Get college basketball best bets for the 3/1/23 slate, featuring best bets for Pitt Vs. Notre Dame, Maryland Vs. Ohio State, and Fordham Vs. George Mason.
College Basketball Best Bets (3/1/23)
It’s officially March today, and I’m stoked to be bringing some college basketball content to the Lineups site. I’ll have best bets for you most days for the rest of the month, and I’ll be tracking my plays on Twitter for the community. With conference tournaments and the big dance right around the corner, it’s an incredibly exciting time of year. Let’s get to work.
Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
It’s been a tough year for Mike Brey in his final season as Notre Dame’s head coach. The Irish sit second to last place in the ACC with a dreadful 2-16 conference record. It’s been an uncharacteristically poor year for Brey as he’s the Irish’s winningest head coach of all time.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame’s opponent is on the other end of the spectrum. Pitt sits atop the ACC with a 14-4 conference record and can clinch at least a share in the ACC regular season championship with a win in this game. They can also clinch a double bye and immediate entry into the quarter finals of the ACC tournament.
These teams are much closer in terms of overall quality than their records indicate. According to ShotQuality, Notre Dame has an adjusted luck rating of +16.51 and Pitt is at -12.81. That results in the Irish being the site’s 94th-ranked team while Pitt is ranked 72nd.
Notre Dame ranks dead last in the ACC with just a 31.2% three-point shooting clip, but they’ve been incredibly unlucky in that respect. The Irish rank 15th in ShotQuality spacing, and 2nd in catch-and-shoot 3-point points per possession, so they should be due for some positive regression in their three-point shooting.
Pittsburgh’s defense could provide the matchup to facilitate that positive regression. The Panthers rank just 101st in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency and 142nd in half-court points per possession allowed per ShotQuality.
Despite the brutal season for Notre Dame, they’ve kept almost every game close. Eight of their 16 conference losses have come by 5 points or less. There hasn’t been any indication that they’re throwing in the towel, and since all 15 teams make the conference tournament, their season isn’t fully done yet.
In Brey’s last home game after 23 years as head coach, the atmosphere should be electric. Pitt is saddled with all of the pressure with the conference title up for grabs, and the Irish will be playing loose and free. ShotQuality expects a 2.1-point Irish win here, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they do pull off the upset.
Best Bet: Notre Dame +4.5 (play to +3)
Maryland Terrapins at Ohio State Buckeyes
It’s been a mostly dreadful season for Chris Holtman’s Buckeyes. They were considered a real threat to win the conference before the season, but sitting at 12-17, things haven’t gone according to plan. They are, however, coming off a big win over Illinois that helped them overcome a miserable nine-game losing streak.
The Buckeyes have been unlucky this year, and they rank dead last in KenPom’s luck rating. ShotQuality has six of their losses graded as expected wins based on shot selection for them and their opponents. The site also has them projected with a 15-14 record rather than 12-17 based on their overall play.
Despite their poor record, Ohio State still ranks 28th in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom and 56th per Haslametrics. Their shot selection still leaves something to be desired – they rank ninth in ratio of mid-range attempts – but that can be a strength against a Maryland defense that ranks just 121st in points per possession allowed in midrange per ShotQuality.
Ohio State also ranks just 249th in pace of play. That helps them rank 50th in turnover rate and 37th in transition points per possession allowed. That spells trouble for a Maryland offense somewhat dependent on scoring in transition – ShotQuality has them ranked 56th in points per possession in transition versus 148th in the half court.
Maryland has evolved into one of the top teams in the Big Ten, and they’re coming off a 16-point smackdown of what had been a surging Northwestern team. However, they’ve been a completely different team on the road. The Terrapins have gone 16-1 at home and 2-7 on the road, giving them one of the most drastic splits in the country.
I might be the only person still willing to buy in on this Ohio State team, but I like the Buckeyes to capitalize on some expected positive regression and make it two wins in a row here. Add in the letdown spot for Maryland off their massive win over Northwestern and this is a great spot to back OSU.
Best Bet: Ohio State +2 (play to pick ‘em)
Fordham Rams at George Mason Patriots
Fordham has roared to a 23-6 record this season, but their offense does not hold up well in advanced metrics. The Rams rank outside the top 250 in half-court offensive points per possession per ShotQuality, and they rank outside the top 350 in catch & shoot 3-point and midrange points per possession.
It isn’t just ShotQuality, either – Fordham ranks 135th on Haslametrics and 207th on KenPom in overall offensive efficiency. George Mason, meanwhile, ranks inside the top 115 in defensive efficiency on both sites.
Despite that poor offense, Fordham sits at 23-6 with the best overall record in the Atlantic 10. They’ve been incredibly fortunate to get to that point as they rank second in KenPom’s luck metric and have won eight games by five or fewer points. ShotQuality has them with a massive -19.26 in record luck and an expected record of 17-12.
George Mason has an excellent defense that ranks 7th in half court points per possession allowed per ShotQuality. They’re also 9th in finishing at the rim and 4th in pick and roll ball screen points per possession allowed. Forward Josh Oduro deserves a ton of credit as the quarterback of the defense in addition to being the team’s leading scorer.
The Patriots have been outstanding at home this season as they have gone 13-2 straight up inside the friendly confines of EagleBank Arena. Wednesday night is the team’s Senior Night, and five of their six leading scorers are seniors. Expect this experienced group to win another game at home on Wednesday.
Best Bet: George Mason -3.5 (play to -4.5)