Spartans cap pivotal weekend with visit to Buckeyes
It's coming down to crunch time in college basketball, as some teams try to boost their NCAA tournament credentials while others continue the quest to lock down good tournament seedings.
Friday night's slate includes a very good matchup out of the Atlantic 10 Conference as No. 15 Butler hosts 20-5 St. Louis (7 pm ET, ESPNU). The Billikens lead the A-10 at 9-2 and they're 14-9 ATS on the season. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are tied for second place at 9-3 and are 15-9 ATS.
As of early Friday morning most sportsbooks were listing Butler at -2.5 for Friday night's game over St. Louis, which shot 50 percent from the floor in beating the Bulldogs 75-58 three weeks ago.
Among some of Saturday's better action:
In Conference USA first-place and No. 21 Memphis, a perfect 12-0 in conference play, hosts second-place Southern Miss (1 pm ET, Fox Sports Net).
Down on Tobacco Road 18-8 North Carolina and 19-7 NC State hook up in Chapel Hill (4 pm ET, ESPN).
In the Big East longtime rivals clash when No. 8 Syracuse hosts No. 11 Georgetown (4 pm ET, CBS).
In a battle between the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference No. 16 New Mexico visits No. 22 Colorado State (4 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).
Back in the Big East 17-10 Villanova, trying to secure an NCAA tournament berth, hosts No. 17 Marquette (6 pm ET, ESPN).
In a cross-sectional bout 23-5 St. Mary's hosts 22-6 Creighton (6 pm ET, ESPN/ESPN2).
Down in the SEC 17-9 Arkansas, trying to get back to the Big Dance for the first time in five years, visits No. 5 Florida (7 pm ET, ESPNU), and 18-8 Kentucky hosts 19-7 Missouri (9 pm ET, ESPN).
And for a Saturday nightcap 21-6 Belmont hosts 20-6 Ohio (10 pm ET, ESPN2).
Sunday 16-10 St. John's, in dire need of victories if it hopes to make the NCAA tournament, hosts 20-7 Pittsburgh (Noon ET, ESPN3). Also Sunday 20-8 Illinois visits No. 7 Michigan (1 pm ET, ESPN); No. 25 Notre Dame hosts 19-8 Cincinnati (2 pm ET, CBS); and in maybe the premier game of the weekend No. 4 Michigan State, coming off a home loss to Indiana, visits No. 18 Ohio State (4 pm ET, CBS).
In NCAA championship futures betting action Florida is listed at 6/1, Michigan State at 8/1, Syracuse at 18/1, Ohio State at 30/1, Missouri at 40/1, St. Louis, Georgetown, Butler, North Carolina State and New Mexico all at 50/1, Pitt at 60/1, Memphis and Colorado State at 80/1 and Marquette, Cincinnati, Creighton, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Kentucky and Illinois all at 100/1.