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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks February 9

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published February 9, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today February 9

While there are only three games on Friday night’s college basketball slate, two feature ranked teams, and the other is another Mountain West game with significant implications in the conference standings! 

This is just a “pre-game” to Saturday’s “party,” but there is still plenty of fun to be had! Find our best college basketball picks below for the San Jose State versus Colorado State and No. 24 San Diego State versus Nevada games!

No. 24 San Diego State @ Nevada

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PICK: Nevada -1.5 (-108)

As alluded to above, the Mountain West is a log jam at the top of the conference, with four teams boasting a 7-3 record in MWC play, including the San Diego State Aztecs. The other three teams are New Mexico, Utah State, and Boise State, all talented and capable programs with tournament aspirations this season! Lurking in the shadows is 6-4 Colorado State, who is playing San Jose State, the worst team in the MWC, later tonight. 

You know what they say about assuming, but a home game for the Colorado State Rams against the Spartans is as close to surefire as there is in conference play. This means that CSU will likely jump to 7-4 and be right in the mix again, too!

San Diego State is the kind of team that should receive an at-large bid if they finish out the conference season strong and make a deep run in the Mountain West conference tournament. They certainly have an advantage over other MWC teams due to their recent history in March Madness, particularly last season. However, the Aztecs don’t need to leave things to chance, even if they rank 20th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and sit at No. 24 in the A.P. Poll. 

Last season, the Aztecs climbed all the way to the 2023 NCAA Tournament championship game before falling to the No. 4 seed UConn Huskies, who obliterated every team in their way. What should scare opponents is the fact that SDSU brought back quite a bit of talent, including Jaedon LeDee, Micah Parrish, Lamont Butler, Darrion Trammell, and Elijah Saunders. 

Every player has stepped up their game this season, but LeDee, in particular, has been exceptional. He is averaging 20 points and just shy of nine rebounds per game on 55% shooting from the field and 39% from downtown. 

The Aztecs aren’t quite as stout on the defensive end of the floor this season (21st in adjD this season; fourth in adjD last season), but they are leaps and bounds better on offense. San Diego State ranks 44th thus far in the 2023-24 campaign in adjusted offensive efficiency. Even after the Aztecs’ exceptional Final Four run this time last year, they only finished 75th in adjO. 

On the other side, the Nevada Wolf Pack also made the 2023 NCAA Tournament but got bounced by 25 points in the First Four game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils lost their next game in the “Round of 64.”

Nevada came into this season with revenge on its mind and has done a solid job of actualizing that vision. The Wolf Pack are 18-5 so far this season, but they have played the 103rd-hardest schedule (per KenPom’s strength of schedule rating), giving them a more arduous road to get back to the NCAA Tournament, especially with a 5-4 record in Mountain West play right now. 

Here’s the good news: the Wolf Pack have many players back from last season’s team, giving them an edge in the later months of the season, like February and March. Nevada still has Jarod Lucas, Kenan Blackshear, K.J. Hymes, Nick Davidson, and Tre Coleman, five of its top seven scorers from last season. As a matter of fact, Lucas and Blackshear were the top two scorers last year and are once again this season, leading the attack with a combined 33 points per game.

Knocking off No. 22 Utah State on the road and beating Colorado are two strong wins, but they will likely need more than that to have a resume that gets them an at-large bid. This game against the reigning National Championship runner-ups presents an opportunity to add to that resume. A win in this spot also helps the Wolf Pack close the gap on the top teams in the MWC, inching them close to an at-large bid without the sweat of being on the bubble like they are now.

The last time the San Diego State Aztecs and Nevada Wolf Pack faced off, the former team was on their home floor and won by 12 points. Can the Aztecs steal a road win against a Nevada team that has been extremely impressive this season, especially at home?

Short and simple: this is not a spot to back the Aztecs. Nevada has to log this kind of a win if it wants to go dancing again in March, so the sense of urgency will be there. San Diego State has recently been very beatable on the road, dropping three of its past four games away from Viejas.

Nevada also turns into a three-point shooting juggernaut on its home floor, nailing more than 39% of its attempts, which puts it at 47th in the nation. On the other hand, the Aztecs have let their past three opponents knock down roughly 36% of their three-pointers, which is not an excellent trend for such a defensive-centric squad.

Look for a Wolf Pack win at home.

San Jose State @ Colorado State

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. Head over to DraftKings Sportsbook to place your bets.

PICK: Colorado State -17 (-110)

The Colorado State Rams might be unranked (currently), but they are one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the Mountain West Conference and the entire nation. Colorado State sits at 21st in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric behind the eighth-highest effective field goal percentage, 35th-fewest turnovers per game, and 33rd-highest free-throw percentage nationally. 

The Rams are not a fast team but, rather, an effective team behind their top four players, Isaiah Stevens, Nique Clifford, Joel Scott, and Patrick Cartier. Stevens leads the charge for this efficient offense, posting 16.6 points, 7.3 assists, and three rebounds per game on 49% shooting from the floor, 46% shooting from behind the arc, and 80% shooting from the free-throw line; he is amongst the most efficient players in the nation! 

When adding in Stevens’ passing ability, it is easy to see how the Rams can put a lot of points up on any given night. If a few players avoid taking non-wide-open three-pointers (Jalen Lake and Josiah Strong), this team instantly becomes one of the better three-point shooting teams. They are not far from being a really, really tough team to beat.

Additionally, Colorado State has had some fantastic wins this season, including against Colorado (28th in KenPom’s adjEM), No. 19 Creighton, No. 25 New Mexico, and No. 24 San Diego State. The Rams also narrowly lost (five points) to No. 22 Utah State on the road!

CSU has been rock solid on its home floor, winning 12 of its 13 games. The only blip was an early-season three-point home loss to Saint Mary’s (26th in adjEM, 13th in adjD).

Despite the Rams’ success at home, they have not been blowing out teams at Moby Arena. Will they be able to cover a massive 17-point spread against San Jose State, a team that has been morbidly poor this year?

San Jose State is last in the Mountain West, with a 1-9 conference record. The Spartans’ only conference win came on the road against Air Force, another team with a 1-9 record in MWC play. Yikes. Still, San Jose State has put together some competitive outings against Wyoming, San Diego State, and Fresno State. Nonetheless, this season, the Spartans are 3-6 against the spread as a road team.

We will back the Rams in this spot, and there are a few obvious reasons. For one, the Spartans are amongst the worst defensive teams in the nation, ranking 298th (out of 362) in adjusted defensive efficiency. They have allowed the 56th-most points to opponents nationally in their past three games on a 49/44 shooting split. Several of the teams that have allowed more points in that stretch have played in overtime games. In those three games, the Spartans had two road games and got beat by 30 and 21 points by teams (Utah State and Nevada) similar in talent to Colorado State. However, the Rams are even better offensively. 

Lastly, the Spartans have ranked 330th in the nation in total rebounding rate over their past three games. Even though Colorado State is not a solid rebounding team, especially on the offensive glass, it could have some opportunities for second-chance points. This is just a blowout spot here.

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Andrew Norton

117 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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