College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Picks for Wednesday, Including Texas Tech vs. Iowa State

College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Picks for Wednesday, Including Texas Tech vs. Iowa State article feature image
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Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images. Pictured: George Conditt IV (Iowa State)

After an evening of few surprises on Tuesday, the Wednesday slate features seven ranked teams in action, including a top-25 Big 12 duel in Ames.

While Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave will touch on Texas Tech vs. Iowa State — and offer his best bet for the game — below, he is eyeing matchups with value, not hype.

Beyond that Big 12 duel, Ky has two other lower-tier games that he will make top selections for. All three of his picks are below as we get set for another big night in hoops.


Wednesday’s College Basketball Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
7 p.m. ET
Richmond -10
8 p.m. ET
Milwaukee +2
9 p.m. ET
Iowa State -4
Specific bet 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.

UMass vs. Richmond

Wednesday, Jan. 5
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Richmond -10

This is Richmond’s last chance. After admittedly betting on them against Saint Joe’s and Saint Louis, I nearly swore off the Spiders until they could prove to be a competent favorite. However, this spot is too juicy to pass up.

If this spot were a president, it would be Spotraham Lincoln.

Richmond is 0-2 in the A-10 after entering conference play as one of the clear-cut favorites to take the crown. The Spiders are back at home after a tough road loss. And they’re catching a UMass squad in its first conference game following a two-week-plus pause due to COVID-19.

It’s very possible the Minutemen are short one or two bodies … at the very least they’re rusty.

UMass is also a terrible road team. In their two true road contests this season, the Minutemen are 0-2 against the spread with an average cover margin of -12.5 (that’s really bad). Comparatively, UMass is 6-0 ATS at home with an +8.2 cover margin.

Off a long layoff, the last thing any team wants to face is an intricate offense, one similar to Richmond’s. Head coach Chris Mooney employs the Princeton attack, a motion attack predicated on cutting, passing and exploiting mismatches.

UMass is one of the worst defenses in the country (318th, per KenPom) and grades out as one of the worst teams at stopping cuts in the country. UMass has also allowed 1.3 points per possession off of cuts this season, per Synergy, good for the 13th percentile nationally.

One final point in the Spiders’ favor is the fact the Minutemen can’t exploit their greatest weakness: interior defense. Richmond has been smoked at the rim this season, ranking just 307th in FG% defense, per Hoop-Math.

UMass doesn’t attack the rim often. Only three teams score a fewer percentage of points from inside the arc, and UMass is 264th in FGA% near the bucket, per Hoop-Math.

Everything sets up for a major Richmond bounce-back. Let’s hope the itsy-bitsy Spiders find their way back up the waterspout.

Pick: Richmond -10 (Play to -11)



Milwaukee vs. Green Bay

Wednesday, Jan. 5
8 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Milwaukee +2

The wrong team is favored.

In those situations, a bet on the “right team” is usually profitable.

But it’s important to understand why the “wrong team” is favored. In this case, it’s most likely due to a few factors.

First and foremost, Patrick Baldwin Jr. — Milwaukee’s five-star freshman — is likely still out of the lineup. He is their best player and oddsmakers and bettors think he matters quite a bit.

Secondly, despite ranking 312th in KenPom and being 2-11 overall, Green Bay hasn’t been atrocious. The Phoenix have led several games at halftime and are a solid 7-4-1 against the number.

The third reason for this spread could be personnel news on the home team’s side. Donovan Ivory — a Green Bay starter — has missed the last two contests. If folks know he’s back, it will skew the side toward the Phoenix. There has been no official word either way on his status.

Let’s dissect.

Milwaukee has far more talent than Green Bay, even without Baldwin in the lineup. Jordan Lathon and DeAndre Gholston are legit players who would star for the Phoenix.

The Panthers have learned to acclimate to life without Baldwin — he’s missed the last two contests, and UWM is 1-1 straight-up and 2-0 against the spread.

Baldwin’s absence won’t hurt UWM’s offense as much as one might think. Instead of standing and watching Baldwin take his man one-on-one and force a tough shot, the Panthers know they must work the ball inside-out and around the perimeter to get a good look.

They have fared equally offensively on a points per possession basis when Baldwin is in or out of the lineup, per Hoop Lens.

On the flip side, Green Bay can’t as easily sustain a big absence in its lineup. Ivory is key on both ends of the floor for the Phoenix, especially on defense. Green Bay has allowed 1.02 PPP when Ivory is on the floor and 1.09 PPP when he sits, per Hoop Lens. That’s a significant difference.

From a matchup perspective, Green Bay is in trouble offensively. The Phoenix cannot shoot — they rank 350th in 3-point percentage (25.3%) and have shown no signs of improvement.

To score, Green Bay must get inside the arc and either force a tough mid-range attempt or attack the rim and hope for a foul. Milwaukee ranks inside the top 40 — and is No. 1 in the Horizon — in 2-point field goal defense. The Panthers are also among the nation’s best at not fouling (surprising for a poorly-coached team).

Milwaukee is the better team and appears to be waking up in Horizon play from its non-conference malaise. It should show who the better team is in a Badger State rivalry game.

Pick: Milwaukee +2 (Play to -1)



Texas Tech vs. Iowa State

Wednesday, Jan. 5
9 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Iowa State -4

Iowa State is back to being a competent basketball program after spending two years in the toilet. That means the magic is back in Hilton Coliseum.

“Hilton Magic” is used to describe the atmosphere of the Clones’ home floor and its other-worldly ways of helping its team win big games. While it didn’t quite propel ISU to a major upset over Baylor, the Clones did cover the spread against the No. 1 team in the land.

Now, ISU faces Texas Tech, a team likely missing its best scorer in Terrence Shannon Jr., who is dealing with back spasms.

Per Hoop Lens, TTU is scoring 0.04 points per possession less when its star is off the floor, which might not seem like a whole lot. But when facing the nation’s seventh-best defense (per KenPom, third per Bart Torvik), there’s little room for error.

Tech will be on the road for just the second time all season (previously lost to Providence). That’s difficult in and of itself, but especially when on the road at the Coliseum.

ISU fans are going to be loud, and that’s likely to lead to confusion on the Red Raiders’ side, especially its ball handlers.

TTU severely lacks a true point guard — it has several combo guards who assume de facto point duties, but none are an actual lead guard. That has contributed to TTU ranking 248th in the country in turnover rate.

That is extremely bad against an ISU defense that ranks fifth nationally in turning teams over.

After the Baylor game, I’m convinced ISU’s defense is legitimate. The Clones hound opposing ball handlers, take away passing lanes and collapse on the post as well as any team in the country. They aren’t the biggest bunch, but they scrap and play extremely hard.

Analytic sites like KenPom are still catching up to Iowa State. The Clones rank 39th in KenPom — up from 113th in the preseason — but that carries preseason weight.

If we remove preseason weighting on rating, the Clones are 20th nationally, according to Bart Torvik.

There’s still value on ISU, especially at home.

Iowa State has enough shooting to beat the pack-line, and its defense plus the home crowd should propel the Clones to victory and back to .500 in Big 12 play.

Pick: Iowa State -4 (Play to -4.5)



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