Friday College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s Top 3 Picks, Including Boise State vs. Colorado State (Jan. 29)
Loren Orr/Getty Images. Pictured: Boise State guard Derrick Alston (21).
- Friday's college basketball slate features 44 games, and Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave highlights his top 3 games that deserve bettors' attention.
- Check out Ky's three best bets for Friday, Jan. 29, including why he's backing the Boise State Broncos against the CSU Rams in Fort Collins, CO.
- Below, find Ky's comprehensive breakdown for each of his top three games to bet on Friday.
The Action Network has partnered with the guys at Three Man Weave to bring you college basketball best bets twice weekly. The trio of Matt Cox, Ky McKeon and Jim Root highlight the top three games they’re betting for the day’s college basketball slate.
Friday’s best bets have been provided by Ky McKeon as of Thursday night. Follow Ky and the rest of the crew on Twitter at @3MW_CBB, and download the Action App to easily track your bets for Saturday’s college basketball action.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
All listed odds have been updated as of Friday morning and via William Hill. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Friday night.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Milwaukee (6-5) vs. IUPUI (3-6)
You know the old adage “it’s hard to beat a team three times?” — yeah, it’s complete balderdash. Like Big Foot or my multiple girlfriends in high school, that saying is a complete fabrication and couldn’t be further from the truth. Tonight, Milwaukee looks to clap back at this myth and upend the Jaguars for the third time this season.
The Panthers completely dominated the first matchup on Jan. 8, pounding their Horizon cat cohorts by 24 points in the Klotsche Center. Hot outside shooting was the engine that powered Milwaukee’s victory, as the Panthers lit the net on fire with a 13-for-23 3-point performance.
Game 2 was tighter: IUPUI actually led at the half and led by as many as 7 points before a Panthers second-half rally righted the ship. In that game, it was the Jaguars’ turn to set fire to the nets in Klotsche, raining in 10-for-25 of their 3-point tries.
Game 3 will be held in Indianapolis. Common sense would tell us that IUPUI should be in store for a better performance. But, the Jaguars are coming off two absolute undressings at the hands of Wright State, who obliterated IUPUI by 30 points and 28 points in consecutive matchups one week ago.
In rematches of any kind, it’s important not to focus too much on past contests — instead, handicap this game as if these two teams are playing each other for the first time. So, how does IUPUI score? IUPUI scores primarily in transition, particularly off steals. The Jaguars rank 2nd in the Horizon in defensive turnover rate and steal rate thanks to their swift-handed backcourt.
Milwaukee is one of the most sure-handed teams — not only in the Horizon — but the entire country. Led by former Illinois point guard Te’Jon Lucas, the Panthers boast the 42nd-best offensive turnover rate in the nation.
In the first two matchups between these two schools IUPUI forced 5.5 steals per game — 2.2 steals below its season average. Milwaukee should limit turnovers in this game; and thus, limit one of IUPUI’s primary sources of offense.
On the other end of the floor, Milwaukee is a heavy pick-and-roll team; the Panthers score via their talented guards attacking the bucket off ball screens. IUPUI has been a sieve on the interior this season, allowing the highest 2PFG% in the conference. Additionally, the Jaguars send teams to the foul line at a high rate — perfect for a Milwaukee squad that boasts the second-best free-throw rate in the Horizon.
Milwaukee should succeed in beating IUPUI for a third consecutive time. The Jaguars don’t have enough firepower to beat a very menacing Panthers defense, nor the interior fortitude to stop Milwaukee from racking up points near the rim and at the foul line.
North Dakota State (9-7) vs. UM Kansas City (6-9)
North Dakota State has been one of the premier programs of the Summit over the past decade, capturing the league crown a handful of times and representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament four times since 2009.
The Bison sit near the top of the Summit standings once again with a shiny 7-1 record entering Friday’s game. Tonight the Bison are back home for the first time since January 9th. They host a Kansas City ‘Roos squad that currently sits just 2-4 in the league.
We’ll get to matchup notes in just a bit, but by far the No. 1 factor in tonight’s game is the health of Kansas City. The ‘Roos will be without leading scorer Brandon McKissic and likely also starting wing Marvin Nesbitt and starting guard Demarius Pitts.
McKissic is the key here. Without him on the floor, this offense will be completely lost. McKissic leads the squad in usage, runs point, and is the best shooter on the roster. When healthy, he rarely leaves the court, playing 34.2 minutes per game this season.
Kansas City’s offense has been a train wreck even with McKissic on the floor. The ‘Roos score just .968 points per possession, good for 269th nationally. This offensive problem, already magnified by McKissic’s absence, will be amplified even more when the ‘Roos match up with the second-best defense in the Summit.
North Dakota State is lockdown defensively. The Bison are big (28th-tallest team in the country per KenPom) and allow the lowest 3PFG%, lowest offensive rebounding percentage (OR%), lowest FT rate, and 3rd-lowest 2PFG% in the conference. The ‘Roos score off ball screens, post touches, basket cuts, and kick-outs — and the Bison have answers for them all.
On the other end of the floor, Kansas City doesn’t have the size to contain the likes of Rocky Kreuser, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound center averaging a muscular 15.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG. Expect the Bison to dominate the offensive glass and score at will through the block. If KC sends a double, the Bison have a bevy of shooters, led by junior Tyree Eady (50% 3P-shooter), to whom to kick the rock.
This game will be extremely slow. Both teams prefer to play in the half-court, and you can bet ‘Roos coach Billy Donlon will make that an even higher priority without his start point guard on the floor. Thankfully, the spread here is small; so even if our Bison score 60 points, there should be plenty of room to cover and win.
Boise State (13-2) vs. Colorado State (12-3)
Here’s hoping the Broncos got plenty of rest in their Fort Collins hotel rooms the past two nights. Boise State was the victim of an offensive onslaught carried out by Colorado State on Wednesday. The Rams were unstoppable, scoring 1.11 points per possession, shooting 65.6% from 2 and 40% from 3 against the shell-shocked Bronco defense. Wednesday’s game marked Boise State’s worst offensive performance of the year — a black smudge on an otherwise pristine 2020-21 season resume.
Even with Wednesday’s loss, Boise still sits atop the Mountain West standings, now just one game ahead of the Colorado State Rams. These two teams have played very different conference schedules, though. Boise has had the opportunity to beat up on league dregs New Mexico, San Jose State and Air Force, while CSU has played (and split series) with Utah State and San Diego State. Perhaps the Broncos came into the first leg of this two-game series a bit complacent, lulled to sleep by previous bouts against inferior competition.
Tonight, Boise wakes up.
A couple things happened in the previous game that we can shrug off as either poor luck or total anomalies. Boise shot just 9-of-15 (60%) from the charity stripe despite being the best free throw shooting team in the league (78.5% in Mountain West Conference play). The Broncos were also just 5-of-23 (21.7%) from downtown, a far-cry from their conference average of 34.1%. Shooting affects everything — when shots aren’t falling, confidence, interest, and energy wanes.
Expect Boise to bounce back in leg no. 2 of this series.
- The Broncos forced 19 turnovers against the clumsy CSU Rams in the previous matchup, a number that should be repeatable.
- Additionally, the usually-stout Boise interior defense, led by a sizable frontline, should put up more resistance vs. a CSU team that was simply on fire from everywhere on the court in the first matchup.
- Furthermore, we should expect the Broncos to fare better on the glass on both ends of the floor — they are one of the best rebounding teams in the country but did not show it on Wednesday.
- Lastly, shooting should return to normal as the Broncos get another crack at the Moby Arena floor.
From a macro-perspective, this Boise team oozes talent. The Broncos have played a soft conference schedule, but their win at BYU and battle at Houston were no joke. Derrick Alston is a Mountain West Conference Player of the Year contender, Abu Kigab and Emmanuel Akot are former Pac-12 wings, Mladen Armus started for a legit East Tennessee State squad, and Marcus Shaver was once one of the best scorers in the WCC.
That package of talent combined with a stellar coach in Leon Rice — a coach who has out-performed preseason expectations nearly every year — is a winning recipe for success.
Boise bounces back and bops CSU in this back-to-back bout.
Pick: Boise State PK (Play to BSU -1)