Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks March 7

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 7, 2024
7 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today March 7

A pair of Pac-12 matchups with conference regular season championship implications headline our Thursday night slate! The Washington Huskies take on rival and 18th-ranked Washington State for an in-state showdown, while the No. 5 Arizona Wildcats hope to grab their 15th conference win against a struggling UCLA squad, moving them one step closer to a Pac-12 regular season championship. Find our best college basketball picks today for the March 7th slate below, including a complete game breakdown and analysis!

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Washington @ No. 18 Washington State

  • Date: Thursday, March 7

  • Time: 9:00 pm EST

  • Moneyline: Washington N/A | Washington State N/A

  • Spread: Washington +6.5 (-112) | Washington State -6.5 (-108)

  • Total: Over 149.5 (-110) | Under 149.5 (-110)

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

PICK: Washington State -6.5 (-108)

Washington State must be kicking itself right now after pulling off a marvelous road upset against the now-No. 5 Arizona Wildcats to secure the tiebreaker against them. All the Cougars needed to do was take care of the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-15, 115th in adjusted efficiency margin) and then win their next three games, which were all at home against low-end Pac-12 teams, including USC, UCLA, and Washington. However, the Cougs couldn’t get past “Step 1,” losing by double-digits to the Sun Devils in typical “letdown game” fashion.

The Cougars are a no-brainer at-large bid for the 2024 NCAA Tournament and will snag at least the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Conference tournament, but they could have locked up a regular-season championship and fell short. Still, there is an outside possibility that the Arizona Wildcats will lose one or their next two games, but it is not very likely considering how much better they are than UCLA and USC. Nonetheless, Wazzu can do its part and beat its in-state rival, Washington, on Thursday night.

Besides the drama atop the Pac-12 Conference standings, Washington State has had a remarkable season, winning 23 of its 30 games thus far—the Cougars rank 39th in the NET rankings and KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin. Wazzu isn’t a powerhouse on either end of the floor by any stretch of the imagination. Still, it rebounds the ball exceptionally well, pulling down 78.4% (16th in the nation) of its opponent’s misses. Interestingly, that number jumps to just shy of 80% (sixth nationally) when the Cougs are on the road. Additionally, Washington State does a terrific job protecting the rim, recording five blocks per game (19th in the country). 

The common denominators of being a good rebounding and rim-protecting team are usually size/length and physicality. And the Cougars certainly have that, rolling out a lineup that features one 6-foot-3 guard (Myles Rice), two 6-foot-8 forwards (Jaylen Wells and Andrej Jakimovski), one 6-foot-9 forward (Isaac Jones), and one 6-foot-11 center (Reuben Chinyelu). 

Few teams have the size that the Cougars have, especially in a starting lineup, which makes them extremely tough to match up with. We saw this happen the last time these two teams battled; Wazzu squeaked out a narrow three-point overtime road win despite a 35-point masterclass performance from Keion Brooks Jr. 

Even though Washington shot 57% from the floor, 40% from three, and hit 17 of its 23 free throws, it still fell short against Wazzu. The main reason for this was the Cougars’ dominance on the O-Glass, as they pulled down 15 offensive rebounds and took 19 more field goal attempts. 

Wazzu has been crashing the offensive glass even harder than in the last game against the Huskies, too, ranking 20th in OREB% (36.5%) nationally over the past three games. Conversely, Washington has been poor at securing opponents’ misses all season. I’ll lay the points with a team with something to play for and a super strong track record (15-1) at home this season. 

No. 5 Arizona @ UCLA

  • Date: Thursday, March 7

  • Time: 9:30 pm EST

  • Moneyline: Arizona N/A | UCLA N/A   

  • Spread: Arizona -9 (-108) | UCLA +9 (-112)

  • Total: Over 147 (-112) | Under 147 (-108)

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

PICK: Arizona -9 (-108)

In a separate article, we have already laid out the fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats’ situation. If they win the remaining two road games in their Pac-12 regular season, they will be the Pac-12 conference champion. However, if the Wildcats lose, they leave the door open for No. 18 Washington State to steal the Pac-12 regular season championship, as the Cougars have the tiebreaker on Arizona, winning both of their matchups this year. This game could be a defining moment in the Wildcats’ season!

Tommy Lloyd has continued the excellence of this Arizona program since being named the head coach in 2021. Lloyd had big shoes to fill when taking over the position from Sean Miller but has met and even exceeded expectations. The fifth-ranked Wildcats are fourth in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and the NET rankings, boasting a 7-3 record in Quad 1 games. Further, they are only one of three teams that ranks in the top 15 in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies. 

Lloyd and the ‘Cats lost a ton of talent from the 2022-23 season, with Azuolas Tubelis, Kerr Kriisa, Courtney Ramey, and Cedric Henderson Jr. all departing. However, the additions of Caleb Love and Keshad Johnson have been enormous; the improvement of Pelle Larsson, Oumar Ballo, and Kylan Boswell has also been paramount in the Wildcats’ success.

Arizona is a physical, athletic, and talented basketball team; it hounds ball handlers, jumps passing lanes, crashes the glass, and knocks down jumpers at an elite level. The Wildcats rank third in total rebounding rate (fifth in DREB% and 13th in OREB%), second in points per game, first in assists per game, 20th in effective field goal percentage, and 49th in opponent turnovers.

Few teams have the physicality, size, determination, and sense of urgency of this Arizona squad, and that fares well for it with the NCAA Tournament around the corner!

On the other hand, the UCLA Bruins have had an incredibly forgettable season. They are currently sixth in the Pac-12 with a 14-15 record overall and a 9-9 record in conference play. Despite being middle-of-the-road in their conference, the Bruins are surprisingly the second-worst team on their home floor (8-6) in the Pac-12. 

In fact, the Bruins rank 326th (out of 362 teams) in the nation in points per game and only score 1.5 more points at home than on the road. UCLA is also one of the rare teams that shoots worse at home, particularly from deep, where it knocks down three-pointers at a 29.8% rate (nearly four percent lower than on the road.) That ranks percentage 332nd nationally for teams on their home floor.

Arizona has much to play for in this game, with the Pac-12 regular season championship on the line. On the other hand, the Bruins are probably about ready to hang it up for the year; they have lost four consecutive games (the second-longest losing streak in the conference) to USC, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. 

It is officially March, so anything can happen, but there is a significant gap between each team’s sense of urgency. Additionally, they have won four straight road games, maturing away from home as the season has progressed.

Lastly, Arizona has been unbelievable on the offensive end of the floor in its past three games, ranking ninth in eFG%, third in points per game, tenth in unadjusted offensive efficiency, and second in assists. We don’t like the Bruins’ chances of keeping up (170th in adjusted offensive efficiency.) Back the Wildcats to take care of business. 

Read the full Arizona vs. UCLA Game Preview and Prediction here!

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Andrew Norton

Sports Betting Analyst

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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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