College Basketball Computer Picks for February 26: TCU Is Too Tough at Home

Author:
Oddstrader

As always, we take a look at today’s college basketball odds, where I found three games that interest me as worth investing in: West Virginia vs. Kansas State, Miami vs. North Carolina, and Baylor vs. TCU.

For your best bets, I will recommend investing in West Virginia-Kansas State “over,” North Carolina, and TCU.

My recommendations are backed by OddsTrader’s computer AI and by my handicapping.

Picks Summary

  • West Virginia-Kansas State Over 142.5 (-110)
  • North Carolina -14 (-110)
  • TCU -2.5 (-110)

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Kansas State Wildcats

Monday, February 26, 2024 – 07:00 PM ET at Bramlage Coliseum


Our computers project a high-scoring game in which the “over” hits, and I agree.

Kansas State’s Offense

On offense, the Wildcats primarily want to shoot three-pointers. Given this preference, they are most comfortable against teams that do a poor job of defending the three-point line.

In their last game, it is no coincidence that the team against which they scored 84 points ranks twelfth in their conference at limiting opposing three-point percentage.

West Virginia’s Exploitable Perimeter Defense

Stylistically, the way that West Virginia plays defense will suit K-State. The Mountaineers are particularly inclined to use their defenders to defend the paint by positioning them near the basket.

Largely as a result of this positional tendency, the Mountaineers rank 13th in their conference at limiting opposing three-point attempts.

There are other reasons why they are bad at running teams off the three-point line. For example, they also struggle to fight through screens.  The Wildcats will find that West Virginia’s perimeter defense is easily exploitable. Expect a lot of screens and drive-and-kick actions from K-State.

Inside Scoring

Its proclivity to shoot a lot of threes notwithstanding, Kansas State is at its best when it tries to score inside. Fortunately for the Wildcats, West Virginia is one of the worst teams in their conference at limiting two-point scoring efficiency.

K-State will use its prowess from long range to maximize its inside scoring, as will be evident in Arthur Kaluma’s strong pump fake. Cam Carter is another example of a K-State player who ably drives to the basket and is tough to stop.

West Virginia’s Offense

The Mountaineers will not need to score a lot in order for the “over” to hit.

Kansas State has allowed 70+ points in eight of its last nine games. This just isn’t a team that tends to shut down opposing offenses when they score a lot of points.

West Virginia is one of the conference’s most efficient teams from behind the arc, and they are actually a tiny bit more efficient on the road than at home.

NCAAB Pick: Over 142.5 (-110) at Bet365


Miami Hurricanes vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

Monday, February 26, 2024 – 07:00 PM ET at Dean E. Smith Center


Our computers project a blowout win for the Tar Heels, and I agree. I foresee North Carolina winning this game by 20 or more points.

North Carolina’s Scoring Prowess

In order for the Tar Heels to cover the spread, they’ll have to score a ton of points, and as evident when they recently almost dropped 100 points on Virginia Tech, this is a team that is capable of scoring a lot of points. This capability makes betting on them as strong favorites uniquely palatable.

Overall, they rank 21st nationally with just over 80 points per game.

Miami’s Perimeter Defense

Miami is a team against which the Tar Heels can easily explode offensively. Among other things, the Hurricanes’ perimeter defense is terrible: in their last game, the Hurricanes allowed Georgia Tech of all teams to make 15 three-pointers.

This is par for the course for a Miami team that ranks last in the ACC at limiting opposing three-point attempts and 13th in their conference at limiting opposing three-point efficiency.

Largely due to their porous perimeter defense, the Hurricanes have allowed 80 or more points in three straight games, with Boston College and even Georgia Tech perpetuating this trend.

North Carolina’s Key Scorers

The Tar Heels have one of the nation’s most potent offensive attacks largely due to their vibrant guard play.

RJ Davis is a playmaker who will make things happen by himself. He is also one of UNC’s three very dangerous shooters; while he converts 39.9% of his three-point opportunities, Harrison Ingram converts 40.3% of them.

Moreover, Cormac Ryan is heating up from deep: he has made 40% or more of his three-point opportunities in four straight games.

Thus, UNC has plenty of weapons with which to attack Miami’s perimeter defense. These weapons will complement the tough inside scoring of future NBA player Armando Bacot.

Miami’s Offensive Outlook

The Hurricanes regularly struggle to a significant extent against the ACC’s stronger defenses. In addition to being blown out by Duke, they mustered 38 points in a big loss to Virginia.

North Carolina has their conference’s most efficient defense, meaning that its defense has the sort of quality that will bother Miami’s insufficient offensive attack.

Video footage shows that UNC’s defenders recover well to shooters while still managing to harass ball-handlers as they penetrate inside.

The First Meeting

Skeptics will say that the first meeting between these two teams was close, so why will the second one be a blowout?

In that first game, the Tar Heels held a 68-56 lead before taking their foot off the gas pedal. Because that first meeting wound up so close, you can expect North Carolina to remain motivated until the very end.

NCAAB Pick: North Carolina -14 (-110) at Bet365


Baylor Bears vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Monday, February 26, 2024 – 09:00 PM ET at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena


Our computers indicate that TCU will win by enough points to cover the spread. I agree with this projection and find that you should play the Horned Frogs.

Baylor on the Road

Baylor is an unreliable team on the road unless the opponent is a bottom-feeder in its conference.

On the road, Baylor has beaten West Virginia, UCF and Oklahoma State, three teams that rank bottom-three in the Big 12 standings.

The Bears’ outlook is negative today because TCU is anything but a Big 12 bottom-feeder. The Horned Frogs rank fourth in the conference.

TCU’s Pressure

Largely relying on their physicality, the Horned Frogs will thrive tonight with the pressure defense that makes them one of the nation’s top teams at forcing turnovers.

Baylor’s point guard RayJ Dennis turns the ball over a lot, making him the sort of player who will struggle against TCU’s defense.

On defense, the Horned Frogs respond aggressively to screens. They will compel ball-handlers to make difficult cross-court passes that they will intercept. If such a pass does arrive, it will take so long to do so that it will be easy for the nearest TCU defender to close down on the recipient of the pass.

TCU’s ball-screen defense and ability to rotate and recover on defense make it strong at guarding the perimeter. Its strong perimeter defense will negate Baylor’s strength on offense – the Bears want to rely on making a lot of threes but will be unable to do so against a TCU defense that will keep them out of rhythm.

TCU’s Offensive Movement

On offense, the Horned Frogs feature constant ball movement and repeated off-ball screening actions that they use to free up players.

Baylor has one of the worst defenses in the conference. It has trouble staying engaged defensively, so TCU will use its constant movement to find exploitable spaces both inside and behind the arc.

Of course, the Horned Frogs will supplement their half-court offense with points in transition that they create by forcing turnovers.

NCAAB Pick: TCU -2.5 (-110) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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