Each week we will attempt to highlight several situational spots below with analysis on their respective matches for Saturday’s upcoming college basketball main slate. While we’re not necessarily advising to blindly bet these spots, here are some useful tidbits when placing your weekend wagers in college hoops.
Flat spot: A game in which a team might not be fully motivated, either due to being given a lackluster opponent and/or other scheduling circumstances that do not result in this team's full intensity/effort.
Alabama hosting Vanderbilt (KenPom projected line: Alabama -16):
Analysis: The Alabama Crimson Tide have been the class of the SEC this season - not just in football, but in basketball as well. However, come tipoff time for Saturday’s game against lowly Vanderbilt, the Tide will have had a full week off and still have regular season games remaining against surging Arkansas and rival Auburn. It’s hard to see Alabama having motivation for big margin here and for what it’s worth, the Commodores have been a good bet recently, going 4-0-2 against the spread in their last six games.
Look-ahead spot: A team may overlook its current opponent due to a "bigger" upcoming opponent
Indiana hosting Michigan State (KenPom Projected line: Indiana -8):
Analysis: It’s weird to have Michigan State as an opponent that would be overlooked, but that’s what things have come to as this has turned into a college hoops season in which the Spartans and many other “Blue Blood” programs have woefully underachieved. The Hoosiers enter this game on the right side of the bubble and a road win against Rutgers on Wednesday would go a long way in securing an at-large bid. It takes a special person to bet Michigan State right now, but I certainly won’t be on Indiana in this one.
Letdown spot: The next game after its previous one was closely contested against a marquee opponent.
Florida State at Pittsburgh (KenPom Projected line: Florida State -10)
Analysis: The Florida State Seminoles are coming off a big, nationally-televised victory on Monday night at home against Virginia. Not only did the Seminoles win the game, but they got off to a hot start and coasted to an 81-60 blowout win in a clash of ACC elites. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Pittsburgh sneak up on a fat and happy team here and keep this game competitive in a potential letdown spot for FSU.
Sandwich spot: A combination of both the letdown and lookahead spots here. The team featured in this spot likely has just played one of its bigger games of the season, and has another big game on deck.
VCU hosting George Mason (KenPom Projected line: VCU -15):
Analysis: The VCU Rams just disposed of bitter rival and fellow Atlantic 10 conference bubble team Richmond. Up next is a home date with another bubble team in the conference in St. Louis. If the last 10 games are any indicator, the Rams won’t cover the big number in this one against the George Mason Patriots, at home no less. VCU is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 despite winning eight of those games outright.
Revenge spot: The second game (or third, in some cases) between two relatively evenly matched teams in which we expect the team that lost the first (or previous) meeting to return the favor and even the score.
Texas Tech visiting Kansas (KenPom projected line: Texas Tech +1.5):
Analysis: The Kansas Jayhawks haven’t quite been the same disappointment as some of the other “Blue Bloods” have that we mentioned, but Kansas has in fact taken a back seat to Baylor and several others in the Big 12 Conference. Despite that, the Jayhawks went to Lubbock back in December and escaped with a 58-57 win. The Red Raiders likely haven’t forgotten about that as they head to Lawrence on Saturday.
SMU hosting South Florida (KenPom projected line: SMU -12.5):
Analysis: Saturday’s game against the South Florida Bulls will be the first one for the Mustangs in 12 days and coach Tim Jankovich will be on the sideline for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 himself on January 25th. Does that sound like a team you want to lay double digit points with here?
Get-right spot: A struggling team with higher expectations should find a way to bounce back in this spot.
Missouri visiting South Carolina (KenPom Projected line: Missouri -6):
Analysis: Although the Missouri Tigers have lost three straight contests after a signature win at home against Alabama, they’ll still make the road trip to Columbia, South Carolina, with confidence, having already defeated the far inferior Gamecocks by double digits earlier this season in Columbia, Missouri.