College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Sunday, March 12th

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College basketball schedule today has five games

The next time you read our college basketball best bets, we’ll be making selections for the NCAA Tournament. But we still have some conference tournaments that need to be decided, so check out our favorite picks for Sunday, March 12th. The winners of today’s five games will be playing in March Madness, so the stakes couldn’t possibly be higher here. 

 

Here are some thoughts on the March 12 card (odds from DraftKings):

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (-5.5, 146)

These teams met very recently, with the Aggies earning a 67-61 win over the Crimson Tide in College Station earlier in March. Buzz Williams’ team has now won and covered in 10 of its last 11 games, yet nobody seems to take this group very seriously. Well, perhaps that will change today, as we like the Aggies to give the Tide hell again.

Since Williams became the head coach of Texas A&M, his team is 12-2 against the spread when facing an opponent that averages at least 77.0 points per game (min. 15 games into the season). The Aggies are also 15-4 ATS when playing in March under Williams, which is the ultimate sign of a well-coached group. This Texas A&M team plays its best ball when it matters most, and the game plan is there for the Aggies to beat Nate Oats’ team.

Alabama’s offense can be extremely hard to stop when it gets going, but the Tide had no idea what to do against A&M when they met earlier this month. The Aggies threw all sorts of things at star freshman Brandon Miller, and he responded by shooting just 7 for 23 from the floor. Of course, playing in College Station is a lot harder than playing in a neutral-court setting, but Miller is going to be faced with difficult coverages again here. And his teammates will need to rise to the occasion, which they didn’t the last time around.

Wade Taylor IV also happened to have 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the last meeting, and the guard has been unstoppable in the second half of the season. Look for him to have another good game for the Aggies, who should be able to hang around until the very end — and potentially even win this game outright.

It doesn’t hurt that Texas A&M rarely turns the ball over, while also being tough to keep off the offensive glass. Those little things go a long way this time of year.

Pick: Texas A&M +5.5 (with a half-unit on A&M ML) 

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Purdue Boilermakers (-7.5, 134.5) 

The Nittany Lions are a game away from doing something that nobody thought was possible about a week ago, but the line on this one suggests that Penn State still doesn’t have many believers in its corner. We don’t know what to make of this one from a spread perspective, but we do think it’ll be on the low-scoring side.

These teams played two games that went over this number during the regular season, but the Boilermakers averaged 78.0 points per game in those contests. With the Nittany Lions being a different team today than they were then, we don’t anticipate Matt Painter having his team looking to score quite as fast. Penn State has a newfound confidence offensively right now, with Jalen Pickett in a total groove offensively.

The smartest thing Purdue can do here is slow the game down and try to shrink the court for Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 16th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, so the Boilermakers don’t want to give them any rhythm. That means long, dragged-out possessions in which Zach Edey touches the ball almost every trip down the floor.

In addition to Purdue likely looking to turn this into a grind-it-out game, this is the final game of a massive tournament. That means there should be tired legs all around, and there will also be some nerves with these two both being eager to call themselves champions.

Pick: Under 134.5 

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