College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s Top Picks for Wednesday
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Emanuel Miller (TCU)
With three all-ranked matchups taking place — including a top-15 SEC showdown — we have a juicy slate on Wednesday evening in college basketball.
Jim Root of Three Man Weave lays out his three best bets below for three power-conference matchups.
So, dive in immediately and find the top college basketball odds and picks for Wednesday.
Three Man Weave’s Wednesday College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Jim 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.|
Indiana vs. Penn State
By Jim Root
Penn State is something of an anomaly in Big Ten play.
Micah Shrewsberry does not have a dominant big man like so many league counterparts. Instead, the Nittany Lions excel via tremendous spacing, copious shooting and a brilliant on-ball maestro in Jalen Pickett.
That is in direct contrast to Indiana’s bully ball, where Trayce Jackson-Davis is as dominant a force at the rim as any non-Zach Edey player in the country.
That stylistic contrast makes for an intriguing matchup. Which one will prevail?
Shrewsberry is well aware of his team’s lack of size. He tries to pack the paint defensively and force foes to shoot over the top after long possessions.
These Hoosiers can shoot, but they strongly prefer to get inside. They rank just 306th in 3-point attempt rate.
Pace-wise, Penn State will make a point to slow the game down. The Nittany Lions never turn the ball over (No. 1 nationally in turnover rate, per KenPom), preventing easy transition opportunities. They also totally eschew the offensive glass, instead preferring to get back and set up defensively.
Personnel limitations directly impact this handicap. The Hoosiers are missing Xavier Johnson, a key offensive initiator, and Race Thompson, another spearhead of the rim assault.
Johnson is a particularly big loss, as Indiana’s offense has often struggled to find direction with only Jalen Hood-Schifino in charge.
Even without those two, Indiana’s defense is still quite stout. Pickett is devastating against small defenders on the block, but the Hoosiers have matchup options against his post-ups, which are a go-to play for the Nittany Lions.
That short-circuits one of Penn State’s best routes to offense.
Additionally, IU’s big men can cover on the perimeter, somewhat negating PSU’s small-ball edge.
Without Johnson and Thompson, I expect IU’s offense to look disjointed enough to keep efficiency at a reasonable level. Penn State’s efforts to shorten the game — the Nittany Lions just played a 62-possession crawl against Purdue — should also help.
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TCU vs. Texas
By Jim Root
Few back-to-back results offer more whiplash than Texas’ two most recent games. First, it got absolutely torched at home, losing 116-103 to Kansas State in one of the season’s most incendiary shootouts.
The Longhorns followed it up with a true rock fight, outlasting Oklahoma State, 56-46, in Stillwater. In that second game, the teams combined to score 102 points — yes, one less than Texas scored in a loss four days prior. Huh?
What’s the real version of the Chris Beard-less Longhorns?
It’s hard to say at this stage, but I tend to believe Texas is still somewhat overvalued based on its fantastic early-season performances.
Without Beard in charge, this is not the same team that punked Gonzaga. The Longhorns also amped up their rating by smoking Houston Christian by 51, UTRGV by 37 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff by 45.
Since Beard initially got suspended, the Longhorns are 2-5 against the spread. That supports the “overvalued” notion.
On the other end of the spectrum, TCU has been far better than its analytical rankings would indicate. The Horned Frogs struggled mightily in three buy games to open the year. But they have been a force since, going 11-1 (8-3-1 against the spread) over the last 12 games.
This is mostly a number-based handicap. Given recent trajectories, I view these teams as equals at worst, and TCU might even be slightly better at this stage.
Even factoring the typically valuable Big 12 home court, this number is still too high. The Horned Frogs have a real chance to win outright, so getting six points offers terrific value.
Louisville vs. Clemson
By Jim Root
Five games into the conference season, and the sole leader atop the ACC standings is…Clemson? Considering the preseason hype for North Carolina, Duke and Virginia, that’s an early stunner.
At the other end of the spectrum lies Louisville at 0-5. The Cardinals’ disastrous season has become something of a curiosity in the college basketball world. Just how badly can this go? Will Kenny Payne go winless in league play in his first season?
Though an 0-20 outright record is certainly plausible, the Cardinals have shown some life against the number. Against ACC opponents, Louisville is 3-2 against the spread (3-0 in the last three), a stark improvement from its early-season foibles.
ACC play has brought new motivation, and a chance to unseat the conference leader provides an added incentive. Louisville is not totally talent-deprived, but the Cardinals’ effort was often lacking early in the year.
That should not be an issue Wednesday night.
Clemson is also a rare decent matchup for the Cardinals. The Tigers get most of their offensive production from PJ Hall and Hunter Tyson, two versatile frontcourt threats. Louisville has multiple options to defend that duo, all of whom are capable of playing inside or out.
Meanwhile, Clemson lacks multiple backcourt playmakers, an area where Louisville struggles mightily.
Offensively, the Cards are unfathomably sloppy. They rank dead last in the country in non-steal turnover rate (travels, errant passes, shot clock violations, etc.), per KenPom.
Fortunately, Clemson will not add to that issue, as the Tigers don’t pressure much. Again, like Louisville, Clemson is tilted more toward the frontcourt from a roster construction perspective.
Given Louisville’s recent upward trajectory (four straight ATS wins) and the appealing matchup, I’m backing the Cards. Clemson has been a juggernaut, but 17 (or 16) is a huge number to lay in league play.