The Duke Blue Devils and Arizona Wildcats open up conference tournament play on Thursday in matchups that should allow them to score a ton of points.
Duke may need to take out some frustration on the hardwood against Syracuse after losing by double figures to North Carolina on Saturday.
The Blue Devils are still in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and they could use the ACC tournament as an opportunity to prove how good they can be in March.
As for Arizona, it should be a lock for a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday. The Wildcats should use the Pac-12 tournament as a tune-up for March Madness. The Wildcats' offense has been fantastic lately and we could see that continue against Stanford.
A few other picks I have for the afternoon slate are based on matchups. Michigan, Saint Louis, Montana State and Iowa all should have the upper hands as favorites in their respective games.
Thursday CBB Picks
Indiana vs. Michigan (-3) (11:30 a.m. ET, BTN)
Michigan is actually playing like it wants to make the NCAA tournament.
Indiana is very much not.
The Wolverines are coming off a road win at Ohio State that they earned without Hunter Dickinson.
Indiana lost seven of its final nine regular-season games. The only two wins in that stretch were against Maryland and Minnesota.
Michigan is also the much better free-throw shooting team. The Wolverines are 99th on KenPom in free-throw shooting. Indiana is 263rd.
Syracuse vs. Duke (Over 147.5) (Noon ET, ESPN)
I'll be honest here.
I'm rooting for Duke to pummel Syracuse so we don't have to deal with the zone witch magic anymore in March.
Duke has a ton of motivation to do exactly that since this is its first game since losing to North Carolina in Coach K's final game inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke ranks in the top 25 in five offensive categories on KenPom. Syracuse is 24th in three-point shooting. Look for Cole Swider to have a big afternoon and help the over hit, like he did against North Carolina.
Northwestern vs. Iowa (-8.5) (2 p.m. ET, BTN)
Iowa averages 11 more points per game than Northwestern.
The Hawkeyes are a much better team than the Wildcats, who only beat Nebraska by two points on Wednesday.
Iowa just beat Northwestern by 21 points on February 28 and I think we see a similar result play out for the Hawkeyes to set up a quarterfinal clash with Rutgers.
Sacramento State vs. Montana State (-10.5) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Montana State ranks in the top 75 in two-point and three-point offense.
More importantly, the Bobcats are 80th in the free throws on KenPom.
Sacramento State not only ranks 296th in free throws, but 297th in two-point offense and 300th in two-point defense.
I think you see the better team with the fresher legs take over as the game goes on.
La Salle vs. Saint Louis (-11.5) (2:30 p.m. ET, USA)
Saint Louis beat La Salle by 18 and 26 points in the regular season.
The Billikens should own the matchup for the third time. They average nine more points per game on offense and give up four fewer per game on defense.
La Salle is on a four-game winning streak, but it's hard to drum up confidence in an upset here when three of those victories came over St. Joseph's and Duquense.
Stanford vs. Arizona (Over 144.5) (3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)
Arizona scored over 80 points in each of its last seven victories.
If you do the match from there, I just need Stanford to go over the 60-point mark and the over is mostly safe.
Stanford scored 69 points against Arizona last Thursday and it should come into this game with some confidence after its rally to beat Arizona State.
Arizona should win big, but a blowout will not be a deterrent for the over .