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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks March 11

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 11, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today March 11

We are less than one week away from “Selection Sunday” and just eight days away from the “First Four” games, which will kick off the NCAA Tournament!

For Monday’s slate, we have some West Coast Conference action. Four teams remain in the WCC Tournament, including the Santa Clara Broncos, the No. 23 Saint Mary’s Gaels, the San Francisco Dons, and the No. 19 Gonzaga Bulldogs! Find our best college basketball picks today for these two high-stakes games!

Santa Clara @ No. 23 Saint Mary's

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

PICK: Santa Clara +9.5 (-110)

The Saint Mary’s Gaels finally had their 16-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the now-No. 19 Gonzaga Bulldogs. However, they still won the WCC regular season title and are two wins away from securing the WCC Tournament, too. The first of those two games they have to win to secure the WCC regular season and tournament titles will be against the Santa Clara Broncos, the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament. 

Santa Clara has had mixed results against the Gaels in the two matchups this season, losing a road game to them by five points but dropping a home game to them by 24 points, failing to eclipse the 50-point mark. However, the Broncos are fresh off one of their best games of the season, posting an uber-impressive 104 points on just shy of 49% shooting from the field. The significant difference in that bout between the Broncos and their opponent (San Diego) was rebounding; they outrebounded the Toreros by 28 on their way to a 25-point victory!

Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s has the coveted “triple bye” along with the second-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs; the Gaels only have to win two games to take home the WCC Tournament hardware. The beginning of the 2023-24 campaign was extraordinarily rocky for the Gaels, though, especially after bringing back so much talent from last year (Aidan Mahaney Augustas Marciulionis, Alex Ducas, Mitchell Saxen, Joshua Jefferson, Luke Barrett, and Harry Wessels). In fact, Saint Mary’s lost five of its first eight games, dropping bouts to Weber State, San Diego State, Xavier, Utah, and Boise State.

If Santa Clara wants to stay close to the Saint Mary’s Gaels in this semi-final game, it has to be just as aggressive on the glass (on both ends.) This season, the Broncos rank 14th in the nation in total rebounding percentage, displaying dominance on both the defensive (44th in DREB%) and offensive (23rd in OREB%) glass. However, as most hoops fans know, the Gaels have been sensational on the boards this season, sitting at first in total rebounding rate; they pull down 37.1% (sixth) of their misses and a marvelous 81.3% of opponents’ misses.

Further, the trio of Carlos Marshall Jr., Adama Bal, and Johnny O’Neil will have to drive the offense for the Broncos, a team that ranks just 122nd in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. It will take a near-perfect game for Santa Clara to win, but the question here is not whether it can win but rather stay within ten points by the final horn.

The Broncos can keep this relatively close. For one, the Gaels play at one of the slowest paces in the country, sitting at 358th (out of 362 teams) in adjusted tempo. Fewer possessions and a slower tempo usually lead to lower scoring from both teams. Additionally, Saint Mary’s is not necessarily an elite three-point shooting team either, hitting 35.3% of its attempts, while Santa Clara (opponent 3P% of 31.5%) has defended the perimeter well.

The most vital aspect of this game for Santa Clara, besides defending the three-pointer well, will be finishing defensive efforts with a rebound. The Broncos actually rank third in the nation in defensive rebounds over their past three outings. If they can rebound and protect the perimeter, this should be a close game. Back the Broncos at +9.5 or better.

San Francisco @ No. 19 Gonzaga

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

PICK: Gonzaga -8 (-110)

Similarly to the Saint Mary’s Gaels, the Gonzaga Bulldogs did not have the start to this season that they would have liked; however, they have been sensational in the past month, winning eight consecutive games, including a road rivalry game against the Gaels and a road matchup versus the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats. There is no better time to be playing your best basketball of the season than in the month of March!

Gonzaga certainly misses Drew Timme and his hyper-efficient and fundamental offense, but the ‘Zags still have the personnel to be a dark horse during the NCAA Tournament, with a core that features Anton Watson, Graham Ike, Ryan Nembhard, Ben Gregg, and Nolan Hickman. Despite Timme and Julian Strawther declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, the Bulldogs still rank 15th in adjusted efficiency margin, including the 11th-highest adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.

Gonzaga plays at a lightning-quick pace, sitting at 79th in adjusted tempo, but has substantially improved in the past few weeks in balancing its pace with improved defense in both transition and the half-court. Additionally, during their eight-game winning streak, the ‘Zags have shot the lights out of the ball, boasting a team shooting split of roughly 56/41/82. Unsurprisingly, the Bulldogs have won by an average of 18 points during that stretch! The Bulldogs are a seriously dangerous squad ahead of the NCAA Tournament. 

Standing between the ‘Zags and a shot at another WCC Tournament championship are Jonathan Mogbo and the San Francisco Dons. Mogbo has led the Dons to an exceptional season, as they are the No. 3 seed in the WCC and have a 23-9 overall record. 

Unfortunately, winning the WCC Tournament is the only way that the Dons will go dancing, so this game will be paramount. Typically, this could be a solid spot to back the Dons to keep the game close due to the sense of urgency that they will be feeling; however, Gonzaga has simply been too dominant for the Dons to keep up with.

The Dons have a formidable defense, ranking 33rd in adjusted defensive efficiency and holding opponents to just 43.2% shooting from the field; however, they might be a tad overrated on the defensive end of the floor. San Francisco does a tremendous job on the D-Glass, but it fouls a ton (307th in fouls per game and third-most fouls nationally in its past three games) and doesn’t contest initial shots all that well either (124th in opponent FG% and 142nd in opponent 3P%).

Gonzaga pummeled the Dons by 18 points on the road less than two weeks ago despite making only three three-pointers and turning the ball over 17 times. The Bulldogs should run away with this game.

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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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