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NCAAB Update: Battle for Last No. 1 Seed

Houston Moves to No. 1 in AP Poll

With the regular season winding down, the big question is which team will join Purdue, UConn and Houston as a No. 1 seed when the March Madness bracket is announced. Defending national champion UConn continues to lead the way in our NCAA basketball odds.

Houston is leading the Big 12, Purdue is a win away from the Big Ten title while Tennessee in the SEC and Arizona in the Pac-12 can win regular-season conference titles by winning out this week.

NCAAB Update: Battle for Last No. 1 Seed
RJ Davis #4 of the North Carolina Tar Heels | Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

When looking at our college basketball betting lines for Monday, Duke is a 6½-point favorite against host North Carolina State and Baylor is favored against Texas.

James Madison leads all Division I men’s teams with a 28-3 record while UConn, Purdue, Houston, Princeton and McNeese State are other three-loss teams. Minnesota leads the way with a 24-5 record against Las Vegas odds.

UConn (+500), Houston (+700), and Purdue (+750) lead the way in our odds of winning March Madness. Tennessee (+1200), Arizona (+1200) and North Carolina (+2000) are other top contenders. Houston and Purdue remain first and second in the NCAA NET rankings while UConn, Arizona and Tennessee round out the top five.

Conference Titles on the Line

The ACC regular-season title is still up for grabs. North Carolina leads Duke by a game in the standings with two games left for both teams.

Duke is a 6½-point favorite according to the BetUS sportsbook going into Monday’s game at North Carolina State, and the Blue Devils can keep their title hopes alive with a win.

North Carolina welcomes a 12-17 Notre Dame team to town on Tuesday.

If Duke and North Carolina take care of business, Duke plays host to North Carolina with a chance to earn a share of the ACC regular-season title.

Purdue has earned at least a share of the Big Ten crown and can win the title outright by either beating Illinois on Tuesday or Wisconsin on Sunday.

A win by Illinois on Tuesday would keep the Fighting Illini in contention for the Big Ten title going into the weekend.

In the Big 12, Houston leads Iowa State by a game with two games left for both teams. Will Houston need to beat Kansas on Saturday to win the title outright?

Washington State swept two games from Arizona so the Cougars look to top rival Washington in the final regular-season game as Pac-12 rivals to put the pressure on Arizona.

A win by Washington State would mean that Arizona would need to sweep the games against USC and UCLA to earn the top seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

Tennessee will end the regular season with four straight games against ranked opponents.

Wins over South Carolina and Kentucky will give the crown to Tennessee.

There is no such drama in the Big East as UConn has already wrapped up the outright regular-season title with games remaining against Marquette and Providence.

A Look at Some Bad Beats

There were more double-digit favorites that not only failed to cover against the Las Vegas NCAAB odds last week but also lost the game outright.

The biggest upset during the week was UTSA going into SMU and winning 77-73 as a 17-point underdog.

Northern Illinois was a 15-point favorite when the Huskies visited Toledo and came away with the 75-72 win.

Vanderbilt, a 10½-point underdog, won 85-82 at Arkansas on Tuesday. Lindenwood, ranging from the 10-11 point underdogs, won 67-63 at Southern Indiana.

It was looking like Saturday’s Minnesota-Penn State game would become a push when Minnesota’s Mike Mitchell hit a pair of free throws to put his team, a seven-point favorite, ahead 75-68. Penn State’s Nick Kern‘s buzzer-beating layup allowed the visiting Nittany Lions to cover.

Tennessee got a pair of free throws from Zakai Zeigler with 37 seconds left to play as the Volunteers covered as 6½-point favorites with a 92-84 win over Auburn on Thursday.

Rutgers was down by 11 points in the final minute and missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final 16 seconds to enable Nebraska to cover as 9.5-point favorites in a 67-56 win.

A Look at the Polls

No. 1 Houston picked up 52 first-place votes to remain at No. 1. UConn moved ahead of Purdue and into the No. 2 slot with the Huskies picking up six first-place votes. No. 3 Purdue received the other four No. 1 votes. Tennessee remained at No. 4 while Arizona moved up a spot to No. 5 followed by Iowa State at No. 6.


Marquette dropped three spots to No. 8 heading into a huge matchup with UConn.

No. 11 Baylor and No. 18 Gonzaga each moved up four positions while Kansas went from seventh to 14th.

Game of the Week

No. 7 North Carolina vs No. 9 Duke

  • Saturday, March 9, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

 

There are plenty of options with UConn and Marquette squaring off and the Big 12 featuring a matchup between Kansas and first-place Houston, the top-ranked team in the national polls. However, the ACC title could be on the line when perhaps the best rivalry in men’s college basketball is renewed.

If the Blue Devils and Tar Heels take care of business earlier in the week against unranked opponents, Duke heads into the matchup with North Carolina trailing the Tar Heels by one game in the ACC standings.

Player of the Week

RJ Davis, North Carolina

There have been some tremendous players to have stepped foot inside the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. None ever scored more points in a game than North Carolina’s RJ Davis, who lit up Miami for 42 points in a four-point win.

Davis followed that up with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a win over North Carolina State as the Tar Heels remained in first place in the ACC standings.

Team of the Week

Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee took over sole possession of first place in the SEC standings with a 92-84 win over No. 11 Auburn behind 39 points from Dalton Knecht and before rallying from a seven-point deficit to win at Alabama.

Zakai Zeigler led the Volunteers with 18 points and four assists in the 81-74 win as Tennessee extended its winning streak to six games/ Tennessee won its fourth and fifth games this season against ranked teams.

Nationally Televised Matchups Featuring Top-10 Teams

  • No. 9 Duke at North Carolina State, Monday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Notre Dame at No. 7 North Carolina, Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
  • No. 4 Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina, Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • No. 2 UConn at No. 8 Marquette, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • No. 5 Arizona at UCLA, Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • No. 6 Iowa State at Kansas State, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • No. 10 Creighton at Villanova, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • No. 1 Houston at No. 14 Kansas, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • No. 15 Kentucky at No. 4 Tennessee, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • No. 8 Marquette at Xavier, Saturday, 5 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • No. 7 North Carolina at No. 9 Duke, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • No. 2 UConn at No. Providence, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • No. 5 Arizona at USC, Saturday, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Wisconsin at No. 3 Purdue, Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET (FOX)

 

 

Questions Of The Day

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No. 9 Duke hits the road to meet North Carolina State with No. 11 Baylor at home to face Texas.

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Minnesota is 24-5 against the spread this season while Georgia Tech and UNLV are 4-0 against Las Vegas NCAA basketball odds when facing ranked opponents.

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