College basketball best bets for Friday, 3/15: Colorado stays hot against Washington State

Colorado Buffaloes
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email
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The college basketball regular season is finally complete and conference championship week is here! We’ve already seen plenty of madness on the hardwood this week and we still have nonstop action and marquee games for 3 more days before the reveal of the NCAA Tournament bracket on Selection Sunday.

While the college hoops market is as sharp as it has ever been, there are still a few good value bets of which to take advantage. Let’s take a look at my best bets for Friday’s action, but make sure you also check out our college basketball picks for the biggest games of the day.

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Colorado Buffaloes -2 over Washington State Cougars (-110)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to Colorado -3.5 

Don’t look now, but the Colorado Buffaloes are red-hot heading into the postseason. The Buffaloes have found themselves in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament following their 7th straight victory over Utah in convincing fashion to likely seal their spot in the NCAA Tournament field. In fact, Colorado is sitting at 11th in Barttorvik since February 15, boasting a top-10 offense and a top-40 defense during that span. This is a team that is finally fully healthy at the perfect time, and the likes of Tristan da Silva, Eddie Lampkin and Cody Williams are playing at an extremely high level of late. It’s hard to see how that doesn’t carry over into Friday’s massive contest.

Both of these teams feature a healthy balance between offense and defense, so it’s no surprise that the spread is a relatively small number for this matchup. But the key difference in this game should be Colorado’s elite three-point shooting (3rd) and three-point percentage defense (24th) over the last month. Conversely, Washington State ranks 248th and 131st respectively at Barttorvik in those very same metrics. That doesn’t bode well for the Cougars (275th in two-point percentage defense) in a game where I expect the Buffaloes to attack the rim and bomb away from beyond the arc. Washington State is a deserving NCAA tournament team, but I can’t step in front of this Colorado team given how well the Buffaloes have been playing in recent weeks.

Sam Houston State Bearkats -3.5 over UTEP Miners (-110)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to Sam Houston -5.5 

For our second best bet, we’re heading over to Conference USA, where I believe the top-seeded Sam Houston State Bearkats are being underrated in the market heading into this C-USA semifinal matchup. At one point in early February, the ‘Kats suffered back-to-back losses to FIU and Jacksonville State on the road. However, over the last 30 days, this Bearkats team has been excellent, posting a perfect 7-0 record and claiming the outright C-USA regular season championship. It certainly looks like Sam Houston State is rounding into form at the right time, and I expect this deep and experienced group to punch their ticket to the title game in convincing fashion in this one.

The Bearkats aren’t a brand-name program by any means, but they have been a borderline top-30 team at Barttorvik over the past month. Now, they’ll take on a UTEP side that they just played poorly against (22 turnovers) and still won handily on the road back on February 24. It helps that Sam Houston State has a significant rest advantage over a UTEP team that will be playing its second game in 24 hours. What UTEP has done over its last 4 games has been undeniably impressive. However, that run of good fortune for the Miners should end against a much better (and well-rested) opponent on Friday in Huntsville, Alabama.

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