CBB Picks: Take Gonzaga, South Dakota State Overs on Mid-Major Monday

Monday of Championship Week is one of the best showcases of mid-major college basketball teams we have all season long.

Six mid-major tournaments at either the semifinal or final stage take place on Monday night.

Gonzaga is the team that sticks out right away, and it will be under a microscope since it has not played since its loss at Saint Mary's to close out the regular season last Saturday.

If you like offense, add South Dakota State to your must-watch list alongside Gonzaga. The Jackrabbits have one of the best offenses in college hoops and could be a problem in the NCAA tournament if they win the Summit League.

Some of my other picks are generated from defensive numbers throughout the season and over the two or three weeks.

Monday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 264-285-3 (3-3 Sunday)

Delaware vs. Towson (-4.5) (6 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

CAA Semifinal

Towson defeated Delaware by seven and 12 points in the regular season.

The Tigers held the Blue Hens to 62 and 57 points in those contests, and their defense will be vital to success again on Monday.

Towson is on an eight-game winning streak and it held seven of those foes to 65 points or fewer.

The Tigers received a scare from Northeastern in the quarterfinal round, so they should be more prepared to deal with Delaware's opening punch in the first half.

Wright State vs. Cleveland State (Over 145.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Horizon League Semifinal

Cleveland State is 8-2 to the over in its last 10 games.

Wright State is 4-2 to the over in its last six contests.

Both teams rank inside the Top 50 in two-point offense and they are 192nd and 251st in two-point defense.

Both squads average above 75 points per game and they shoot over 46 percent from the field.

All of those numbers point to a high-scoring game in Indianapolis.

South Dakota vs. South Dakota State (Over 153) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Summit League Semifinal

South Dakota State ranks first in effective field-goal percentage and in three-point offense.

The Jackrabbits are also 14th in two-point offense and they have rarely had a low-scoring game. They reached the 80-point mark in seven of their last eight games. They scored 79 points in the other contest.

SDSU put up 84 and 89 points on South Dakota in the regular season and it is playing inside a building that has lent itself to high-scoring games.

Three of the four winners in the Summit League quarterfinals eclipsed 80 points.

Louisiana vs. Georgia State (-3.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Sun Belt Championship

The Sun Belt tournament is one Louisiana win away from having two straight tournament champions win four games in four days.

Louisiana's problem is it runs into a Georgia State team that has not lost since February 3 and held it under 65 points in two regular-season meetings.

Georgia State won eight of the games during its nine-game winning streak by five or more points. The Panthers give up 4.5 fewer points per game than Louisiana.

Georgia State is also 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 games.

Furman vs. Chattanooga (Over 137) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

SoCon Championship

Chattanooga was my pick to win the SoCon tournament before it began and nothing has changed that stance.

Chattanooga cruised through the first two rounds in Asheville, while Furman squeezed out a win over Samford in the semifinal last night.

The Mocs and Paladins possess two of the most effective offenses in the mid-major ranks.

Both squads rank in the Top 60 in effective field-goal percentage, adjusted efficiency and two-point offense. Furman is also 19th in three-point offense.

Charleston vs. UNC Wilmington (+112) (8:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

CAA Semifinal

UNC Wilmington has been undervalued by the books all season and it could cash in one more time as an underdog.

The Seahawks eclipsed the 80-point mark in both regular-season clashes with Charleston, who ranks below 200th in a handful of key defensive metrics.

Charleston is coming off one of its best performances of the season against Hofstra, but we have not seen consistent offense out of the Cougars and they have been more inclined to give up a ton of points.

Charleston entered the CAA tournament with a 80-point concession in four of its last five defeats, one of which was against UNC Wilmington.

San Francisco vs. Gonzaga (Over 154) (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

WCC Semifinal

Gonzaga plays its first game since the loss to Saint Mary's on Monday.

The Zags have had eight days to let that loss fester in their brains and they should come out with a ton of aggression on the offensive side.

Gonzaga put up 89 points on San Francisco on February 24 and it would not surprise me if it reaches the 90-point mark in an attempt to deliver a statement to Saint Mary's ahead of a likely title clash on Tuesday.

Northern Kentucky (-125) vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Horizon League Semifinal

I still like Northern Kentucky as my pick to win the Horizon League tournament.

The Norse do not have to worry about playing on the road at Purdue Fort Wayne since the tournament shifted to a neutral site for the semifinal round.

NKU has two losses since January 20 and it avenged them both by beating Detroit Mercy in the quarterfinal round.

The Norse defense will be the difference-maker against a hot IPFW team. NKU earned six of its last seven wins by holding teams to 66 points or less. IPFW is on a 10-game winning streak, but it allowed its last four foes to score over 70.

Oral Roberts vs. North Dakota State (-122) (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Summit League Semifinal

North Dakota State ranks inside the Top 100 in two-point and three-point defense.

The Bison won their last four games by holding opponents under 65 points. Oral Roberts was one of those foes on February 17.

Conversely, Oral Roberts' defense has not been great in defeats. The Golden Eagles let up 70+ points in their last five losses.

There is also a stark contrast in free-throw shooting. NDSU is 28th and ORU is 149th.

Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary's (Under 138) (11:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

WCC Semifinal

If you are sensing a theme by now, you got it!

A majority of my picks are driven by strong defenses.

Saint Mary's held Gonzaga to 57 points and it held each of its last four opponents below 65 points.

Saint Mary's is the defensive focus here, but Santa Clara does rank 61st in two-point defense.

If either of these teams hit the 70s, I would be stunned. I know that's not what you want to here for an 11:30 p.m. ET tipoff.

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