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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks March 12

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 12, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today March 12

Two of the biggest (and strongest) conferences in America (ACC and Big 12) kick off their conference tournaments on Tuesday nights, with the lower-seeded teams fighting to keep their respective seasons alive! 

But the most enthralling matchup of Tuesday night’s slate is undoubtedly the West Coast Conference championship battle between the No. 17 Gonzaga Bulldogs and the No. 21 Saint Mary’s Gaels. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have faced off twice this season, with both squads securing a win against one another; however, the Bulldogs came out on top in their most recent game, which was just ten days ago!

Gonzaga missed out on the WCC regular season title, but can it win the WCC Tournament title? Find out our best college basketball picks for the March 12th slate below!

No. 17 Gonzaga @ No. 21 Saint Mary's

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

PICK: Gonzaga ML -135 & Under 139.5 (-110)

As mentioned above, these teams have played twice this season, with the Saint Mary’s Gaels winning one game and the Gonzaga Bulldogs winning the other. The most recent game between these two NCAA Tournament dark horses occurred ten days ago, with the ‘Zags zooming out to a 16-point halftime lead; they didn’t look back after that, winning by 13 points and holding Saint Mary’s to just 57 points.

In fact, the Gaels shot just 37.3% from the field in that game, which is much more of a credit to Gonzaga’s continually improving overall defense than an indictment on the Gaels’ offensive attack. 

Not including the Bulldogs’ most recent win against San Francisco in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament, they have held their past 14 opponents (13-1 record) to a combined shooting percentage of 41%. However, Gonzaga’s offense has been even more remarkable, shooting an electric 55% from the field and 39% from deep in that span.

Gonzaga has beaten eight of its past nine opponents by double-digits, with the Bulldogs’ four-point road win against No. 9 Kentucky being the only game they won by fewer than ten points. The Bulldogs’ recent strong play can be partially attributed to Mark Few’s decision to tighten their rotation. 

We can expect Anton Watson, Graham Ike, Nolan Hickman, and Ryan Nembhard to play nearly the entire game in this WCC Tournament championship game and every NCAA Tournament game, too.

That core of players is lethal. Add Ben Gregg into the starting lineup with those other four, and the ‘Zags have the fifth-most efficient (adjusted efficiency margin) five-man lineup in the nation, per EvanMiya. Further, they also rank 11th in adjusted offensive shot quality (per ShotQuality) and eighth in effective field goal percentage.

Saint Mary’s could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament, but facing Gonzaga right now is like running into a buzzsaw. The Bulldogs hold opponents to marginal shooting while converting 55% of their attempts. That is too challenging for a defensive-centric team like Saint Mary’s to keep up with. Gonzaga’s Moneyline has terrific value in this spot.

Meanwhile, the point total rests at 139.5 points, with -110 odds for the Over and the Under. Gonzaga has a 15-15 Over record this season, while the Saint Mary’s Gaels have a 17-14 Over record in 2023-24.

Interestingly enough, the point total for the first game was 126, while the second game finished with 127 points. Gonzaga plays up-tempo, but the Saint Mary’s Gaels have done a fantastic job of forcing opponents to play at their pace (358th out of 362 teams in adjusted tempo.)

With so much on the line, the Gaels (16th in adjusted defensive efficiency) and Bulldogs (39th in adjusted defensive efficiency) will lock down on every defensive possession. The fact that this game is a rivalry adds even more fuel to the fire for both teams.

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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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