Top Picks for College Basketball Experts on February 21

TJ Bickerstaff leads the Boston College Eagles to the basket against the orange Syracuse team. Photo by Madi Malhotra/Getty Images via AFP.

March is fast approaching which means madness is approaching us. Let’s dive into Monday’s roster with our college basketball expert picks.

Our Hoops experts pick their best against points difference and over/under pick for Monday college basketball games (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; choose confidence based on a 1-5 star scale).

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Monday College Basketball Expert Picks

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ATS college basketball expert predictions

UTEP +5.5 (-110)

First-year technical director Joe Golding is doing a great job at UTEP. The miners have won six of their last eight games, including a major win on the road at Louisiana Tech. They now face conference USA Middle East leader Tennessee, which is 12-0 at home this season.

Blue Raiders forces the conference’s highest turnover with a turnover ratio of 21.5, according to KenPom. However, UTEP ranks 77th in the country in offensive turnover ratio, which will limit the upside of ball pressure in central Tennessee.

UTEP ranks 3rd in CUSA with a 3-point percentage, shooting 38.8% from over the arc against opponents in the conference. She also shoots 79% off her free-throw line in CUSA games, a critical skill in covering road competitions.

Central Tennessee has been great this year, but the latest UTEP play is impressive. I expect Golding to come up with a game plan to curb the Blue Raiders and keep this game close. The miners scored major road victories at Old Dominion, Rice, and L.A. Tech. I will get 5.5 points with UTEP tonight. – Randle

Middle Tennessee -5.5 (-110)

In terms of performance, ATS, Middle Tennessee (19-7, 10-3) is standing on top of the mountain in Division 1 this season. The Blue Raiders are exceptional 18-5 ATS, including 8-2 at home, as they play UTEP (16-10, 9-5) on Monday.

UTEP has a record 12-12 ATS this season, and although they’ve been covering the road differentials better, the Blue Raiders have an advantage on Monday. Just 5.5 points difference is too much for MTSU’s 12-0 home team this season.

Middle Tennessee has KenPom’s advantage over UTEP – 102 to 166 – and he’s been riding a hot streak recently, winning 10 of his last 11 games. Of those ten wins, nine were with a difference of more than 5.5 points. Look for the Blue Raiders to continue their strong play and retain the leadership of the conference. – chevre

Boston College +1 (-110)

Boston College has won only one of its last eight games, but the Eagles have been more competitive than this record indicates. They took a potential NCAA Championship-linked Notre Dame team for overtime on the road and were just seven points behind leader Duke midway through the second half. Now they welcome the Florida State shortlisted team that led a quick turnaround, keeping the Eagles charismatic on their turf.

The Seminoles played Saturday’s game against Duke without starting guards RayQuan Gary and Caleb Mills. Rookie Galen Warley responded with 15 points, but Florida State’s problem was on the defensive end. She allowed the Blue Devils to shoot 50% of the field, and she couldn’t use her usual super depth to exhaust her opponent. Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton wasn’t encouraged that either Gary or Mills would be available on Monday.

Boston College had a 3-2 ATS as a home underdog, while Florida State had a disappointing 8-17-1 ATS on the season. Plus, the Seminoles have only covered one of their three games after one day off, and their shortlisted unit must struggle again on the road. – Spector

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College Basketball Expert Choices O/U

Boston College – Florida State Under 137 (-110)

The Seminoles have lost seven of their last eight matches. Florida State only fires 32% from 3-point range and 46.2% from inside the arc in an ACC play. Meanwhile, Boston College plays at one of the slowest paces in the country. The Eagles have failed to smash 69 points in their last five home games, and have struggled from a two-point range and beyond the arc.

Florida State has struggled with injuries all season and is not finding consistency in the offensive end of the floor. Boston College prefers a slow, methodical pace under first-year coach Earl Grant. This is the perfect situation between two battling crimes at Chestnut Hill. – Randle

West Virginia – TCU under 130.5 (-110)

This match features two teams with a top 40 adjusted defensive proficiency rating, according to KenPom. Therefore, the 130.5 total feels particularly high.

West Virginia games have trended this season, though, due to the number of transitional scoring opportunities as a result of pressure-heavy gameplay. However, the TCU is able to play within its preferred slow pace to limit the strength of mountaineers – especially at home. TCU’s home games are 7-5-1 to Under this season.

The two defensive styles should first result in a limited open look and chess-like game flow. I like that both teams stay under 65 points. – chevre

Georgia Tech Syracuse Under 146 (-110)

Syracuse’s offensive, averaging 91.7 points per game over three contests, subsided from late January to early February. The Orange team have scored just 69.3 points per game in their last three points, despite two points against a Boston College defense that ranks 10th in the conference in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. They should battle again against a Georgia Tech defense that only allowed 67 points per game in the last three points.

Orange coach Jim Boeheim knows how to use his territory to keep the best scoring options out of the other teams. Georgia Tech star Michael Defoe has averaged just 10.3 points per game in four career contests against Syracuse, making more than 2 out of 3 shots just once. Devoe ranks third in the conference with 18.7 points per game, and Syracuse’s ability to neutralize the yellow jackets star will go a long way to keeping this game low-scoring.

The Under is 9-6 in 15 ACC games at Syracuse and has earned money in each of the last three. Hence, look for another defensive struggle between these conference contenders. – Spector

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