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College Hoops Conference Championship Gambling Guide: March 12 (CAA, NEC, Horizon, WCC, Summit)

NCAA Men's Final Four - South Carolina v Gonzaga

It’s conference tournament time. So like I’ve done the last few years I will be making picks for every conference title game. I’ll put these in separate blogs opposed to any preview or full on blog just so it’s easier to find. After going 27-20-1 in the regular season on the blog, let’s have a week. 

Reags Recommendations (Conference Championship Record: 4-2)
NKU PK
Hofstra +2.5
Omaha -3
St. Mary’s +14.5
St. Francis (PA) – 3.5

NEC Final
No. 2 FDU at No. 1 St. Francis (PA) – 7pm E*PN2
St. Francis -3.5/146.5

Previous Matchups: FDU 79-61 (at St. Francis), St. Francis 87-62 (at FDU)

Know the name Keith Braxton from St. Francis is a complete stud that can absolutely go get a triple-double. I know this because he was on my fantasy team last year (no one cares about). The fact that this game is at home – a place SFU lost last year in the conference tournament – expect him to absolutely ball out.

Both of these teams have a similar profile. Pretty good offensively and absolute disasters defensively. They also both do it in a similar way. They don’t launch threes. They want to drive. They want to use their wings and posts to get the ball and get to the rim. FDU shoots a bit more threes than St. Francis, but this game is predicated on getting stops in transition, especially if you’re FDU. That’s the one major difference between these two teams. SFU is 77th in average offensive possession length while FDU is 252nd.
Pick: St. Francis -3.5

Horizon League Championship
No. 2 NKU vs (@Detroit) No. 1 Wright State  - 7pm E*PN
PK/133.5
Previous Matchups: 
NKU 68-64 (at NKU), Wright State (81-77 at WSU)

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That’s how NKU advanced last night. After giving Oakland a double digit lead too. It was impressive, but when you have Drew McDonald to bail you out, it helps. What we do get here is a rivalry game in the title game. And that is AWESOME. Oh and what happened earlier this game? NKU ran this trick play to seal the game:

You have to look directly at the McDonald vs Loudon Love matchup here. Love is your more traditional post player. He’s a big guy that wants to bang in the paint. He doesn’t move particularly well while McDonald is someone that steps out and hits threes and is an excellent passer from that high post. He has to stay out of foul trouble guarding Love on the other side. The other key is the play of Chris Vogt off the bench. He really saved them last night and at 7’1″ will be called on to come in and buy minutes against Love. NKU will try to dictate tempo here as Wright State wants to slow it down and play through Love. If NKU can speed them up and get Love uncomfortable, they win.
Pick: NKU PK

CAA Championship
No. 2 Northeastern vs (@ Charleston) No. 1 Hofstra – 7pm CBSSportsNetwork
Northeastern -2.5/145.5
Previous Matchups: 
Hofstra 75-72 (at Hofstra), Northeastern 75-61 (at Northeastern)

The CAA was awesome last night. We had Justin Wright-Foreman bail Hofstra out in the first game dropping 42 in the overtime win against Delaware

Then Northeastern survived Charleston which is one of the best games so far in conference tournament season:

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A similar trend will be here. Who the hell can get stops? Yes, Northeastern has Shawn Occeus – who is the best defender in the CAA. But, both of these teams rely on the offense. We’re going to likely see a Justin Wright-Foreman vs Vasa Pusica battle. What’s going to help Hofstra in this game is Purdue transfer Jacquil Taylor. He adds something on the interior, especially defensively, to go with JWF offensively. Northeastern is going to look to attack from the perimeter. They want to shoot threes. Hofstra is going to need someone like an Eli Pemberton or Tareq Coburn to hit from the outside to hold pace while JWF gets his buckets. This feels like Hofstra’s year though. They are the No. 1 seed. JWF is 2nd in the country in scoring.
Pick: Hofstra +2.5

Summit Championship
No. 4 North Dakota State vs (@ Sioux Falls) No. 2 Omaha – 9pm E*PN2
Omaha -3/146

Previous Matchups: Omaha 90-77 (at Omaha), 58-50 (at NDSU)

I’ll be honest here. I haven’t been super locked in to either of these teams. I just assumed Mike Daum would win Summit League Tournament MVP for the 4th straight year and South Dakota State would be advancing. Yet here we are. Here’s what I do know. Omaha’s offense is for real. That’s the consistent part of these two teams. I’ll trust that.
Pick: Omaha -3

WCC Championship
No. 2 St. Mary’s vs (@ Las Vegas) No. 1 Gonzaga – 9pm E*PN
Gonzaga -14.5/142
Previous Matchups: 
Gonzaga 92-46 (at Gonzaga), Gonzaga 69-55 (at Saint Mary’s)

We know all about Gonzaga. Don’t have to get too much into it. But, the fact that they are adding Killian Tillie is flat out scary. This offense is already the best in the country on KenPom. Now you add in a 6’10” guy that can stretch the floor and really shoot the shit out of the ball? Yikes. That’s dangerous. They are a lock for the No. 1 seed out west no matter what happens here. Now, that said, that doesn’t mean we’ll see some bid colluding where Few will rest his guys a bit and let St. Mary’s get that auto bid. That’s not what’s going to happen.

Gonzaga is going to win this game. But, Jordan Ford is going to get buckets. Gonzaga be suspect to giving up points behind the arc. Saint Mary’s doesn’t shoot a ton of threes but they are one of the best shooting teams in the country. They know they need this game. I’ll take the points here.
Pick: Saint Mary’s +14.5