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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks March 5

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 5, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today Florida Gators

It is finally March! We are merely two weeks away from the First Four games, which will kick off the NCAA Tournament. We have a few marquee matchups for Tuesday night’s slate, including a rivalry game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks and a huge SEC battle featuring the No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. Check out our best college basketball picks for this March 5th slate below!

Kansas State @ No. 14 Kansas

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

PICK: Kansas -10 (-110)

It has been a long time since the Kansas Jayhawks were not ranked in the top ten in the A.P. Poll. In fact, the last time they weren’t ranked in the top ten was three seasons ago! The voters finally decided that the Jayhawks, who are merely 9-7 in the Big 12, might be slightly overrated. Still, this slide in the rankings (and much of their recent struggles in general) can be attributed to missing their leading scorer, Kevin McCullar Jr., for a handful of games. McCullar has been dealing with different injuries that have sidelined him for five games over the past few weeks. In McCullar’s absence, the Jayhawks were without their primary offensive weapon and an incredibly versatile defender.

However, McCullar is back in the lineup for Kansas, giving the Jayhawks a much-needed boost heading into the final 2023-24 regular season games and the Big 12 conference tournament. In his first game back from injury, McCullar posted 20 points and five rebounds back, but Kansas lost to the Baylor Bears in Waco. 

Kansas has the talent to be a title contender again this season but it needs everyone healthy to pull it off. Head coach Bill Self does not like digging deep into his bench, so once it is tournament time, he might only bring two guys off the bench. The core of McCullar, Hunter Dickinson, K.J. Adams, Dajuan Harris Jr., Johnny Furphy, Nicholas Timberlake, and Elmarko Jackson is rock-solid, but the Jayhawks are paper-thin outside those players.

Now, the Kansas Jayhawks are heading back to Allen Fieldhouse for a rivalry game against a middle-of-the-road Kansas State squad that has a top-20 defense (19th in adjusted defensive efficiency) but ranks 147th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The losses of the Wildcats’ top four scorers (Keyontae Johnson, Markquis Nowell, Desi Sills, and Nae’Qwan Tomlin) from last season have been too much to overcome.

Kansas State ranks 277th in three-point percentage this season and only rosters one player (Arthur Kaluma) who shoots over 34.3% from behind the arc. Yikes. While the Wildcats have (mysteriously) shot the lights out in their past three games, they will experience some negative shooting regression sooner or later. If Kansas has one weakness in its otherwise stout defense, it is defending perimeter shooters. Luckily, this should not be much of an issue against K-State. 

Despite the Wildcats’ season-long shooting woes from deep, they only get 47.2% (283rd in the nation) of their total points from two-pointers. This will allow Kansas to defend the Wildcats much closer on the perimeter, as it won’t have to be too concerned with the Wildcats scoring inside the arc, especially with 7-foot-2 Hunter Dickinson patrolling the paint.

This is a perfect revenge spot for the Jayhawks. Kansas lost to Kansas State at the beginning of February by five points in an overtime battle, so this team will want payback in this rivalry game and to prove that they belong in the top ten of the A.P. Poll when they are healthy.

No. 16 Alabama @ Florida

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

PICK: Florida +1 (-110)

Alabama suffered an untimely home loss to the now-No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday. If the Crimson Tide had secured a win against Tennessee, they would have been in solo first place in the SEC standings, holding a one-half-game advantage over Tennessee with just two games left. Unfortunately, that is not how everything played out, and the Crimson Tide now need to win both of their remaining games even to have a shot at the SEC regular season title. The Volunteers still have two challenging games, including a road game against No. 17 South Carolina and a home game versus No. 15 Kentucky, so Alabama does have an outside chance. 

The Crimson Tide have done a phenomenal job replacing lost talent from last year’s squad and playing to their strengths. They lost Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney, Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Bradley, and Charles Bediako, who were five of their top six scorers from the 2022-23 season, but built around Mark Sears and Rylan Griffen, the two key returners, as well as incoming transfers Grant Nelson and Aaron Estrada. Sears has played at an All-American level this season, posting 20.7 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game on a 51/43/86 shooting split. 

Meanwhile, the Florida Gators’ time in the A.P. Poll didn’t last long, as they only played four games as the 24th-ranked team in the country. To be fair, Florida had a few challenging matchups, including two road games against the No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks; it lost both games by just five points. The Gators are also 9-3 in their past 12 games, with a one-point loss to Texas A&M and the two games mentioned above being the only shortcomings in that stretch.

Florida is one of the few teams with the offensive firepower and pace to match the Crimson Tide, which was made apparent by the narrow 98-93 overtime loss in Tuscaloosa. The Gators rank 15th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 30th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom, while Alabama is first and 13th, respectively. This squad is led by a trio of talented offensive players, including Zyon Pullin, Tyrese Samuel, and Walter Clayton Jr. All three combine post roughly 46 points per game.

The combination of Alabama’s three-point shooting (negative) regression and the improvement of Florida’s perimeter defense, particularly on its home floor, where it has held opponents to just 27.9% (15th in the nation), makes this a solid spot to back the Gators. Florida also ranks tenth nationally in total rebounding rate on its home floor, giving it an edge on the glass against the Crimson Tide. Additionally, Alabama struggles on the road (5-4) and against top-tier teams (3-8 in Quad 1.)

Check out our detailed preview of the match between Alabama and Florida.

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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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