College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Top Picks for Friday
Photo by Getty. Pictured: Manny Bates (Butler)
We're nearing the end of Feast Week, but before we move to our regularly programmed hoops schedule, there's still plenty of value to be had in the sport to end this week, starting with Friday's slate.
Three Man Weave's Matt Cox takes us from two Bahamas games to Hawaii for the North Shore Classic to provide three total best bets.
Dive in below and formulate your Friday evening college basketball betting card now.
Friday's Three Man Weave College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Matt Cox is targeting from Friday'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.|
Oakland vs. Long Beach State
By Matt Cox
The Beach’s Big West title encore is off to a rough start in the 2023 campaign — granted, it’s early. Losing to crosstown titan UCLA is excusable, but the subsequent double-digit home loss to Montana State was head scratching.
The Beach are at their best in transition, where their collection of downhill drivers are tough to corral in the open floor. Joel Murray is the headliner here. His game embodies the offensive blueprint for the Beach: attack the rim at all costs.
However, Murray’s slow start is partly to blame for the Beach limping out of the gate. As Murray fully recovers from an offseason injury, his efficiency as a scorer and creator has not lived up to his 2022 standards.
Tonight, this matchup against Oakland presents another matchup concern.
The Grizz will showcase a one-of-a-kind matchup zone, which could completely thwart the Beach’s offensive flow. The zone will force the Beach to beat Oakland with passing and shooting, as opposed to dribble penetration, where the Beach thrive.
On Oakland’s side of the coin, the Grizz are every bit as talented as the Beach. Like Murray for LBSU, Jalen Moore is the catalyst for Oakland’s incendiary offensive attack. He, too, has been ailing early on with an injury, but head coach Greg Kampe believes he's nearing 100%.
With five days off to recoup and recover after Saturday’s overtime win over Eastern Michigan, bank on Moore having his best game of the young season while carrying the Grizz passed the Beach in the opening round of Nassau Championship.
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Butler vs. NC State
By Matt Cox
The Manny Bates bowl!
As transfer free agency sweeps through college basketball, we’ve witnessed numerous players exact revenge against their old teams. Bates, the former NC State defector, is now the anchor of Butler’s dramatically improved defense.
The Bulldogs were trounced by Tennessee in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis, but their defense held up its end of the bargain.
The Vols were limited to 1.03 points per possession. Earlier this year, Butler kept Penn State’s prolific offense in check, too (0.97 points per possession). Against top-flight offenses, Butler is more than qualified to get stops.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are a by-committee attack.
They were stymied by Tennessee two days ago, but today’s opponent will be a far easier challenge. Last year, NC State’s interior defense was among the worst in the power conference landscape, ruined by Bates’ season ending injury.
Head coach Kevin Keatts improved the defense with transfer reinforcements this summer, but the Pack are still weak up front.
Thad Matta will aim to punish the thinner Wolfpack inside, playing inside out through Bates. Sophomores Simas Lukosius and Jayden Taylor are precise marksmen capable of making the Pack pay when they collapse on Bates inside.
On the other end, the Wolfpack are loaded with their own stable of snipers.
However, the lack of balance may spell doom in the Imperial Arena. This venue, which looks more like a ballroom than a basketball stadium, is the antithesis of a shooter’s paradise. NC State’s over-reliance on the long ball is not a reliable pathway to points, and scoring inside over Bates will be a chore.
Southern Utah vs. Texas State
By Matt Cox
We go way west to island time for our final best bet of Friday.
Texas State’s resume, to date, may seem accomplished on the surface. Wins at Rhode Island and at Cal are no picnic for any mid-major program.
However, the quality of those two victories is eroding with each passing day. Cal is falling into power-conference oblivion while Rhode Island is a serious work in progress at this juncture.
In addition, Texas State’s once vaunted defense doesn’t look as impenetrable as it was last season. The primary reason is the absence of Nighael Ceaser, Texas State’s primary rim protector. Head coach Terrence Johnson earned a reputation as a defensive guru last year, but Ceasar had a major hand in that.
Ceaser’s absence is especially problematic in the face of Texas State’s sputtering offense, which mustered 61 and 59 points, respectively, against UTSA and Cal over the last two games.
Southern Utah is ripe to expose these warts. Despite an impressive start, the Thunderbirds are still flying under the radar. Three of their victories came against non D-I opponents, but SUU battled admirably against New Mexico and Kansas in its only two official games.
The Thunderbirds losing by six points to the defending national champions — despite shooting only 32% from 3-point range — should get everybody’s attention.
Tonight, they seek their first official D-I win of the young 2023 campaign against a vulnerable Texas State opponent. This could be a runaway and the first sign that the Thunderbirds are in store for a special 2023 season.