The Daily Sweat: The men's college basketball conference tournament frenzy continues

Duke is a 2.5-point favorite over Miami in their ACC semifinal matchup

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 09: The Duke Blue Devils mascot points to the camera during a time out during the ACC Tournament between the Duke Blue Devils and the Pittsburgh Panthers on March 9, 2023 at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There’s no shortage of key basketball games to bet on Friday.

Bettors have plenty of men’s college basketball options as conference tournaments continue. The SEC and Big Ten are in the quarterfinal stage, while the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 are playing their semifinals on Friday.

Duke is favored by 2.5 points over the No. 1 seeded Miami Hurricanes in the ACC. The Blue Devils entered as the favorites to win the tournament and blew out No. 5 seed Pitt on Thursday. The winner of Duke and Miami will play either Clemson or Virginia on Saturday. The Cavaliers are 3.5-point favorites over the Tigers.

In the Big 12, Kansas is favored by 4.5 points over Iowa State in what could be a raucous atmosphere. Iowa State fans travel well and KU is located just outside of KC. The teams split the season series — each team won at home. KU will be without coach Bill Self again as he was hospitalized Wednesday night due to what the team said was an illness.

The winner will face a team that will have little crowd support in the final. TCU beat No. 3 seed Kansas State on Thursday night to play Texas in the second semifinal. The Longhorns are 2.5-point favorites in that game.

UCLA is a 6.5-point favorite over Oregon in the first Pac-12 semifinal. The Bruins beat Colorado on Thursday without Jaylen Clark. He’s reportedly set to miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury. Arizona and Arizona State face off in the other semifinal. The Wildcats are one of the bigger favorites you’ll find on the board. Arizona is favored by 7.5 points.

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Power Five quarterfinals

One of the closest spreads in a Big Ten quarterfinal comes in the nightcap. No. 10 Penn State is just a 1.5-point underdog against No. 2 Northwestern. The Nittany Lions beat the Wildcats near the end of the regular season and look capable of pulling the upset again. Remember, the Big Ten was especially close behind Purdue. Northwestern got the No. 2 seed with a win over Rutgers in its final game of the season. Had the Wildcats lost, they would have been the No. 9 seed.

The Scarlet Knights are the No. 9 seed instead and are 6.5-point underdogs to Purdue in the Big Ten’s opening game of the day. Purdue hasn’t been great down the stretch and if the Big Ten’s upset theme continues, Rutgers is a good play. Michigan State is a 3.5-point favorite over No. 13 seed Ohio State after the Buckeyes have pulled two upsets to get to the quarterfinals. Indiana is just a 1.5-point favorite over Maryland in the first game of the evening session.

There’s just one spread within five points in the SEC on Friday. That game is the third of the day as Texas A&M is a 1.5-point favorite over Arkansas. Like in the Big Ten, that’s a matchup between the Nos. 2 and 10 seeds. Arkansas took down No. 7 Auburn on Thursday.

The second-closest line is between Tennessee and Missouri. The Volunteers are 5.5-point favorites without Zakai Zeigler. Missouri beat the Vols on a buzzer-beater in Knoxville during the regular season.

The other two games have lines of 7.5 points. Alabama, the potential No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, is favored over Mississippi State after the Bulldogs beat Florida in overtime. In the final game of the day, Kentucky is favored over Vanderbilt. They split their regular-season matchups.

Six NBA games

The NBA slate is relatively light as college basketball steps up to the stage for the next few weekends. The national doubleheader is on NBA TV as Cleveland plays Miami and Toronto is at the Lakers. Both games feature 1.5-point road favorites. Atlanta is also a 1.5-point road favorite at the Washington Wizards.

Who cashed tickets Thursday?

Lower seeds went 3-1 at the Big Ten tournament on Thursday. The only lower-seeded team to lose was No. 14 seed Minnesota in a 70-54 defeat to Maryland.

Kansas easily covered in a 17-point win over West Virginia, and Texas beat Oklahoma State by 14. Iowa State pulled a six-point upset on Baylor, and TCU took down Kansas State by 13 points.