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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks February 28

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published February 28, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Picks Today February 28

Wednesday night’s slate features some top-notch Big East action, including a game between the Providence Friars and No. 5 Marquette Golden Eagles and a bout between the Seton Hall Pirates and No. 12 Creighton Bluejays. While none of these teams will catch the UConn Huskies for first place in the Big East with just three games left in the regular season, they can better their positioning for the Big East Tournament and their resume for the NCAA Tournament! Find our best college basketball picks for these two Big East bouts below!

Seton Hall @ No. 12 Creighton

All odds are available via DraftKings Sportsbook but are subject to change.

PICK: Creighton -8.5 (-110)

In typical college basketball fashion, the 12th-ranked Creighton Bluejays handed top-ranked UConn just its second Big East loss last Tuesday but followed it up with a double-digit road loss to St. John’s. While the Red Storm are a talented squad, led by returner Joel Soriano, former Iona guard Daniss Jenkins, and standout Ivy League transfers Chris Ledlum and Jordan Dingle, they should not be blowing out Creighton, especially with as much drama as there has been around that program.

The Bluejays (20-8) are one of the most interesting teams in college basketball, as their roster is filled with talent, shooting, and defense; however, the moment they have to go deeper than their sixth or seventh man, the wheels tend to fall off. Head coach Greg McDermott loves to live and die by a top-heavy roster, which nearly got them to the Final Four last season, if not for an objectively lousy call at the end of their Elite Eight game. In fact, Creighton only has six players who log more than ten minutes per game, including Baylor Scheierman, Trey Alexander, Ryan Kalkbrenner, Steven Ashworth, Mason Miller, and Francisco Farabello.

Scheierman, Alexander, and Kalkbrenner make up the proverbial three-headed offensive monster, averaging a combined 53 points per game for Creighton; however, Ashworth has stepped up recently, averaging roughly 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game on a 46/41/86 shooting split in his past eight games. Ashworth’s shooting and playmaking will be paramount for this Bluejays team to make a deep postseason run.

Creighton’s offense revolves around open threes and layups, which have become two of the most important shots in basketball. The Bluejays rank second in adjusted offensive shot quality (per ShotQuality), fourth in effective field goal percentage, third in two-point percentage, and seventh in three-pointers attempted per game. The story matches the numbers, as Creighton only shoots high-percentage shots around the rim and open three-pointers.

Defensively, this team is also far from being a pushover; they rank 23rd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric and 15th in opponent effective field goal percentage. The Bluejays don’t force turnovers or pressure the ball hard, but they are rock-solid on that end of the floor.

The Seton Hall Pirates (18-9, 11-5 in Big East) have quietly strung together five wins in their past six games after dropping three consecutive bouts to Creighton, Providence, and Marquette. The Pirates are one of four or five teams in the Big East currently on the “bubble” for the NCAA Tournament, leaving little room for error in their final four games. Two of those four games come on the road against ranked opponents, including this battle against 12th-ranked Creighton and a road matchup versus No. 1 UConn right after. 

Seton Hall sits at 55th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and 61st in the NET Rankings, with 5-5 Quad 1 and 3-2 Quad 2 records. The Pirates’ five Quad 1 wins could be the difference between them sneaking into the “Big Dance” or not, but adding another one on the road against No. 12 Creighton could not hurt.

The last time these two teams faced off, Creighton snuck away with a road win in a triple-overtime thriller. Will the Pirates keep this game close, too? 

Not likely. The Pirates rank 323rd in opponent three-point attempts per game. Further, they allow opponents to shoot just shy of 38% of those attempts on the road. That is not conducive to beating Creighton on its home floor. The Bluejays have knocked down over 38% of their 29.2 (seventh in the nation) threes per game at CHI Health Center, making this an extremely challenging matchup for Seton Hall.

Lastly, the Pirates’ offensive output plunges on the road, scoring 11 fewer points per game on an eFG% of 47.5%. Seton Hall will struggle to put enough points on the board to keep this game within striking distance.

Providence @ No. 5 Marquette

All odds are available via DraftKings Sportsbook but are subject to change.

PICK: Providence +10.5 (-110)

As mentioned above, no team is catching the UConn Huskies at this point in the season. Marquette’s hopes of repeating as both Big East regular season and tournament champions for the second consecutive season will not come to fruition; however, the Golden Eagles still have a shot at winning the Big East tournament and making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament that follows!

Marquette brought back virtually every player from last season’s group, except for Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who declared for the 2023 NBA Draft and was selected in the first round. That means that Tyler Kolek, Kam Jones, Oso Ighodaro, David Joplin, Stevie Mitchell, Chase Ross, Sean Jones, and Ben Gold all returned to Marquette to make one more run at greatness. Very few teams in the nation could nearly copy and paste their roster from the 2022-23 campaign, but the Golden Eagles were one of them.

The 2023-24 regular season didn’t start as smoothly as most projected, though. Marquette dropped early-season games to Purdue, Wisconsin, Providence, Butler, and Seton Hall, giving it an 11-5 record through its first 16 games. However, the Golden Eagles have been marvelous recently, winning ten of their past 11 games, with a blowout road loss to now-No. 3 UConn being the sole loss in that stretch!

Marquette has a top-25 offense and defense in the nation and is one of the more well-balanced teams, rostering three players (Kolek, Jones, and Ighodaro) who are all capable of being the primary option for the offense on any night. Additionally, the Golden Eagles rank sixth in adjusted offensive shot quality (per ShotQuality), evidencing their efficiency on that end of the floor. They are an extremely tough team to gameplan for as an opponent.

Unfortunately, Providence has that task on Wednesday night. The Friars have not had the season they would have liked, primarily due to an injury to Bryce Hopkins, one of their best players. Hopkins was the team’s leading scorer last season and would have undoubtedly been the perfect complement to Devin Carter, the Friars’ other superstar player.

Carter has undoubtedly played himself into the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft due to his tantalizing scoring ability and rock-solid all-around game. In fact, Carter has averaged just shy of 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three “stocks” (steals and blocks) per game on 48% shooting from the floor and 40% from deep. Josh Oduro has been another massive piece of the puzzle for the Friars, posting close to 17 points and seven rebounds on 56% shooting. Thinking about how good this Providence team could have been with Hopkins’s health is heartbreaking.

Outside of Oduro and Carter, the Friars struggle mightily on the offensive end of the floor, ranking just 120th in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom. Luckily, their 18th-ranked defense often saves the day for this “bubble” team; they allow the 64th fewest points per game to opponents on the 25th-lowest eFG%.

But can the Friars’ defense play well enough to keep this game against a surging Marquette squad at a single-digit deficit? We like their odds in this spot.

Providence has been highly competitive recently, winning four of its past five games, with a three-point road loss to Butler being the only shortcoming in that stretch. The Friars beat Creighton, DePaul, and St. John’s at home and snuck by Xavier on the road. Additionally, they only lost to the Huskies by nine points at Gampel Pavilion a few games before the start of their hot streak, which is undoubtedly an exceptional feat.

Providence has been a solid road team all season, at least as far as covering the spread; it has a 7-2 record ATS as an away team during the 2023-24 campaign. Ultimately, the Friars have something to play for: their NCAA Tournament lives. With a road win against a top-five opponent, Providence would all but punch its ticket to the “Big Dance.” Marquette will likely win, but a motivated Devin Carter could keep it close.

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Andrew Norton

148 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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