Home | News | Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – February 26th, 2024

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – February 26th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

Saturday was nearly a double disaster for No. 8 Duke as the Blue Devils fell out of first place in the ACC with a loss at Wake Forest and then saw star Kyle Filipowski get injured when Demon Deacons fans stormed the court following the win, but Filipowski is not expected to be out long term. The Dukies can’t win a national title without him. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups in college basketball.

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week (February 26th, 2024)

Miami Hurricanes vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

  • When: Monday, February 26th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Marriott Center, Provo, UT
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: Buzz Sports Radio 99.3FM (Miami) // 97.9 The Hill WCHL (North Carolina)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Miami (+14) / North Carolina (-14)

ESPN has this ACC matchup at 7 p.m. ET. UNC (21-6, 13-3 ACC) took sole possession of first in the ACC on Saturday with Duke’s loss and the Heels winning at Virginia 54-44. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak at Virginia and gave Carolina its first victory in Charlottesville since 2012. That eight-game skid was the longest in UNC history at any arena or opponent’s home court. UNC’s Cormac Ryan drained a season-high 6 of 11 three-point attempts, one shy of his career high of seven set with Notre Dame against Alabama in 2022-23, and scored 18 points to lead the Tar Heels in scoring for the first time this season. He has scored 52 points (17.3 per game) and is 14 for 27 from three-point range (51.9 percent) in the last three games. Armando Bacot overcame first-half foul trouble and posted 10 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double and the UNC-record 82nd in his career. Bacot has 1,616 career rebounds. He passed San Francisco’s Bill Russell for 13th in NCAA history. Louisville’s Charlie Tyra is 12th (1,617). UNC is 11-3 this season and 59-23 when he Bacot a double-double. The Cavs’ defense held RJ Davis, the ACC’s leading scorer, without a point in the first half. Davis missed 13 of 14 field goal tries, including 7 of 8 three-point attempts in the game. He saw his school-record streak of 23 consecutive games with multiple three-pointers come to an end, but he hit 9 of 10 free throw tries and finished with 12 points. UVA’s 27.6 percent (16 of 58) field goal shooting for the game was its lowest since 23.4 percent (11 of 47) vs. Wisconsin on Dec. 4, 2013. The 16.7 percent first half shooting was UVA’s lowest since a 3 of 22 effort vs. Florida State on Jan. 24, 2009 (so lowest in the Tony Bennett Era at Virginia). Carolina scored 26 points in the first half and 28 in the second. It was the first time UNC scored fewer than 30 points in both halves in a win since the 2012 win at Virginia. They were also the fewest first-half and second-half points UNC has scored this season. Carolina has won 21 consecutive games when holding its opponents under 60 points and 13 in a row when holding opponents under 70. UNC has won 11 games in a row when leading at halftime. It is 51-5 when leading at halftime under head coach Hubert Davis. UNC has held ACC opponents below 70 points in 22 of the last 34 games. Carolina has out-rebounded its opponents 16 consecutive times and is 13-3 in those games. The Tar Heels are 15-2 this season when they make more three-pointers than the opposition. Miami (15-13, 6-11 ACC) was a Final Four team last season but will not return to the NCAA Tournament unless it wins the ACC Tournament, which isn’t likely considering the Canes are on a six-game losing streak following an 80-76 home defeat to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Freshman Kyshawn George and junior Bensley Joseph led the Hurricanes on offense, pouring in 16 points each. Juniors Wooga Poplar and Matthew Cleveland joined the pair in double-figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Starting guard Nijel Pack missed a third straight game due to injury. North Carolina goes for the season sweep as it won in Miami 75-72 on Feb. 10. The Tar Heels roared out of the locker room to lead, 15-4, early. Miami rallied and took the lead before halftime, but Carolina held the Hurricanes to 37 percent shooting in the second half (including 2 of 14 from three-point range) for the win. Davis and Elliot Cadeau combined for 44 points and Bacot had a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds. Carolina leads the all-time series with Miami, 27-10, including 20-9 since the Hurricanes joined the ACC for the 2004-05 season.

NCAAB Betting Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • When: Tuesday, February 27th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, MS
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: WBUL 98.1 FM (Kentucky) // The Zone 105.9 FM (Mississippi State)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: TBA

ESPN has this SEC matchup with both trying to finish in the top four of the league and get a double-bye in the conference tournament. Kentucky eyes the season sweep as it blew out visiting Mississippi State 90-77 on Jan. 17. UK shot 62% in the second half and 56% overall to provide the 400th victory at Kentucky for Hall of Fame coach John Calipari. Antonio Reeves led the way with 27 points. Rob Dillingham added 16 points for the Wildcats, who made 23 of 31 two-point attempts. Tolu Smith III had 26 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 35% in the first half and 53% in the second.

Kentucky (19-8, 9-5 SEC) comes off maybe its most impressive win of the season, 117-95 on Saturday over No. 13 Alabama. Freshman Justin Edwards had a career-high 28 points and was 10-for-10 from the field, 4-for-4 from deep. Edwards became the fourth player in UK history to attempt at least eight shots in a game without a miss. He joins Rodney Dent (12 of 12 against Morehead State in 1993), Kenny Walker (11 of 11 against Western Kentucky in 1986) and Michael Bradley (8 of 8 against Pittsburgh in 1998).

“You know, I kept saying you’re going to break through, I believe in you,” Calipari said of Edwards. “He said coach, I believe in you. And I said you just got to stay the course. What I said to the team today – he has lived in the gym. He made every shot. I took him out because he reverted back and he was going to spin and move and throw the ball. I took him out because I said you’re playing a perfect game. I’m not going to let you screw it up.”

Reeves scored 24 points and had five assists. Zvonimir Ivisic had a career-high 18 points to go with five rebounds and four blocked shots. Rob Dillingham had 16 points and Adou Thiero added 12. Freshman center Zvonimir Ivisic had a career night of his own with 18 points and four blocks in 20 minutes played. Ivisic had played four combined minutes across UK’s last three games.

The Cats would extend the lead to as many as 37 points, 104-67, before setting for the 22-point victory. UK is now 346-17 (95.3%) under Calipari when leading by at least 10 points during the game. Kentucky shot 63.1% from the field (41 of 65), second-highest of the season and ninth-highest in the Calipari era. UK is 11-0 this season making at least 50% from the field.

The 117 points scored by UK marked the most ever by the Wildcats against an opponent ranked in the AP poll. The 1.539 points per possession that the Wildcats had against the Crimson Tide were the most by a UK team since at least the 2002-03 season.

UK is 7-0 this season when making at least 45% from distance. Kentucky has five 100-point games this season, tying 2016-17 for the most in the Calipari era. Including Edwards, Kentucky now has six players who have scored at least 20 points in a game this season. Reeves has 15 games with at least 20 points this season and has scored in double figures in every game but one. With Tre Mitchell shelved with a shoulder injury, UK has not played a complete game this season with all players available.

MSU (19-8, 8-6) won its fifth game in a row Saturday, 97-87 at LSU. Freshman guard Josh Hubbard led the Mississippi State offense with a career-high 32 points, becoming the first Bulldog to score 30 in a game since Iverson Molinar’s 30-point performance at Kentucky during the 2021-22 season. Hubbard connected on six of his 12 attempts from three-point range and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Tolu Smith III scored 19 points off the bench and neared a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds. Smith’s efficient 8-for-14 shooting performance helped the Bulldogs to their highest scoring performance in SEC play this season. The Bulldogs shot 46.2 percent from the field, 10-for-21 from three-point range and 17-for-22 from the free-throw line, while defensively they held LSU to 41.4 percent from the field, 3-for-17 from deep and 16-for-22 from the charity stripe.

This season, State has won 14 of their 19 games by 10-plus points. The Maroon and White moved to 15-1 this season and 33-4 over the last two seasons under Coach Chris Jans when leading at the half. State improved to 16-4 this season and 24-5 over the last two seasons with Jans at the helm when scoring 70 or more points.

NCAAB Betting Pick: Mississippi State Bulldogs

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