Friday College Basketball Six Pack: The Action Network & Three Man Weave’s Top Picks (Feb. 12)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Crawford.
- The Action Network experts met up with those at Three Man Weave on The Action Network Podcast to share their favorite college hoops picks for Friday's slate.
- Although there isn't much Power Five action, there's plenty of value across the board.
- Check out each individual pick complete with a betting breakdown below.
Collin Wilson, Mike Randle & Stuckey join forces with Jim Root, Ky McKeon & Matt Cox of Three Man Weave to deliver their College Basketball Six Pack of Picks via The Action Network Colleges Podcast every Friday.
Though there are just two Power Five games on Friday night, our experts see value in four mid-major matchups. Two of them have even agreed on the same side in one of those highlighted games.
Our six experts broke down each of their favorite bets on The Action Network Podcast.
Matt Cox: North Florida (+14.5) at Liberty
6 p.m. ET
I’m going with North Florida, a fan favorite of everyone’s last season. This team went head-to-head with Liberty atop the Atlantic Sun, both tied at 13-3 in the conference standings. Roll the calendar to 2021, and a lot has changed. Both teams had their nucleus gutted this offseason.
Liberty being the stronger program under the great Ritchie McKay there. It’s the cream of crop of the ASUN. On the other hand, North Florida has fallen down the totem pole.
But this team had some major injuries to start the year. Carter Hendricksen and Dorian James both missed upwards of three or four games, but they’re back and fully healthy.
The Ospreys now get their first crack of the season in a revenge spot against Liberty, and so far this year, we’ve seen a lot of these ASUN teams get amped to take down the former reigning champ Flames.
In the first legs of the back-to-back games in conference play, Liberty is 0-4 against the spread, not covering by an average of 12 points per game. It almost lost to Kennesaw State for crying out loud.
With North Florida from that angle, it has a great value with the fact that those injuries I mentioned earlier have not been fully factored in this line. It’s playing better as of late, and it’s a favorable matchup for North Florida.
It plays very extended zone defense that basically shuts down any and all 3-point shooting. This year’s rendition of Liberty is living and dying by the 3 ball. It’s going to have trouble scoring in this matchup, and I think if you’re catching anything more than 12 points, the Birds of Trey are a lovely play here.
The play: North Florida +14.5 (down to +12).
Collin Wilson: North Alabama (+6) vs. Bellarmine
7 p.m. ET
I’m going to go deep and take North Alabama. It’s on a three-game losing streak, both straight up and against the spread. All of those have been on the road, and now it’s home against a Bellarmine team that is on an eight-game winning streak and has covered in four of their last five.
The last four games came against two of the worst teams in the nation, so I’m really not that impressed. That’s No. 317 Jacksonville and No. 349 Kennesaw State, per KenPom.
I just haven’t been impressed with what Bellarmine has done, yet it keeps winning and keeps covering against really bad teams.
I think this is a great spot to catch North Alabama +6. It’s in a funky spot with four conference losses. This is a monster series of back-to-back games where the one seed is within reach, but also the eight seed.
Bellarmine’s defense sits at eighth in effective field goal percentage in the Atlantic Sun, second to last. That’s odd for being the top team in the conference. On the flip side, North Alabama fields the third-best 2-point defense, which is where Bellarmine works exclusively.
North Alabama has the defense to contain what Bellarmine does and force it to shoot 3s, where it ranks dead last in point distribution from beyond the arc in the ASUN.
I expect it to try and pound it inside against a Lions team that ranks second in blocks through conference play.
The pick: North Alabama +6.
Jim Root: Louisiana Tech (-1) vs. UAB
7:30 p.m. ET
I’m going to keep banging my head against the wall in Conference USA. The last time I faded UAB in our six-pack, it went down 24-1 to open the game. That sounds fun, why not do it again?
The thing about UAB is its schedule has been the Great British Baking Show: all cupcakes.
It has yet to play a KenPom top-100 team and only one top-150 squad. More importantly, the Blazers have only played two squads in the top 200 of offensive turnover rate. For a UAB team that’s super reliant on forcing turnovers, that’s huge.
UAB will face a Louisiana Tech team that takes care of the ball much better than a lot of previous competition. I think the Bulldogs can produce quality shots against a UAB defense that is still due for some regression. Foes are shooting just 30% from downtown. On the other end of the court, this is the first top-125 defense that the Blazers have seen.
I think they will really struggle to create points, especially if they are not not scoring off turnovers. This is just a solid spot for Louisiana Tech.
Five of its last six have been on the road while UAB has been at home for five of its last six. Now you flip it. This is a big chance for Louisiana Tech to take down the team atop the Conference USA standings.
Give me the Bulldogs -1, up to -2.
The pick: Louisiana Tech -1 (up to -2).
Stuckey: Louisiana Tech (-1) vs. UAB
7:30 p.m. ET
Jim, we are back. We had a two-week break, but this is my circled game as well. I agree with everything that you’ve said. I think UAB is a bit overinflated in the market now, and I assume this line will go up. I like Louisiana Tech to win this game. We are back together again, and it feels good.
The pick: Louisiana Tech -1.
Mike Randle: Louisiana Tech vs. UAB
7:30 p.m. ET
I am not picking a side in this UAB-Louisiana Tech game, but I am picking a total.
The Blazers and Bulldogs have strong defensive teams that can struggle mightily on offense. UAB has the second-slowest offensive pace of any team in Conference USA and defensively, it’s held opponents to 60 points or under in their last four.
Senior guard Quan Jackson and the Blazers’ on-ball pressure forces the highest turnover rate in conference play. When the Blazers are on the road, they don’t allow a ton of points either.
Louisiana Tech’s defense is actually ranked at a higher efficiency in KenPom than the Blazers, too, at No. 42 in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Bulldogs also hold their opponents to just a 28% mark from deep.
This will be a close battle between the two teams atop Conference USA. I don’t think that’s going to translate into high scoring. Projected as a one-point spread in KenPom, you heard Jim Root and Stuckey both talk about it, this is going to have valued possessions and be a close game.
The last time these two teams played, 117 and 130 points were scored, respectively. KenPom has it at 131. I bet it opens north of 130, but I don’t think it hits that.
The pick: Under 131.5.
Ky McKeon: New Mexico State (-6.5) at Seattle
9 p.m. ET
New Mexico State is a team dripping with talent that is starting to hit its stride. Get ahead of the curve, and get on the Aggies. They were the heavy favorites to win the WAC in the preseason, but COVID shutdowns have held them back.
Former Utah Ute Donnie Tillman is back and Jabari Rice has been excellent in the Aggies’ last two, including a 27-point win over Cal Baptist. I think they’re on the right track now.
New Mexico State is the 10th-oldest team in the country, and its top seven players on this roster rotation are all seniors and juniors. Chris Jans is also one of the best coaches in America. Frankly, what is not to like about this squad?
Now it gets the weakest Seattle team of Jim Hayford’s four-year tenure up there in the northwest. If Riley Grigsby is out, too, for Seattle, that’s just a nice bonus. I like New Mexico State here.
The pick: New Mexico State -6.5.