Big games. That’s what we like at this time of the year and this week’s college basketball schedule has been chock full of them.
Five unranked teams have knocked-off AP ranked sides this week, continuing a trend that has proved prevalent this season. Underdogs are having their way so far this season, which means the NCAA tournament is going to be particularly interesting this year.
Big games continue to come thick and fast, so Casino Review has picked out the three biggest on Saturday’s schedule and broke them down for you.
#11 Georgetown @ #8 Syracuse
4:00 PM ET
With the Orange shipping out to the ACC at the end of this season, this will be the last time the Hoyas visit the Carrier Dome, for a while at least. What happens with the ‘Catholic Seven’ could change that in a few years. You never know.
#11 Georgetown (20-4, 10-3 Big East) will look to make it a triumphant final visit, while #8 Syracuse (22-4, 10-3 Big East) will look to remain unbeaten at home and against AP Top 25 teams.
The Hoyas have won eight straight and 10 of the last 11 on the way to securing a share of the Big East lead. The Orange meanwhile has won two straight, and four of five. Georgetown handed DePaul a 90-66 loss on Wednesday, while Syracuse defeated Providence 84-59 setting up this top of the table clash.
Both sides will look to solid defenses in this one. The Hoyas ranked 10th in the nation in both points allowed (56.1) and opponents’ shooting percentage (.376). Syracuse is 30th in points allowed (59.3) but limits opponents to .370 shooting, good enough for sixth in the country.
This game is almost impossible to pick. Both schools have fared well against the spread this season, at home and on the road, and as favorites and underdogs. Both have identical conference records. Both have fared well against ranked sides, with Georgetown going 4-1 and Syracuse going 4-0.
Perhaps the main separation point is Syracuse’s current 38-game home winning streak. The side has been unstoppable at home for more than two years, having not lost at the Carrier Dome since Feb. 9 2011. However, that last loss – a 64-56 affair – came at the hands of these very Hoyas. There really is little to choose from here.
This Season: This will be the first time the schools meet this season. A second game is scheduled for Mar. 9.
Last Season: Syracuse defeated Georgetown 64-61 in overtime at the Carrier Dome in the only meeting between the sides last season.
Favorite: Syracuse Spread: 7 Total: 122
Take: SYRACUSE – Ultimately that impressive home winning streak has swayed us in the direction of the Orange, but a win for Georgetown really wouldn’t be a surprise. Take the Hoyas (13-7-0 ATS, 5-1-0 ATS) to cover the spread in a close, emotional game. Even though these sides are defensively orientated, there’ll be enough offense on display for the total to go over.
#16 New Mexico @ # 22 Colorado State
4:00 PM ET
#22 Colorado State (21-5, 8-3 MWC) came unglued on the road in Las Vegas this past Wednesday, losing 61-59 to UNLV and dropping a game back of the conference leading Lobos. The Rams will need to win on Saturday afternoon if they’re to stay in this particular race.
#16 New Mexico (22-4, 9-2 MWC) have had a week to rest since handing Boise State a 60-50 loss last Saturday. The Lobos will hope that this break will prove enough of an advantage going into Fort Collins, where the Rams are undefeated this season.
The Lobos have won two straight and five of six, while the Rams’ midweek loss put the breaks on a six-game winning streak.
Both teams enter the game with top 50 defenses, which means this should be a bruising affair. The Rams are second in the nation with 41.9 rebounds per game, something that could prove vital against a Lobos team that does not shoot the ball well.
This Season: New Mexico defeated Colorado State 66-61 in Albuquerque on Jan. 23.
Last Season: The schools split a pair of games with each winning on its own court.
Favorite: Colorado State Spread: 6 Total: 129
Take: COLORADO STATE – Home court has proved advantageous in this series and it will do so again on Saturday, although a well-rested New Mexico side certainly has the potential to steal one. Take the Rams (12-8-2 ATS, 7-3-1 ATS home) to cover the spread. Take the total to go under, a trend familiar with both these teams.
North Carolina State @ North Carolina
4:00 PM ET
It’s rare Casino Review steps outside of the AP rankings for its weekly betting tips but this one more than warrants it. With both teams underachieving this season, this game is huge.
North Carolina (18-8, 8-5 ACC) will look to avenge January’s defeat in Raleigh on Saturday afternoon, hoping to throw its hat in the NCAA tournament picture at the same time. North Carolina State (19-7, 8-5 ACC) would like nothing better than to ruin its rival’s chances.
The Tar Heels have two straight after dropping a pair of road games to Duke and Miami (FL). Roy Williams’ side has won five of the last seven. The Wolfpack defeated Florida State on Tuesday to build its win streak up to three, following three straight losses and five in seven.
Expect a high-scoring affair as two top 10 offenses collide. The Tar Heels will need to fend-off the sharpshooting Wolfpack, which shoots .497 from the field (fifth in the nation) and .406 from three-point range (sixth).
This Season: NC State handed the Tar Heels a 91-83 loss in Raleigh on Jan. 26.
Last Season: North Carolina handed the Wolfpack three defeats last season, including a 69-67 loss in the ACC tournament.
Favorite: North Carolina Spread: 5 Total: 158½
Take: NORTH CAROLINA – The Tar Heels cost us big time the last time we backed them (against NC State, nonetheless) but that 12-1 home record looks too enticing this week, particularly against an inconsistent NC State side. Take the Tar Heels (15-9-0 ATS, 9-4-0 ATS home) to cover the spread also. Although both sides can score the basketball, 158½ seems a little too much, so take the under.
AP Top 25 Weekend Schedule
#2 Miami (FL) @ Wake Forest
San Diego @ #3 Gonzaga
Arkansas @ #5 Florida
#11 Georgetown @ #8 Syracuse
TCU @ #9 Kansas
Seton Hall @ #10 Louisville
Washington State @ #12 Arizona
#13 Kansas State @ Texas
#14 Oklahoma State at West Virginia
#16 New Mexico @ #22 Colorado State
#17 Marquette @ Villanova
Southern Miss @ #21 Memphis
Stanford @ #23 Oregon
#24 Virginia Commonwealth @ Xavier
#4 Michigan State @ #18 Ohio State
Boston College @ #6 Duke
Illinois @ #7 Michigan
#20 Pittsburgh @ St. John’s
Cincinnati @ #25 Notre Dame