NCAA Bubble Teams and NBA Hot and Not

Let's consider whether or not some of the prices on this Thursday night college hoops menu are gonna come up and bite the "bubble teams" that are in action on this final night in February.

Tonight, it's ...
MINNESOTA (17-11, 7-10) - We keep hearing that the Big 10 likely will get no more than seven of the league's dozen teams into the upcoming NCAA Tournament and so that doesn't appear to be particularly good news for these Golden Gophers who have lost six of their last seven games SU (straight-up) while playing some horrific team defense (allowed opponents to shoot 44 percent or better in seven of their last nine games). Again, we'll say that Minny must win 20 games just to be considered for a "Big Dance" invitation and so you could see Richard Pitino's team "tightening up" here as smallish road underdogs at Northwestern.

OREGON STATE (17-9, 9-5) - Maybe that snazzy Pac-12 record shown here for the Beavers leads one to believe that the Corvallis kids are "in like flint" when it comes to an NCAA Tournament at-large bid ... but we're not buying it just yet. Keep in mind that Oregon State - which is 15-10-1 ATS (against the spread) this 2018-19 season - has been on a solid 5-2 spread run since Jan. 27th and the arrow surely has been pointing up for Wayne Tinkle's team but now the Beavers are a 4-point betting favorites this evening versus perennial NCAA Tournament team Arizona. If Oregon State wishes to be on the correct side of the bubble, a win here is essential but is laying nearly a handful of points the right thing to do?

OLD DOMINION (22-6, 12-3) - Inquiring minds want to know whether the Conference USA is gonna be a multiple-bid league when it comes to next month's NCAA Tournament. True, right now the Old Dom Monarchs are sitting atop the C-USA standings but tonight's "Bonus Play" game at UT-San Antonio is critical just in case Old Dominion doesn't cop the upcoming mini-tourney. Note that UTSA is a 1.5-point betting favorite and it's Old Dom that sports the country's 10th-best defense. If you ask us, we'd rather see a 25-win Old Dominion team nab an at-large tourney bid than a power conference club that's sub.-500 in league play and with only one or two "big" wins. However, be sure Old Dominion feeling the pressure to close with a flourish ... just in case.


Here's Who's Hot ...

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - Okay, so it's modest but Doc Rivers' squad has covered six of its last nine games overall and that includes four-of-five covers since the middle of this month.

MINNESOTA - Three cheers for the born-against Timberwolves who have covered six of their last seven games with the sole spread loss coming in last night's overtime loss in Atlanta.

ORLANDO - Very quietly, the Magic is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games and note Orlando has not lost back-to-back covers since mid-January.

PORTLAND - Here come the T-Blazers with a five-game spread winning streak and that includes the last four in a row on the road.

SACRAMENTO - The Kings are 9-2 spreadwise in their last 11 games and somehow that's no great surprise for a team that is an electric 37-24 against the odds this hoops season.

UTAH - Slow and steady wins the race for a Jazz team that's covered seven of its last 10 games.

And Who's Not ...

CHARLOTTE - The Hornets are 3-8-1 versus the vig since late January and take note that includes four-of-five away spread losses. Charlotte is at Brooklyn on Friday night.

DALLAS - Hey, the Mavericks have fallen apart lately with five consecutive pointspread losses since Feb. 11th and keep in mind that Dallas was 35-20 ATS prior to this aforementioned five-game spread losing skein. Next up is a Saturday home game against Memphis.

GOLDEN STATE - Gimme a break! The Warriors are really 2-9 versus the vig since late January and to dig a little deeper consider that G-State is 1-5 ATS as hosts and 1-4 ATS away during this recent time span.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS - No shocker here as the Lakers have failed to cover five of their last six games though some folks may have nabbed a "push" in last night's six-point home win against New Orleans.

PHOENIX - Ooops, the tanking Suns are 4-10 vig-wise since Jan. 21st.

SAN ANTONIO - Not often that a Gregg Popovich-coached club would go on a 2-10 spread slide but that's where we stand with the Spurs these days.