College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s Top Picks for Wednesday
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Brian Dutcher (San Diego State)
After a mini-holiday break, college basketball was back yesterday with a small slate.
On Wednesday, the sport is back in full force, with 13 ranked teams in action and conference play kicking into gear across the nation.
Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave is diving into the slate by offering up three best bets, so read below for the top college basketball odds and picks for Wednesday.
Wednesday’s Three Man Weave College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Ky is targeting from Wednesday’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.|
Tennessee vs. Ole Miss
By Ky McKeon
It’s a scary proposition to fade a top-five team, especially one as dominant defensively as Tennessee has been. In KenPom’s 21-year site history, the Vols currently have — by far — the best Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
But the line for today’s early-evening contest is too high.
Ole Miss’ analytical ranking tanked after an awful home loss to North Alabama, but this is still a talented team capable of competing in the SEC.
Ole Miss has actually fared well against Tennessee under head coach Kermit Davis. In four contests, Ole Miss is 1-3 straight up, but two of those losses were close: one by just two points and one in overtime. At home against the Vols, Davis is 1-1 with an even scoring margin.
Offense hasn’t been Ole Miss’ strong suit this season, so scoring against the best defense in the land might prove difficult. The Rebels will need to manufacture points off the offensive glass, an area in which they excel.
They’ll also need star point guard Daeshun Ruffin to rediscover his swagger. Ruffin missed the first seven contests of the season while recovering from an ACL tear, and has slowly been worked back into the rotation of the last five games.
Extended time off after the UNA game will hopefully further his recovery and have him ready to shine in SEC play.
Defensively, Ole Miss needs to keep the nation’s best offensive rebounding team off the boards, something it can do with its size advantage. Playing without fouling will also be key — the Vols rely on trips to the free-throw line for a major part of their offense.
Ole Miss will roll out a healthy helping of zone tonight, which could cause issues for a Vols offense that ranks in just the 36th percentile in points per possession against zones.
Look no further than Tennessee’s 2021 NCAA tournament loss to Oregon State for how mightily the Vols can struggle against a zone.
Tonight’s a chance for Ole Miss to bounce back from an ugly loss, start conference play on the right foot and hand a contender a loss in the friendly confines of the Pavilion.
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Xavier vs. St. John’s
By Ky McKeon
The Johnnies have amassed an 11-2 record, but there’s more than meets the eye. Only two of those wins came against KenPom top-100 teams and zero have come against top-80 teams.
St. John’s was down 13 to Temple in a game it narrowly won, and needed overtime to beat Syracuse after trailing by 10 in the second half. In the two games the Red Storm have played high-quality competition, they haven’t come within double digits — Iowa State beat them by 11 and Villanova by 15.
On the flip side, Xavier has looked excellent this year, scoring victories over Florida, West Virginia, Seton Hall and Cincy, while narrowly losing to full-strength Indiana.
The Muskies boast a top-10 offense and currently rank third nationally in 3-point percentage. The machine has been well-oiled under not-so-new head coach Sean Miller.
To beat St. John’s on the road, Xavier will have to handle ball pressure. The Johnnies are long, quick and athletic and consistently rank near the top of the national steal rate charts.
Multiple ball handlers share the floor at once for Xavier, including UTEP transfer Souley Boum, future pro Colby Jones and the underrated Adam Kunkel. These three upperclassmen should have the poise to not get rattled by St. John’s aggressiveness.
And while the Johnnies can be fierce at the point of attack, their defense tends to break down with ball movement. Xavier shares the ball as well as any team in the country, and all five players on the floor are threats to score.
St. John’s relies on transition and the offensive glass to score points. Xavier’s strength and size can combat the latter, and thus far the Muskies have been solid preventing open-floor opportunities.
Taking care of the ball and not allowing live ball turnovers is the biggest key to stopping the Johnnies’ transition attack.
Take Xavier to cover this short spread tonight.
Air Force vs. San Diego State
By Ky McKeon
Air Force has quietly put together an impressive start to the season. The Falcons currently sit at 9-4 with just one truly “poor” effort and have risen over 60 spots in KenPom since opening night.
It’s been the best version of Air Force basketball we’ve seen since 2013.
Shooting has been the catalyst to Air Force’s success. Head coach Joe Scott’s methodical Princeton-style offense relies on crisp ball movement, cutting and knockdown shooting.
Thus far, the Falcons rank 15th nationally in effective field goal percentage and sixth in assist rate.
Two freshmen, Rytis Petraitis and Corbin Green, have been key to the hot star. The two forwards have proven to be excellent defenders, passers and scorers.
Returnees Jake Heidbreder and Camden Vander Zwaag are both shooting over 40% from deep, and star sophomore Ethan Taylor isn’t far behind at 38%.
It’s a more dangerous Air Force team than we’re accustomed to seeing.
Tonight, Air Force plays the best team in the Mountain West. Under the latest Scott tenure (he was also the head coach in the early 2000s), the Falcons haven’t fared too well against the Aztecs. But the sample size is small, and those teams weren’t nearly as good as this year’s bunch.
The Falcons will attempt to slow this game to a crawl and use every second of the shot clock offensively. If they can shoot a normal percentage from deep and work their way to the foul line off back-cuts, they can keep this game within 15 points for the duration.
SDSU’s strength is its defense, but Air Force’s offense is tough to prepare for — it’s hard to simulate an attack that uses improvisation to beat its opponents.
On the other end, SDSU has struggled to score this season, and Air Force’s defense has been solid.
While shooting regression is likely coming on both sides — SDSU should improve upon its poor 30.4% outside clip and Air Force won’t hold opponents to 24.8% all season — the Falcons have enough length across the board to bother the Aztecs’ shooters and compete on the glass.
Air Force doesn’t play anyone under 6-foot-4, and all five players on the floor can man several spots.
While we shouldn’t expect Air Force to win outright at Viejas Arena, we should expect a relatively close and competitive contest.