Here are three of the best bets for Thursday night’s college basketball tournament games from handicappers Bruce Marshall (GoldSheet.com) and Bernie Fratto (BernieFratto.com):
Oregon State-Southern California (Under 142), 6 p.m.
“That’s one total that looks too high,” Marshall said. “Both games went under in the regular season, and USC’s under record is 13-2-1 in its last 16 games. This game will probably be played in the 60s tonight.”
Beavers star Tres Tinkle is expected to play after twisting his ankle in Wednesday’s 69-66 win over Washington that went under. The Trojans had gone under in six consecutive games before pushing the total in their regular-season finale against UCLA.
South Carolina (+5) over Arkansas, 6:30 p.m.
Marshall said a profitable angle in this year’s postseason has been to back teams that have already played a game in their conference tournament against teams that have not. The Gamecocks had covered six straight games before failing to cover as 3-point favorites in Wednesday’s 85-84 win over Mississippi, which hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the backdoor cover.
“South Carolina’s a very live underdog tonight,” Marshall said. “They pulled away kind of late against Ole Miss. Their defense was sloppy, and they missed some free throws. It’s hard to get pumped for Ole Miss, but they’ll be ready to play tonight. And Arkansas has got its bid secure.
“(Coach) Frank Martin cracked the whip, and this is the type of game that South Carolina’s very dangerous.”
Wyoming-New Mexico (Over 165½), 8:30 p.m.
Fratto loves the over in this rematch of a 119-114 shootout won by the Lobos on Feb. 20 in Laramie.
“If that game doesn’t go over, it’s fixed,” Fratto quipped. “That’s an over all the way. They both get up and down the floor, they both shoot 3s and their transition games are out of sight. Not that they don’t play defense, but they get up and down the floor and get shots off early in the clock.”
New Mexico has gone over in its past four games and five of six. The Cowboys have gone over in 17 of their past 25 games.