College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Top Picks for Wednesday, Including Utah State vs. Colorado State
Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: David Roddy (Colorado State)
On Tuesday night, the final two unbeaten teams in college basketball were defeated — USC lost to Stanford on the road and Baylor was stunned at home by Texas Tech.
Now, we transition to Wednesday night, when Villanova takes on Xavier in a top-25 Big East duel, Colorado State looks to bounce back after losing to San Diego State and Cal attempts to snap a two-game losing streak in the Pac-12.
While the Cal and Colorado State games aren’t necessarily gaining national attention, Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave has three best bets for all three affairs below.
So get your betting card ready 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.
|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.|
Villanova vs. Xavier
Xavier looks to exact revenge on Villanova after the Wildcats took down the Musketeers in convincing fashion back on Dec. 21.
The Muskies looked to have Nova’s number in that game, leading by as many as 10 points in the first half. But Villanova charged back and extended in the second, holding Xavier to just 0.88 PPP for the contest.
That was road Xavier. Tonight, we see home Xavier.
Home Xavier is one of the best teams in the country. The Cintas Center has been a source of energy for the Muskies, propelling them to a 9-0 record and 7-2 mark against the spread. In its friendly confines, Xavier is covering by nearly nine points per game.
Outside shooting was poor on both sides in the first matchup, but Nova dominated inside the arc. The Cats shot 61.8% from 2-point range and held Xavier’s bigs — Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle — to 12 total points on seven field goal attempts.
Xavier’s only personnel advantage in this game are its big men; feeding them the rock and getting Eric Dixon in foul trouble is one of the primary paths to success.
Both teams excel in the spread pick-and-roll on offense, and both teams struggle to guard it. Perhaps the home crowd can give Xavier a boost defensively as it scrambles to guard Collin Gillespie and cover his sharpshooting teammates.
The Musketeers themselves will look to shoot better from deep — their 6-of-23 performance on Dec. 21 was their second worst of the season.
The handicap is straightforward tonight. It’s a revenge game between two similarly matched teams on one of the best home floors in the country.
Pick: Xavier -1 (Play to -2)
Utah State vs. Colorado State
Neither Utah State nor Colorado State has gotten off to its preferred start in Mountain West play. The Aggies lost at Air Force (of all places) and then squeaked by New Mexico in overtime.
The Rams had trouble with Air Force as well before ultimately winning, but then lost by 30 points to San Diego State, their biggest challenger for the MWC throne. That loss alone dropped CSU 12 spots in KenPom’s rankings.
CSU looks to bounce back at home against a Utah State squad that could be a bit banged up. Brock Miller, a key wing shooter, missed last game for the Aggies. Rylan Jones, USU’s point guard, was banged up at the end of last game. Jones is about the toughest kid on the planet, so expect him to play. He just might not be at 100%.
USU is 1-3 against the spread on the road this season and now is playing its third-straight MWC road contest against arguably the best team in the league. Spot-wise, this screams Colorado State.
Justin Bean vs. David Roddy will be the heavyweight matchup attracting billions of viewers, but that’s more or less an even bout.
Where CSU has a clear advantage is on the perimeter. The Rams’ guards, particularly Isaiah Stevens, are more talented, skilled and athletic than the USU perimeter. They should have no issue creating open shots for their teammates.
Shooting from deep will be key, as it always is in college basketball. CSU is the sixth-best 3-point shooting team in the country, and USU ranks just 333rd in 3PA rate allowed (it allows a ton of 3-point attempts). Do that against CSU, and you’re asking for a beat down.
Another advantage for CSU will be in transition. CSU is scoring 1.193 PPP in transition this season, good for the 96th percentile in the country, per Synergy. USU is allowing 1.038 PPP, which ranks in just the 26th percentile nationally.
Colorado State bounces back off its horrid SDSU loss in a major way and defeats Utah State by double digits.
Pick: Colorado State -5.5 (Play to -6)
Cal vs. Washington
Scary play here, folks. Washington sucks. There’s no sugar-coating it. But maybe the Huskies don’t suck as much as they used to?
Washington is coming off of a three-game road stint in which it finished 1-2, including a valiant losing effort to Arizona. The Huskies have shown improvement offensively and lead the Pac-12 in both 3-point percentage and turnover rate through three games.
Cal has always been better than expected thus far, but that spans the entire season. The Bears have been competitive and look to be the superior team to Washington despite having an apparent dearth of talent.
This is just the Bears’ third road game of the season and second in Pac-12 play. Cal is 0-2 on the road this season and hasn’t been away from Berkeley since Dec. 5.
Washington, meanwhile, will get its first league game at home tonight against an opponent it knows it can defeat.
The Huskies won last year’s matchup in Seattle by 11 points. Mike Hopkins’ Syracuse zone stymied the Bears and held them to just 3-of-17 from 3-point land. That is the key matchup point tonight — the Bears are not good against zones.
Cal hasn’t played against much zone this season, but when it has, it has struggled. The Bears are scoring just 0.842 PPP against zones this year, which ranks in the 26th percentile nationally, per Synergy.
Cal doesn’t have many shooters to burn Washington’s 2-3, nor does it have outstanding offensive rebounders to punish the Huskies on the glass. Mark Fox wants to play off Jordan Shepherd drives or through Andre Kelly on the block — both actions more or less are limited by the zone.
Finally, Cal doesn’t push tempo. Teams can find success in the open floor by beating Washington’s zone down the court and not allowing it to get set. The Bears cannot and will not exploit that.
Washington can and will run. The Huskies rank inside the top 30 in tempo, and Cal has been burned more than occasionally in transition this season. If the Huskies can find an edge here and have a normal shooting night, they should emerge victorious.
Washington has more talent; Cal has better coaching. Let’s hope talent wins out and Washington walks away .500 in Pac-12 play.
Pick: Washington -1.5 (Play to -2)
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