No. 3 Stanford at No. 2 Oklahoma State (ESPNU, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: Oklahoma State -7 ½, 153
Stanford was tied for third in the Pac-12 regular season standings at 11-7 straight-up and it was knocked out of the conference tournament with an 88-77 loss to UCLA as a four-point underdog. The Cardinal faced BYU in the opening round of this tournament and squeezed-out an 86-83 victory to cover as 2 ½-point favorites. They are now 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games with the total going OVER in six of their last eight contests.
Junior forward Reid Travis scored 25 points and pulled down 14 rebounds against the Cougars to post his six-straight double-double. He is averaging a team-high 19.6 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Senior forward Michael Humphrey added 11 points and 14 rebounds to help pace last Wednesday’s win.
The Cowboys came into the NIT with a huge chip on their shoulder after getting passed over for the NCAA Tournament for their bitter rival Oklahoma. To really make matters worse, they beat the Sooners 71-60 in the Big 12 Tournament as slight 1 ½-point underdogs. Oklahoma State took some of its frustration out on Florida Gulf Coast in its NIT opener with an 80-68 victory as an 11-point home favorite. It is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games and the total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in its last six games.
Oklahoma State shot just 35.6 percent from the field while going 6-for-22 from three-point range and still manage to cover the double-digit spread in last Tuesday’s NIT opener. Senior guard Jeffery Carroll led the way with 18 points. He has now eclipsed his 15.2-point scoring average in three of his last five starts. As a team, the Cowboys are averaging 76.5 points per game.
— The Cardinal are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 nonconference games and the total has gone OVER in six of their last eight games against the Big 12.
— The Cowboys have failed to cover in five of their last six games against the Pac-12 with the total staying UNDER in their last 11 nonconference games.
— These two last met in 2011 and Oklahoma State has a 2-1 edge both SU and ATS in the last three meetings. The total has gone OVER in two of the three games.
No. 3 LSU at No. 2 Utah (ESPNU, 9:00 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: Utah -3 ½, 147 ½
The Tigers stumbled into the NIT with just one victory in their previous four contests both SU and ATS. In last Wednesday’s opener, they knocked off the rival Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 84-76 to cover as 3 ½-point home favorites. The total went OVER 159 ½ points in that game and it has gone OVER in six of LSU’s last eight games. It is now 7-0 both SU and ATS in its last seven home games.
The trio of Tremont Waters (15.8 points), Duop Reath (12.7 points) and Skylar Mays (11.2 points) have provided the bulk of the Tigers’ 77.8-point scoring average this season. Reath had the hottest hand in last Wednesday’s win with 26 points while going 10-for-14 from the field. He also pulled down 11 rebounds.
Utah made an early exit from the Pac-12 Tournament with a 68-66 loss to Oregon in a game that ended as a PUSH. In the opening round of the NIT, it beat UC Davis 69-59 but failed to cover as a heavy 12 ½-point home favorite. The total stayed UNDER 139 ½ points in last Wednesday’s win and it has stayed UNDER in the Utes’ last four games. Over their last six contests they are 4-2 SU, but a shaky 2-3-1 ATS.
Despite watching their coach Larry Krystkowiak get tossed out of last Wednesday’s game before halftime, the Utes rallied from an 11-point deficit to move onto this second round matchup. Senior guard Justin Bibbins has been Utah’s leading scorer all season long with 14.8 PPG. He scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to help pace the come-from-behind victory.
— The Tigers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against the Pac-12 and the total has gone OVER in four of their last five Monday games.
— The Utes have covered in their last five games against the SEC with the total staying UNDER in their last four home games.
— Utah has a 3-1 edge both SU and ATS in this Pac-12/SEC matchup with the total staying UNDER in three of the four games. They last met in 2010.
No. 5 Washington at No. 1 Saint Mary’s (ESPNU, 11:00 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: St. Mary’s -10 ½, 144
With just three SU wins in their last nine games, the Huskies fell out of favor with the selection committee for the NCAA Tournament. They had also fallen out of favor with bettors by going 3-6 ATS in this same span. Last Wednesday against Boise State, Washington redeemed itself a bit with 77-74 upset as a two-point home underdog. The total went OVER 148 points in that win and it has gone OVER in four of the Huskies’ last seven games.
Big second halves from Jaylen Nowell (25 points) and Matisse Thybulle (18 points) helped Washington advance to Monday’s second round. Each player scored 14 points over the final two quarters to hold off the Broncos’ attempt at a comeback. Nowell has been the team’s leading scorer all season long with 16.1 PPG.
Saint Mary’s is a team that could take issue with the folks calling the shots in the NCAA Tournament after going 28-5 SU. However, the Gaels appear to be focused on making the most of the NIT with a dominating 89-45 beatdown of Southeastern Louisiana in the opening round. They covered as 14 ½-point home favorites in last Tuesday’s win after failing to cover in seven of their previous nine games. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in 14 of Saint Mary’s last 15 games.
Senior center Jock Landale has been the Gaels’ driving force all season long with 21.5 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. He scored 26 points in the NIT opener with six rebounds after putting up 17 points and pulling down 19 rebounds in an opening-round victory against Pepperdine in the recent WCC Tournament.
— The Huskies have failed to cover in their last six games against a team from the WCC and the total has gone OVER in six of their last seven games against this conference.
— The Gaels have gone 12-4 ATS in their last 17 games against the Pac-12 with the total staying UNDER in seven of their last eight games against this conference.
— These two have not played one another since the late 90’s with Washington winning both games SU in a two-season series.
No. 4 Western Kentucky at No. 1 USC (ESPN2, 11:30 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: USC -4, 150
The Hilltoppers were the third-best team in C-USA this season at 14-4 and they missed out on a trip to the Big Dance by one point in a 67-66 loss to Marshall in the conference tournament’s title game. They failed to cover as 5 ½-point favorites as part of a 6-3 record ATS in their previous nine games. Last Tuesday in its NIT opener, Western Kentucky hammered Boston College 79-62 as a four-point home favorite. The total stayed UNDER the 159 ½-point closing line.
Senior forward Justin Johnson has led this team in scoring all season with 15.4 PPG. He is playing some of his best ball of the year with five-straight double-doubles in points and rebounds. He scored 19 points against BC with 12 rebounds to average 19.2 points and 11.6 rebounds during this five-game tear.
USC was second in the Pac-12 regular-season standings at 12-6 and a 75-61 loss to Arizona as a 4 ½-point underdog ended its stay in the conference tournament. The Trojans drew UNC Asheville in the opening round of this tournament and they outlasted the Bulldogs 103-98 in overtime. They could not cover the inflated 14-point spread at home to fall to 2-3 ATS in their last five games. The total went OVER 151 points after staying UNDER in previous 10 games.
Three of USC’s starters ended last Tuesday’s win with 20+ points led by senior guard Jordan McLaughlin (26 points). The Trojans shot 51.3 percent from the field and 11-for-27 from three-point range. Junior forward Chimezie Metu had been the team’s leading scorer all season (15.7 points), but he decided to opt out of the NIT to focus his efforts on this year’s NBA draft.
— The Hilltoppers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 nonconference games with the total going OVER in four of their last five games played on Monday.
— The Trojans have failed to cover in four of their last five Monday games and the total has gone OVER in six of their last eight games outside the conference.
— This will be the first meeting between the two in recent memory.