Friday Tournament picks: UCLA vs USC, MSU vs Wisconsin, OU vs Texas Tech

Frank Schwab has six college basketball picks for your consideration on this jam-packed episode heading into the Friday of conference tournament play. Will USC upset UCLA? Can Oklahoma keep it rolling against Texas Tech?

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Video Transcript


FRANK SCHWAB: Welcome to "Yahoo Sportsbook Daily." It is Friday, March 11. And I'm your betting guide, Frank Schwab, here to break down some conference tournament games today, one of the great days of the sporting calendar. Look, to me, Friday, Saturday of Championship Week are completely underrated. You got wall-to-wall basketball, some great, great games. Can't wait to break this down.

We already saw some awesome games Thursday, a lot of high seeds in those tournaments escaping with wins. Baylor losing, that's a big one for the bracket. Let's get to it.

I'm going to start in the Pac-12. I like UCLA over USC. Look, USC really wasn't great down the stretch. They won a lot of games in a row, but almost all of them were really, really close, 50-50 games.

And then they really started taking some losses. They got blown out by Arizona, weren't all that competitive against UCLA. And then to start the Pac-12 tournament, they barely beat a bad Washington team.

UCLA is playing pretty well despite some injury issues. I think UCLA against their rival comes out, plays well, sets up a championship game, maybe against Arizona. We're going to talk about them in a little bit. But I do like UCLA in this spot mostly because I don't think USC is playing their best ball. Not sure they can cover the 5 and 1/2 here, so give me UCLA.

Let's move on to the Big 12. I like Oklahoma plus 7 and 1/2 against Texas Tech. We talk about Baylor taking that bad loss. It was to Oklahoma, who played really well in that game to knock off a potential number one seed in the Bears.

Oklahoma did beat Texas Tech, a very good team, by the way. I'm not fading Texas Tech necessarily here. I do like what the Red Raiders do. But Oklahoma did beat Texas Tech by 15 earlier this season.

Oklahoma's won four in a row. They just have the look and the feel of one of those teams that gets into this conference tournament, they're playing pretty well, and then they just gain momentum, gain confidence, play really well. 7 and 1/2 here is a lot of points. I think this is going to be a close game.

Oklahoma, I think, has a shot to win this game. It wouldn't shock me that much. But definitely like the 7 and 1/2 with the Sooners down there in the Big 12 tournament.

Let's move over to the ACC. I like North Carolina, minus 2 and 1/2 against Virginia Tech. Look, North Carolina, for a long time, we didn't know if they were going to make the tournament. I know North Carolina fans don't like hearing that. But they didn't have a quad one win for a while. Then their only quad one win was against Michigan, which really doesn't count for that much anymore.

But UNC is now starting to play a little bit better. We all remember they beat Duke in Coach K's last home game. And they carried that over to the ACC tournament, it looks like.

They beat a Virginia team that can be really problematic for teams at times. They beat them soundly. They held them to 13 points in the first half.

North Carolina never had to sweat that game. They were 4, 3 and 1/2 point favorites. That line kept moving down. And it was never a sweat for North Carolina.

Bettors, I think we're going to see more of the same on Friday night. North Carolina is 2 and 1/2 point favorite against Virginia Tech. I'll take North Carolina-- looks like they're playing a little bit better.

Virginia Tech is playing for its tournament life, probably. They have strung together a couple of wins in a row. But Virginia Tech, a team I liked preseason, hasn't really been that great. They've been really inconsistent, up and down.

I just like the look of this North Carolina team. Look, we've been waiting for this Tar Heels team all season. We thought that this team had a lot of talent, had a chance to make some noise in the ACC-- really didn't happen until now. Maybe North Carolina is one of those teams getting hot before March Madness. I'm going to take North Carolina minus 2 and 1/2.

Let's move over to the Pac-12 tournament. We have an injury to talk about here. I'm going to take Colorado plus 9 and 1/2 against Arizona.

Colorado just beat Arizona a couple of weeks ago near where I am, over there in Boulder, Colorado. And Colorado really looked good in a win over Oregon. And I was on Colorado in that game. Never really had to sweat that thing from late first half on.

They played really well. The Buffaloes gaining some steam late in the season. And Arizona took a big injury late in their win against Stanford. Kerr Kriisa, one of their best long distance shooters, averaged 10 points a game, he had a badly sprained ankle, left T-Mobile Arena in a wheelchair.

Look, he might play. They're not ruling him out playing in this game. But I think it'd be crazy for the Wildcats to play Kerr Kriisa in this game. I assume he's going to sit out.

But even if he doesn't, 9 and 1/2 points for Colorado, who's playing very well, they're getting hot, that's a lot. I think they actually have a shot to knock off Arizona, who didn't look great against Stanford. I think Arizona's looking forward to the NCAA tournament. Injury really might mess with their mental outlook in this game, too.

I like Colorado a lot in this game at 9 and 1/2-- probably my best play on the board. I think the Buffaloes just getting things together late in the year. Tad Boyle's a really good coach. Give me Colorado plus 9 and 1/2 all day. I think they're a live dog in this game.

Going to take another live dog in the ACC, and that's Miami, plus 8 and 1/2 against Duke. This is pretty much the fate of Duke. They're not really looking that great in their last couple of games.

Again, we saw the North Carolina game where they really faded in the second half. Then we saw, against Syracuse on Thursday, Buddy Boeheim's not even playing, and Syracuse had a shot to win that game, even as 14 and 1/2 point underdogs.

I just don't like what Duke is bringing to the table lately. They have a ton of talent. All five of their starters could go in the first round of the NBA draft. That is possible. But something's just not clicking with this team.

So if you're going to give me 8 and 1/2 points for the Miami team that still needs to rack up wins-- they can't feel totally safe there in the NCAA tournament field-- I'm going to take that. Jim Larrañaga's a good coach. Miami is competing.

They did have a tough game against Boston College-- didn't look great in that game, but they did escape with a win at the end. And I think they carry that over and at least keep this game close against them. 8 and 1/2 points is a lot in a tournament setting like this. I'm going to take Miami.

There's a little bit of beta Duke. I just don't love what the Blue Devils are bringing. And to finish this thing off, I'm going to be a homer.

I'm going to the Big Ten Tournament. I am taking my alma mater, the Wisconsin Badgers, minus 3 and 1/2 over the Michigan State Spartans. No, I'm not just trolling my coworkers, Charles Robinson and Al Toby here. I'm not being a homer, actually.

I really do like the Badgers in this spot. I think this line is just a little bit low. Michigan State, look, they're a great March team. We've heard about Tom Izzo in March so often through the years.

But this was not a great Spartans team down the stretch. They looked bad at times. They did play better against Maryland on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament.

But I think Wisconsin's just the better team. They took a loss on Sunday against Nebraska-- terrible loss, of course. But they lost Johnny Davis in the second half of that game. All indications are Johnny Davis, Player of the Year candidate, is going to play in the Big Ten Tournament.

I wouldn't play him if I was Wisconsin's coach, but Greg Gard is. It sounds like he's going to play Davis. And if he does, Wisconsin minus 3 and 1/2 looks pretty good to me.

This was a team that won a share of the Big Ten Championship, came out of nowhere, but has a lot of the pieces you like in March. If Johnny Davis is back anywhere near 100%, which I think he's going to be, I think Wisconsin rolls here. Minus 3 and 1/2 looks pretty good to me for the Big Ten Tournament and the Wisconsin Badgers.

Let's recap a bit with these bets. There's a ton of games today. I picked six good ones for you. You could pick 20 others-- one of the great, great days of the sporting calendar.

I had UCLA minus 5 and 1/2 over USC. Don't like the way USC's playing, really. I had Oklahoma plus 7 and 1/2, keeping their Big 12 run going over Texas Tech-- a very good team, but just too many points here.

North Carolina minus 2 and 1/2 over Virginia Tech. Like the way North Carolina's played in its last couple of games. Maybe they're getting things together.

Really like Colorado plus 9 and 1/2 against Arizona, who might not have Kerr Kriisa in this game with that bad ankle injury. I'm going to go with Miami plus 8 and 1/2 against Duke. Don't love what I'm seeing out of Duke lately, so I think Miami can keep that one close. And then my Wisconsin Badgers minus 3 and 1/2 over the Michigan State Spartans at the Big Ten Tournament.

You can follow me on Twitter over @YahooSchwab and follow all of our content over @YahooSportsbook. Bet $10 on any game at BetMGM and get $200 in free bets added to your account. You don't need to win your bet to receive the promotion. Go to to get started.

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Scott P. announced he'll be back on Monday on "Yahoo Sportsbook Daily" with more March Madness betting. Until then, bye and good luck.


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