CBB Picks: Take Liberty, Kennesaw State, Wright State In Tournament Openers

The opening stages of mid-major conference tournaments usually produce the biggest mismatches of Championship Week.

That is the case on Tuesday for Liberty and Kennesaw State, the top two seeds in the Atlantic Sun.

Liberty and Kennesaw State will play on their home floors against teams that won in Monday night's opening-round games.

Over in the Horizon League, Wright State has the biggest advantage at home against a Green Bay side that it rolled twice in the regular season.

Meanwhile in the power conferences, there are a few underdogs that appear to be frisky on the road, including two from the ACC.

Tuesday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 155-153-8

Atlantic Sun Tournament

Bellarmine at Liberty (-16.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Liberty defeated Bellarmine by 17 and 20 points in their two regular-season meetings.

The Flames have rest on their side as the No. 2 seed. Bellarmine needed a game-winning shot on Monday just to advance to the quarterfinal matchup.

Liberty is an elite team at home. It defeated Queens by 20 at home on Friday in a game that was close for about 30 minutes. That's an example of how quickly it can pull away from visiting teams.

The Flames won all nine of their A-Sun home games by double figures and they should take care of a Bellarmine team that could run out of gas in the second half.

Queens at Kennesaw State (-7.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Kennesaw State has a little extra motivation compared to Liberty.

The Owls can enact some revenge on Queens, who beat the A-Sun top seed two weeks ago.

Kennesaw should have its lone A-Sun home loss stuck in the back of its mind for an extra boost to beat a fatigued team.

Queens' tight rotation could also play in favor of Kennesaw. The Royals have six players that average over 20 minutes per game and tired legs could be a factor in the second half.

Lipscomb at Stetson (Over 150.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

You would be hard pressed to find a more evenly-matched No. 4-versus-No. 5 matchup in any conference tournament.

Lipscomb and Stetson went to overtime twice in the regular season. Stetson won the first meeting 86-80. Lipscomb won the second battle on Friday night 96-91.

We should still see points even if the third meeting between the Bisons and Hatters does not go to overtime.

Both teams rank in the top 75 in three-point percentage and the top 40 in free-throw percentage, which is vital for an over to hit in a close game.

Horizon League Tournament

Green Bay at Wright State (-21) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

I've been on a season long mission to fade Green Bay.

This is the last chance I will get to bet against the Phoenix.

Wright State beat Green Bay by a combined 63 points in the regular season.

The Raiders play at a top 20 tempo, per KenPom, and that exhausted the Phoenix twice already. I expect that to be the same case the third time around.

Regular Season Games

Clemson (+6.5) at Virginia (7 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Clemson is desperate.

The Tigers went from the top of the ACC to the fringe of the NCAA tournament bubble in the span of a few weeks.

Clemson needs to be competitive in Charlottesville to further prove its case as a NCAA tournament team.

The Tigers are coming off a 25-point shellacking of NC State on the road on Saturday, while Virginia is struggling with a two-game losing streak.

The game is also important for seeding at the ACC tournament. UVA is third and Clemson is fourth in the ACC entering Tuesday. A win for Clemson helps it stave off Duke and NC State for the final double bye.

NC State (+6.5) at Duke (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Speaking of NC State and Duke.

The Wolfpack need a bounce-back performance after Clemson ran all over them on Saturday.

NC State beat Duke by 24 points in Raleigh on January 4. Duke is a different team now, but the Wolfpack do have a more explosive offense and that can help them stick within seven points.

South Carolina (+15.5) at Mississippi State (9 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

South Carolina is playing free basketball at the moment.

The Gamecocks have nothing to lose and they have embraced the spoiler role in close games with Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri over the last few weeks.

South Carolina lost to Mississippi State by 15 points in their first meeting, and I think the losing margin will be tighter on Tuesday.

Mississippi State plays great defense, but its offense only averages one point per game more than South Carolina.

The Bulldogs could also come out tight since the pressure is on them to remain in the projected field of 68.

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