College basketball best bets today

We only have five games on the college basketball card for Sunday, as five automatic qualifiers will be crowned as conference champions and head into the NCAA Tournament with a little bit of hardware. The Ivy, A-10, SEC, AAC, and Big Ten are the five yet to be decided and we sure do have an interesting slate of games, especially that Temple vs. UAB game just about a week after that game caught scrutiny for unusual wagering activity.

I’m doing a special edition of the college basketball best bets today article and I’ll hit on all five games, with any best bets where applicable. I’ll also add Tyler Shoemaker’s T Shoe Index projections for both the men’s and women’s games at the bottom of my article.


Check the latest college basketball odds for legal U.S. sportsbooks across the country and our Vegas odds if you share a state with us here at VSiN. Also, give the college basketball betting splits a look for these or any other college basketball games today have your interest. Check out the Tracking Sheet for this season’s results and our college basketball home page for more CBB content.

Here are two college basketball best bets for today.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publish.

Brown Bears vs. Yale Bulldogs (-7.5, 134)

Noon ET

The first tip-off of the day is between Brown and Yale, as the Bears knocked off top-seeded Princeton to set up a chance here against the Bulldogs for the Ivy’s lone bid. Yale comfortably handled their affairs by never trailing against Cornell, while Brown saw their 22-point lead get all the way down to 3 in the final minute against Princeton.

Yale was absolutely the better of the two teams during the regular season and this is a true neutral-site game with the Ivy Tourney held at Columbia’s gym. Yale won by 10 early in the season and lost at home in overtime to finish out the year, but the Bulldogs had 1.166 and 1.181 points per possession in the two games.

Brown did come on strong late in the year with six straight wins to end the regular season and then beat Princeton yesterday, so they’re playing at a high level right now. With a slower pace here, I think it’s a little trickier for Yale to win and cover comfortably, but just a lean on Brown for me.

Duquesne Dukes vs. VCU Rams (-2, 126.5)

1 p.m. ET

Speaking of slow paces, the total tells you everything you need to know about this one, as these two teams rank deep into the 200s in adjusted tempo. Statistically, the two teams are pretty similar except for one main area. VCU shoots the 3 at a borderline top-50 clip and takes a lot of them with a 43.6% 3P Rate. Duquesne is around a 40% 3P Rate and a 34% success rate.

The Dukes won the only regular season meeting on Mar. 5 with a 10-point triumph at VCU. They were 10-of-28 from 3 in that game and overcame a tough shooting day from everybody except Dae Dae Grant, who had 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting. 

The problem with looking at that first data point is that VCU’s Max Shulga (14.9 PPG, 3.7 APG, 4.8 RPG) didn’t play. He makes a lot happen for this VCU crew. Even against UMass, when he had four points on four free throws, he had a 7:2 assist-to-turnover ratio.

I like VCU in this one. They’re shooting 77.8% from the free throw line as a team and have held every opponent in this tournament under a point per possession. Duquesne is shooting over 41% from 3 thus far. I don’t think that continues against a VCU team holding opponents to 31.4% from 3.

Pick: VCU -2

Florida Gators vs. Auburn Tigers (-5.5, 155.5)

1 p.m. ET

A great final matchup here at Bridgestone Arena between Florida and Auburn. These are two really good teams and two teams you may want to look closely at in the Big Dance. Auburn fits the bill as a team capable of making a big run with a top 10 unit in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Florida’s defense isn’t traditionally NCAA Tournament champion-caliber, but their offense is quite good.

Both teams are really effective at getting inside. Both teams also struggle to prevent opponents getting to the rim, but they are both very good at preventing those shots from being made. There are a lot of similarities between these two teams. Auburn is just a little more efficient across the board and is also No. 1 in the nation in 2P% defense.

Florida may have an advantage on the offensive glass here and they may need it because their TO% keeps getting lower and lower by the game it seems. They have had a TO% over 15% on defense just once in the last six games.

The Gators beat Auburn by 16 in the only regular season meeting back on Feb. 10. Florida has played three games in three games, while Auburn, as a higher seed, will just now be playing a third game in three days. The Tigers have the rest advantage and the better numbers, so I lean that way, but Florida is very dangerous because of their shot-making abilities. Nothing strong from me here, but I will be looking at both teams for deep NCAA Tournament runs.

Temple Owls vs. UAB Blazers (-6.5, 138)

3:15 p.m. ET

The most unexpected of conference tournament championship games. As mentioned, the last Temple/UAB game was flagged for unusual betting activity and there had been whispers based on some total and first-half line moves that something shady was going on with the Owls. Since that came to light, they’ve won in upset fashion in each of the last five games and need one more to do something insanely improbable.

Temple is playing a fifth game in five days and they’ve played some real nail-biters this week, including the one-point win over FAU on Saturday. This is a really talented team and this would be some kind of story, but you really have to wonder how much gas they have left in the tank.

Meanwhile, UAB has already fired Billy Kennedy, but he’s been coaching the team anyway. They are playing a third game in three days here, so there is a major rest advantage on the UAB side. That’s already been accounted for in the line.

Statistically, UAB has a major advantage on the offensive glass, but they have a blind spot with defending the 3 and Temple takes a ton of them with a 42.3% 3P Rate. Temple was 12-of-24 in the win over FAU and 9-of-18 in the win over SMU, so they’ve shot well from deep at the right times, but they have struggled on 2-point shots in this tournament.

I do think the road ends here for the Owls, but I’m not confident enough that UAB can win by margin.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (-3, 149)

3:30 p.m. ET

Barring overtime in another game, the Big Ten Championship Game will send us into the Selection Show. Be sure you tune in for our Betting the Bracket special with hosts Tim Murray and Jonathan Von Tobel, plus a slew of guests to break down how the bracket shakes out.

We’ve got an interesting pace war here, as Wisconsin plays very slowly and Illinois is a borderline top-50 team in tempo. The only regular season meeting between the two was an offensive showcase, as Illinois won 91-83 with 1.308 points per possession compared to 1.193 for Wisconsin. That game was played to 70 possessions, as there were 53 combined free throw attempts.

Seven-footer Steven Crowl only played 14 minutes in that game for the Badgers due to foul trouble. Even with a big body in Crowl, the Badgers have allowed opponents to shoot 64.3% on their Close Twos this season. They’ve also allowed opponents to shoot 37.2% on 3s. I think those are two areas where the Illini can find some success. Wisconsin isn’t a very physical team and it hurts them on the defensive end of the floor. I think their path has been fairly fortunate to this point. I don’t think they’re as fortunate going up against an Illinois team that will bang down low and has a big rebounding advantage.

Illinois has the rest advantage here, in that this will be their third game in three days and it will be 4-in-4 for the Badgers. I like the short favorite in this one as well, much like I did with VCU. I think Illinois takes this one down by getting the ball inside and also playing well from the outside.

Pick: Illinois -3

Tyler Shoemaker T Shoe Index Projections for 3/17


“Away” Team“Home” TeamSpreadTotal


“Away” Team“Home” TeamSpreadTotal
Boston UHoly Cross-4.5126
Le MoyneSacred Heart-6.5125.2
Missouri StateDrake-6.3138.8
DrexelStony Brook-13.2122.3