Author's Note: Each week we will highlight several "situational spots" below with analysis on their respective matches for Saturday’s upcoming college basketball 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. If you bet our spots with the projected lines we gave out last week, you would have gone 5-1.
Flat spot: A game in which a team might not be fully motivated, given a lackluster opponent and/or other scheduling circumstances that do not result in the team's full intensity.
Georgia hosting South Carolina (1 PM ET on SEC Network)
KenPom projected line: Georgia -4.5
Buy Price: South Carolina +2
Analysis: Tom Crean’s team isn’t going to make the NCAA Tournament despite some nice wins in SEC play this season. Georgia just hasn’t been consistent enough to climb the ladder in the conference standings overall, and we have no reason to expect that to change now. The Bulldogs are coming off an upset victory against LSU, which was a game they happened to win by 13 points. Prior to the LSU game, Georgia also played against the likes of Florida, Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee. With the exception of Arkansas, that’s simply the class of the conference this year. The Bulldogs also won the Missouri game and went 4-1 against the spread during that five-game stretch. For a team that’s not going to make the NCAA tournament, it doesn’t get much bigger than that recent run of conference opponents that Georgia just had. It’s hard to see an inconsistent team like the Bulldogs getting up for lowly South Carolina.
Lookahead spot: A game in which a team may overlook its opponent due to a bigger opponent up next.
Illinois visiting Wisconsin (2 PM ET on ESPN)
KenPom Projected line: Illinois -2
Buy Price: Wisconsin -1.5
Analysis: For most of the 2020-21 season there has been a clear top tier of four teams in the Big 10 Conference. Those teams are Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois and Iowa. We might as well call this a double lookahead spot for Illinois, as the Fighting Illini end their regular season next week with games against both Michigan and Ohio State. Tuesday’s game in Ann Arbor could be the only time Illinois gets to play the Wolverines this season, and next Saturday’s regular season finale in Columbus is also a chance for the Fighting Illini to extract a bit of revenge on the Buckeyes, as Ohio State won at Illinois back in January as an eight-point underdog. In five previous games against the Big 10’s "Fantastic Four" this season, Wisconsin is 0-5 straight-up and ATS. So who’s down to plug their nose with me and take the Badgers here?
Letdown spot: The next game for a team after its previous one was closely contested - and often a win - against a marquee opponent.
Arkansas hosting LSU (2 PM ET on ESPN2)
KenPom Projected line: Arkansas -4.5
Buy Price: LSU +2.5
Analysis: No team is as good or as bad as it looks in any one game. Never forget this age-old gambling adage, particularly when it comes to this game in the SEC. Enter LSU, off the aforementioned double-digit loss in Athens against Georgia and now taking on an Arkansas team that just picked up a signature win against Alabama by double digits. Recency bias can frequently be a thorn in the side of casual college basketball bettors, as I’m sure some will see this number come short enough where it just feels too easy to bet the Razorbacks. Sure, they’ve been red-hot in both winning and covering a slew of recent games against other top teams in the conference. But remember, most of Arkansas’s roster, even including head coach Eric Musselman, wasn’t even around when the Razorbacks last made the NCAA Tournament back in 2018. Musselman made a run with Nevada that same year, but the point remains that this is uncharted territory for many of the players on the Razorbacks. I’m willing to bet on a bit of a reality check for the hogs before the conference tournament, so I’ll buy low on LSU and sell high on Arkansas here in this spot.
Sandwich spot: A combination of the letdown and lookahead spots. The team featured in this spot likely just played one of its bigger games of the season and has another big game on deck.
Michigan visiting Indiana (12 PM ET on FOX)
KenPom Projected line: Michigan -10
Buy Price: Indiana +7
Analysis: Remember that top tier of four teams in the Big 10 Conference that we just talked about? Well, the Michigan Wolverines just played against Iowa on Thursday night and gets Illinois next on Tuesday. If anyone can find a reason for the Wolverines to go to Bloomington and win by a large margin on Saturday, against a team that is battling for its NCAA Tournament at-large bid lives, let me know.
Revenge spot: The second game between two relatively evenly-matched teams in which we expect the team that lost the first meeting to return the favor.
Texas visiting Texas Tech (12 PM ET on CBS)
KenPom projected line: Texas Tech -2
Buy Price: Texas +4
Analysis: Any time you see teams this close together in various polls, particularly in-state rivals, don’t you just expect close game after close game with the winners usually flip-flopping? That’s what we’re banking on here. After the Texas Tech Red Raiders picked up a 79-77 win in Austin on January 13, we’d expect another tight game this time around in Lubbock as well. Also, the Texas Longhorns are no strangers to close games either. Four of their six losses this season have been decided by four points or less, and one of the games that they lost by more than four points - a trip to Oklahoma State - still went to OT. In addition to that, nearly half (seven) of Texas' 16 wins this season have been by six points or less. Texas seems like the kind of team you can trust in the guts of the game, and my buy price is Texas +4 in this rematch.
Get-right spot: A game in which a struggling team with expectations for more should find a way back into the win column.
Oklahoma hosting Oklahoma State (3 PM ET on ABC)
KenPom Projected line: Oklahoma -3
Buy Price: Oklahoma -5.5
Analysis: You can be the judge as to if we’re cheating here, as the Sooners aren’t really struggling too much. After all, they’re still 7-3 straight-up in their last 10 games. However, one of those recent wins was by one point in double overtime against West Virginia. If that game was a loss for Oklahoma, the Sooners would have lost three of their last five games. They also failed to cover a pair of double-digit spreads in two games against Iowa State earlier in February, and the real reason the Sooners make this spot here is a 62-57 loss in their last game as 10-point road favorites at Kansas State. Oklahoma has only won one game by double figures since January 23, and a rivalry game against an Oklahoma State team that’s off an emotional OT win against Texas Tech feels like a good spot for the Sooners to rebuild their confidence.