Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks March 4

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 4, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today March 4

March is officially underway, with the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament kicking off on Monday, while the Sun Belt, Patriot League, and Horizon League conference tournaments are all set to begin on Tuesday. 

For this slate, we will focus on two games featuring ranked teams, including the Duke Blue Devils versus the N.C. State Wolfpack and the Texas Longhorns versus the Baylor Bears. Take a look below at our best college basketball picks for these two games.

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No. 10 Duke @ N.C. State

  • Date: Monday, March 4

  • Time: 7:00 pm EST

  • Moneyline: Duke -245 | N.C. State +200

  • Spread: Duke -6 (-110) | N.C. State +6 (-110)

  • Total: Over 148 (-112) | Under 148 (-108)

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

PICK: Duke -6 (-110)

As the 2023-24 regular season has progressed, we have seen a consistently improving Duke Blue Devils squad, which certainly makes sense given the sheer quantity of games their core player (Kyle Filipowski, Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, and Mark Mitchell) have played together. In fact, three of those four players (Filipowski, Proctor, and Mitchell) could have declared for the 2023 NBA Draft last year and would have almost certainly been drafted. Instead, they opted to return for this season and make another run for a national championship.

Along with those four core guys, the Blue Devils brought in consensus five-star freshman Jared McCain, who is now the team’s third-leading scorer with 13.3 points per game. Even more impressive has been McCain’s efficiency, boasting a shooting split of 46/41/86, which makes him one of the most efficient freshmen in the nation. 

Freshman Caleb Foster and senior Ryan Young also contribute for Duke off the bench, but, for the most part, this Blue Devils squad is top-heavy; they lean on their starters to play most of the minutes and will avoid digging deep into the bench unless it is necessary. This approach has worked out well for Duke, who ranks eighth in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and tenth in the NET rankings. 

Duke is a rock-solid defensive team, ranking 25th in adjD and holding opponents to merely 42.7% shooting from the field and 31.9% from behind the arc; however, it is the offensive end of the floor that has been this team’s bread and butter this season, which is a bit of a contract from the 2022-23 squad. The Blue Devils knock down 38.4% of their three-point attempts, ranking them 11th in the nation in that category. Further, they have the 17th-highest effective field goal nation of any team in college basketball.

Duke’s biggest issue this season hasn’t been talent or health but a lack of consistency. The Blue Devils have merely a 5-3 record in Quad 2 games, which is the worst Quad 2 record of any team currently in the top 20 in the NET rankings. They have been prone to being upset by inferior teams, and while they haven’t lost any Quad 3 or 4 games, dropping bouts to Pittsburgh at home and Georgia Tech and Arkansas on the road are bad losses.

However, the Blue Devils are 10-2 in their 12 games since the home loss against Pitt, with road losses against No. 9 UNC and Wake Forest, who will also be a tough “out” in the NCAA Tournament, being the only shortcomings. Duke is also fresh off back-to-back 25-point beatdowns on Louisville and Virginia.

Duke is one game back of ninth-ranked North Carolina for first place in the ACC standings with just two games left. If the Blue Devils want a chance to clinch at least a share of the ACC regular season title, they must win this game against N.C. State. A home game against the Tar Heels awaits them in their final game. Winning both games will be a tall task for any team, but Duke certainly can pull it off.

Meanwhile, the N.C. State Wolfpack were hovering on the “bubble” for a while but have since dropped off after losing five of their past seven games. N.C. State currently ranks 80th in the NET and 75th in KenPom’s adjEM but would have to win the remainder of its regular season games (at home versus Duke and on the road against Pittsburgh) to put its name back on the bubble, and even then, it still might not be enough. The Wolfpack would likely have to pair those two wins with a huge ACC Tournament run to get a nod from the committee at this point; however, stranger things have happened in college basketball!

Still, Duke is the team to back in this ACC matchup. The Blue Devils are riding a tidal wave of momentum in the past few weeks and have been playing at a high level in that stretch. The same cannot be said for the Wolfpack, who have struggled mightily in the past few weeks. 

N.C. State is not a good shooting team and is one-dimensional on the offensive end, leaning heavily on D.J. Horne to shoulder the weight. Duke does a fantastic job of not only contesting opponents’ shots but also limiting second-chance points (36th in DREB%).

The Wolfpack also have a sub-par three-point defense, which is usually a death sentence when playing against a team like Duke with a handful of players who can stripe it. The Blue Devils rank 11th in 3P% and have three players shooting over 40% from deep this season. N.C. State has done an excellent job of keeping most of its recent games close, but this doesn’t seem like a spot where that is possible.

Follow the link and read our full Duke vs NC State Game preview and Prediction.

Texas @ No. 15 Baylor

  • Date: Monday, March 4

  • Time: 9:00 pm EST

  • Moneyline: Texas +235 | Baylor -290

  • Spread: Texas +7 (-115) | Baylor -7 (-105)

  • Total: Over 145 (-110) | Under 145 (-110)

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

PICK: Baylor -7 (-105)

Baylor has had another fantastic season, boasting a 21-8 overall record and a 10-6 record in Big 12 play. Unfortunately, the Bears can no longer win the Big 12 as they only have two games left in regular season conference play and are three games back of Houston. 

Still, the Bears will be a dangerous team to face in the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA Tournament due to their high-octane offense, which ranks fifth in adjO per KenPom. Further, they rank third in 3P% nationally, hitting 40.4% of their attempts from deep, and 13th in effective field goal percentage!

Scott Drew and the Bears have had a lot of turnover in the past handful of seasons, but they have done a fantastic job of being a balanced program. For example, the Bears snagged RayJ Dennis and Jayden Nunn in the transfer portal, recruited Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter out of high school, and returned Langston Love and Jalen Bridges.

This season, one area of concern for the Bears has been their defensive play. However, they have taken massive steps forward on that end of the floor throughout Big 12 play. Baylor’s defensive rebounding could also stand to improve in the coming weeks leading up to the NCAA Tournament, but the strides this team has already made overall have been promising.

While the Texas Longhorns are already firmly in the field of 64 for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, they can still put together a solid finish to the season to improve their seeding, including a huge road win against a ranked Baylor squad and a deep run in the Big 12 Tournament. 

The Longhorns have not been quite as strong as some predicted before the start of the 2023-24 regular season, but they are still a team capable of winning on any given night due to their top-end firepower, featuring Dylan Disu, Max Abmas, Tyrese Hunter, Dillon Mitchell, and Kadin Shedrick. Abmas and Disu have been particularly impressive, combining to average just shy of 34 points per game. Disu missed several consecutive games due to injury at the beginning of the season but has been sensational in his past 15 outings, averaging nearly 19 points and six rebounds per game on an uber-efficient 51/49/79 shooting split. 

This would be a potential letdown spot for the Baylor Bears had the Longhorns not squeaked out a narrow two-point win earlier in the season. In fact, Texas hit a buzzer-beater to knock off a then-No. 9 Bears squad. Baylor should be hunting for revenge in this game against Texas, and the matchup is quite advantageous for the Bears for several reasons.

First, Baylor shoots the absolute lights out of the ball on its home floor, knocking down 43.3% of its three-point attempts at home. Conversely, Texas is atrocious in defending the arc on the road, allowing opponents to convert just shy of 39% of their threes, making this already a nightmarish matchup.

Additionally, Baylor is an exceptional offensive rebounding team, pulling down 35.4% of its misses at home; the Bears rank 26th nationally in OREB%. Unfortunately, the Longhorns are mediocre on the defensive glass away from Moody. 

Baylor has been able to win four of its past six games (and nearly beat the top-ranked Houston Cougars, too) without Langston Love; however, there is also a chance that he could return on Monday night. If Love plays, the Bears add a 49% three-point shooter in the lineup, further stretching the Longhorns’ defense. We are playing Baylor regardless of Love’s availability, but if he can take the floor, this play is even better.

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Andrew Norton

Sports Betting Analyst

Expertise:
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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.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Arts
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Experience:
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