College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Top Picks for Wednesday
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Boogie Ellis (USC)
- Ky McKeon dives into the Wednesday college basketball slate to provide three best bets.
- He first dives into two mid-majors then looks at a Pac-12 Conference matchup.
- Formulate your card below.
While the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Big East-Big 12 Battle take center stage, Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave is diving into two mid-major affairs and a Pac-12 Conference showdown for his Wednesday evening college basketball best bets.
Dive in below and formulate your card beyond the two "mainstream" events.
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.
Akron vs. Marshall
By Ky McKeon
Akron makes the 240-mile trek down I-77 to square off with Marshall, a team off to a 5-1 start overall and 4-2 against the spread. But just one look at Marshall’s schedule will tell you all you need to know about the significance of that start.
The Thundering Herd haven’t played a KenPom top-200 opponent all season, and the only top-250 opponent they played (Queens) ended in a narrow defeat.
On the flip side, Akron has faced three top-100 opponents and has an impressive 19-point win over Western Kentucky. The Zips are far more battle-tested.
The key for Akron tonight will be keeping the Herd out of transition. Marshall plays at the second-fastest pace in the country on offense and ranks 11th in initial field goal attempt rate in transition, per Hoop-Math.
Akron falls within the upper third in the country in points per possession allowed on the run and preventing transition opportunities.
But Akron also plays exclusively in the half-court on offense, which will slow the game down. No team has a lower rate of plays ending in transition than Akron, per Synergy.
Akron star big man Enrique Freeman will be tasked with stopping 7-foot-1 center Micah Handlogten, who has come on strong for Marshall in his first season.
Freeman, the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year, will be, by far, Handlogten’s toughest test to date. If Freeman can keep Handlogten off the glass, the game swings heavily in favor of the Zips.
Finally, if you’re a fan of trends, here’s an interesting one for you. Of current active coaches, Marshall head coach Dan D'Antoni holds the second-worst ATS record over the past three seasons (18-31).
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.
UNC Wilmington vs. Coastal Carolina
By Ky McKeon
Ken Pomeroy has a stat on his glorious college basketball website that measures “luck," basically how many wins a team has over its expected number of wins.
Last season, the luckiest team in America was Providence (perhaps you heard that narrative once or twice). The third-luckiest team was UNC Wilmington.
UNCW’s luck has carried over to the 2022-23 season. The Seahawks currently rank 13th nationally in the (perhaps somewhat subjective) statistic, which has allowed them to get off to a 4-2 ATS start.
UNCW grinds out wins because it makes very few mistakes — only 20 teams in the country have a lower turnover rate. The Seahawks are as scrappy a team as they come, and that showed in a recent three-game stretch against Missouri State, Vermont and North Texas — all wins against quality opponents.
Few mistakes plus scrappiness equals a tough team to beat.
Coastal has gotten off to a rough start this season, losing to USC Upstate and getting blown out by Missouri. The Chanticleers are missing one of their key pieces from the transfer portal, Antonio Daye, due to eligibility reasons, and that has clearly affected them early.
Coastal’s ball handling has been awful this year, which is bad news against a UNCW team that forces turnovers at a high rate. It also hasn’t faced a team that attacks the rim like UNCW.
As a bonus, there’s a current statistical anomaly going on with Coastal that is sure to regress.
UNCW has perhaps been “lucky” this season, but it doesn’t get luckier than Coastal’s free throw splits. D-I opponents are shooting just 51.6% from the line against the Chants (third-worst mark in the country), an impossible number that will snap back to the mean soon.
On the other side, Coastal currently leads the country in free throw percentage at 85.2% against D-I competition. If the season ended today, CCU would easily have the highest FT percentage of the past 25 years and likely one of the best rates of all-time.
Regression to the mean is coming.
USC vs. Cal
By Ky McKeon
There are many candidates for the worst power conference team in America this season — Louisville, Oregon State and Florida State come to mind — but few big-name squads have “enjoyed” sustained awfulness over the past several seasons like the Cal Bears.
Cal is 0-7 this year (2-5 ATS) with losses to UC Davis, UC San Diego, Southern and Texas State. The Bears turn the ball over at the eighth-highest rate in the land, rank 300th in 3-point percentage and have a 218th offensive rebounding rate despite being the seventh-tallest team in the country.
It’s bleak in Berkeley, so we’re fading Cal again tonight.
USC hasn’t been great this season, but it’s been far better than Cal.
While Los Angeles isn’t exactly close to Berkeley, the home court advantage in this matchup should be close to zero. Cal’s gym won’t be full, and several USC players have played on this floor before.
One of Cal’s only advantages this season over its opponents has been its size, but USC is even bigger and uses its height more effectively. The Bears should get swallowed up on the offensive end.
The talent discrepancy is massive tonight. USC has the two best players on the floor and far more depth, and nobody on Cal is stopping 6-foot-9 point guard Drew Peterson from finding his spots.
The one angle going for Cal tonight is an intangible one. This is the official start of Pac-12 play. For some teams, conference play is a chance to hit the reset button, and we’ve seen squads who have performed poorly in the non-conference do a complete 180 and thrive in conference.
But Cal isn’t likely to improve by leaps and bounds — its current level is probably the level we see for the remainder of the year.
The Bears are just 8-32 in conference play over the past two seasons.
Conversely, USC always seems to out-perform its analytics in Pac-12 play. Andy Enfield has led his Trojans to a 29-11 conference mark over the past two seasons, and his squad should handle the Bears by double digits tonight.