current pace, Boone will become the first Cowboy in program history to shoot 60% or better from the field in multiple seasons. Oklahoma State is 15-3 when it shoots the same percentage or better than their opponent from the field this season. They are 1-9 when their opponent has a higher field goal percentage.
Baylor beat OSU 74-58 on Jan. 14. LJ Cryer hit the first of his four 3-pointers just 17 seconds into the game, giving the Bears a lead they would never relinquish. Baylor scored the first 13 points and led by as many as 28 in a rare Big 12 blowout, beating the Cowboys for the 13th time in the last 16 meetings.
Florida State and Oklahoma State ATS
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