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Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – February 12th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

Not too long ago, Kentucky looked like a legitimate Final Four threat, but the Cats all of a sudden can’t win at home as they were upset there on Saturday by Gonzaga and have dropped three straight at Rupp Arena for the first time since it opened in 1976. Kentucky hadn’t lost three in a row at home since the 1966-67 season, when it played at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats are next in action Tuesday at home vs. Ole Miss. Here’s a look at two other intriguing early-week matchups.

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week (February 12th, 2024)

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

  • When: Monday, February 12th, 2024, 9:00 PM ET
  • Where: United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, TX
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: KKSW FM 105.9 (Kansas) // Double T 97.3 FM (Texas Tech)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Kansas (+2.5) // Texas Tech (-2.5)

Big 12 matchup is the second game of an ESPN Big Monday doubleheader. Houston leads the Big 12 with an 8-3 league record but both Kansas at 7-4 and Texas Tech at 6-4 are still in the running. This is the only scheduled meeting between the schools. Last year, Kansas was 2-0 in the series but both were very close.

Kansas (19-5) beat No. 13 Baylor on Saturday, 64-61, its 18th straight home victory. Baylor got the ball with 14.2 seconds left and a chance to tie it, but Jayden Nunn’s three-point try from the corner was short. After Nicolas Timberlake missed the front end of a one-and-one, Ja’Kobe Walter’s three-point attempt caromed off the rim.

“I was hoping the game was slow, which it was,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I was hoping the game was ugly and muddy, which it was, in large part because they turned it over and in large part because we couldn’t make shots.”

Star Hunter Dickinson had team highs of 15 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes. Dickinson has scored in double figures in 23 of 24 games this season. Dajuan Harris Jr. contributed 14 points, five assists and two steals in 36 minutes. Kansas is 31-2 when Harris scores at least 10 points. KJ Adams Jr. posted 13 points on 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) shooting, four rebounds, two assists and three steals in 36 minutes. Adams has finished in double figures in 11-straight contests. Johnny Furphy added 11 points on a perfect 7-of-7 clip from the free throw line, five rebounds and a career-high six steals. Those were the most steals by a Kansas freshman since Xavier Henry had seven steals on Jan. 20, 2010 vs. Baylor.

Kansas swiped 17 steals against Baylor, the most by KU in a conference game since Jan. 27, 2007 vs. Colorado (19). Kansas has posted six wins against AP Top 25 teams this season. That is tied for the most in the country (Purdue). Kansas has won 70-straight games in Allen Fieldhouse when leading at the half, dating back to the beginning of the 2018-19 season. KU improved to 122-55 in games decided by five points or fewer or overtime under Self.

Texas Tech (17-6) snapped a three-game skid Saturday with a 66-59 home win over UCF. The Red Raiders never trailed in their first-ever meeting against the Knights and improved to 12-1 at home after finishing the game on an 8-2 run. Tech, which snapped a three-game losing streak, finished the game with a 44-37 rebounding advantage and shot 13-for-15 from the free-throw line – led by Joe Toussaint who was 6-for-6 at the line. UCF had cut the game to one with 2:07 remaining before a Darrion Williams jumper at the free-throw line pushed the lead to 60-57. In the final 41 seconds, Toussaint would make four free throws and Chance McMillian two more to close out the win.

Williams had 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Warren Washington, after missing Texas Tech’s previous game because of illness, had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“It wasn’t the most ‘pleasing to the eye’ game,” Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland said. “Obviously, offensively there were times where I thought we did good things. We struggled, give them credit, UCF’s defense is one of the best in the country. But man, it’s fun to win a game with defense. We haven’t been doing that very well. To be able to not play well offensively and to out-rebound a team that going into the game we knew would be difficult to keep them off the glass. The fact that we found a way to win this game, got to the free throw line – we made more free throws than they attempted.”

Tech is currently 3-3 against ranked opponents this season and will be looking for its first top-10 win of the season and first since a home win last season against No. 6 Texas. Kansas leads the all-time series by a 43-7 margin, including a 17-6 record in Lubbock. The Jayhawks are currently on a four-game winning streak in the series and have won eight of the last 10.

NCAAB Betting Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Syracuse Orange

  • When: Tuesday, February 13th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: 97.9 The Hill WCHL (North Carolina) // Classic Rock 99.5 (Syracuse)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: TBA

ACC game on ESPN with North Carolina atop the league at 11-2 in ACC play. Syracuse is an NCAA Tournament bubble team at 15-9 overall and 6-7 in the ACC and could really use an upset for its resume. The Heels trounced the Orange 103-67 on Jan. 13 in Chapel Hill. RJ Davis scored 22 points, Armando Bacot added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Harrison Ingram had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Tar Heels pulled away from Syracuse with a 34-11 run over a stretch of about 11 minutes midway through the first half. While the Orange shot 2 of 15 from the floor and had seven turnovers during that span, Davis scored 10 points for the Tar Heels, which pushed UNC’s lead to 27 points.

“They played with a lot of emotion. I was really proud of their effort,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. “We talked about dominating points in the paint. As good as Syracuse is, they’re limited in the front court, and so, we wanted to get the ball inside.”

UNC (19-5) is 2-2 in its past four games following a 75-72 win at Miami on Saturday. The Tar Heels roared out of the locker room to lead 15-4. 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 scored 25 points, hitting five three-pointers and adding seven rebounds and five assists. Elliot Cadeau scored a season-high 19 points while also dishing out eight assists in a career-high 35 minutes. Bacot tallied 10 points and 15 boards, and Ingram chipped in 13 points. Miami entered the game fourth in the ACC in three-point accuracy at 37.1 percent, but the Tar Heel defense limited the Hurricanes to 6 for 23 from long range on the day (26.1 percent).

The game was Bacot’s 156th as a Tar Heel, breaking Leaky Black’s UNC career record for games played. It was his 155th start, also a Carolina record. Deon Thompson played the most games in a four-year career (152). Bacot passed Tim Duncan for third in ACC history in rebounding. Bacot has 1,581 boards in his four-plus seasons in Chapel Hill. With his two blocked shots, Bacot became the first Tar Heel to have 2,000 points, 1,500 rebounds, 200 blocks, and 100 steals in a career.

Carolina is 6-1 on the road this season, all in ACC action. Saturday’s win in Coral Gables clinched the Tar Heels’ 44th winning season on the road in 71 years of ACC play.

Syracuse lost for the fourth time in six games Saturday, 77-68 vs. Clemson. JJ Starling’s contested jumper tied the game at 60-60 with 3:37 left after the Orange had trailed by 15 in the first half and as many as 11 in the second half. The Tigers responded to Starling’s basket with seven straight points and maintained at least a five-point advantage the rest of the game. Four Orange performers scored in double-figures, led by 16 each from sophomore forward Chris Bell and sophomore guard Starling. The Orange defense forced Clemson into a season-high 21 turnovers.

NCAAB Betting Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels

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