College Basketball Best Bets | Wednesday’s 3 Picks
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Sebastian Mack (UCLA)
We have a loaded Thanksgiving college basketball slate on Thursday, but first, the Maui Invitational closes out its tournament and the Battle 4 Atlantis begins on a massive Wednesday.
Ky McKeon has college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Wednesday, November 22, so dive in below.
College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
By Ky McKeon
Marquette and Purdue square off in the Maui Championship in a battle of two top-five teams and bona fide Final Four contenders. Both squads have been impressive in the early season, and both have dispatched high-quality opponents on their way to the Maui title game.
The difference here will come down to Marquette’s ability to put pressure on Purdue’s guards. While Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer have improved from last season, turnovers have still been a bit of an issue for the Boilers' backcourt. Against Tennessee, 16 turnovers nearly cost Purdue the game.
Expect Marquette to send full-court pressure in order to slow down the Purdue offense, create havoc and keep the ball out of Zach Edey’s hands as much as possible.
On the other end, Marquette is among the tougher teams to prepare for on a quick turnaround. The Golden Eagles’ team speed and numerous weapons make stopping them an utter chore.
Purdue can be beaten from the perimeter, and there’s massive shooting regression coming for the Boilers' defense. Teams are shooting just 22.1% from deep against Purdue this season, an insane mark that ranks eighth in the country.
Marquette wins a tight one in an epic Maui championship tilt.
Pick: Marquette +3.5 (Play to +3)
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By Ky McKeon
In a classic “hold your nose” bet, we’re eyeing one of the worst teams in the country in a west coast matchup. Idaho makes the roughly 300-mile drive from Moscow to Seattle to face off with the Redhawks.
The main “angle” here is coaching staff familiarity. New Idaho head coach Alex Pribble was on Seattle’s staff as an assistant the four years prior to accepting his current position. He worked under Jim Hayford and current Seattle head coach Chris Victor.
Pribble will be intimately familiar with the Redhawk coaching staff and its players, which should hopefully help keep this game competitive.
Secondly, Seattle just hasn’t looked that good this season, and the idea that it should be laying 16 points against anyone right now is hard to believe. Three home battles with Prairie View A&M, Montana State and Northern Arizona were not impressive, and the Redhawks were able to keep it close with VCU on the road thanks to an anemic Ram offense.
Idaho is a man down, as newcomer and gifted scorer Tyler Mrus went down with injury a few games back. Even so, the Vandals should keep this game close in a “rivalry” bout of sorts.
Big man Terren Frank could be the best player on the floor, and Seattle’s offense hasn't been good this season.
Pick: Idaho +16 (Play to +15)
By Ky McKeon
In the final game of the Maui Invitational, UCLA looks to notch its first quality win of the season. On the flip side, Gonzaga looks to be its usual excellent self after hanging with Purdue in the opening round before destroying Syracuse on Tuesday.
UCLA’s game against Marquette was wildly impressive. The Bruins held a 12-point second-half lead on a top-five team, suffocating the Golden Eagles with superb defense. Freshman guard Sebastian Mack continued his hot start to the season, and highly-regarded freshman Berke Buyuktuncel made his season debut after finally receiving a waiver.
The Bruins are now at full strength, and though they’re young, they’re extremely talented. UCLA has a ton of length and depth up front, which is key against a Gonzaga team that's found success on the offensive glass and when playing through Graham Ike on the block.
The Bruins should be able to keep Ike at bay and muck this game up on their defensive end.
UCLA’s offense is still a work in progress, but that should only improve as the young Bruins get more run together. Adem Bona is a star inside, Mack has been great and the supporting cast is ripe with potential.
Expect UCLA head coach Mick Cronin to come into this matchup with a good game plan, one that includes taking the air out of the ball and making the Zags work for every shot attempt.