It’s a new week, but the story remains the same: Saturday’s college basketball slate is packed, and we’re prepared to make the most of it.
The Action Network has partnered with the guys at Three Man Weave to bring college basketball best bets for the Friday and Saturday slates. The trio of Matt Cox, Ky McKeon and Jim Root highlight the top three games they’re betting for each day’s college basketball slate.
Saturday’s best bets have been provided by Jim Root. Follow Jim 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.
Saturday College Basketball Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|UT Arlington vs. Texas State||3 p.m. ET|
|South Dakota State vs. Oral Roberts||5 p.m. ET|
|Pacific vs. Loyola Marymount||7 p.m. ET|
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
UT Arlington vs. Texas State
|Tipoff||3 p.m. ET|
|(Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.)|
A rare total for the Weave!
These two just played on Thursday in Arlington, and that game landed 119, bolstered by a 10-point final minute. The rematch switches venues, but similar variables apply, prompting me to once again back the under.
The first key factor is Texas State’s pace.
The Bobcats do everything in their power to grind games to a halt, and that’s especially true without key guard Marlin Davis, their primary ball-handler. Without him, a larger burden falls on the diminutive Mason Harrell, and while he’s plenty capable, interim coach Terrence Johnson is wary of wearing down his undersized scorer.
It’s entirely possible this game ends up with 60 possessions (or fewer!) as TSU controls the pace at home.
The other item that oddsmakers have struggled to capture in lines is the emergence of Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu, a supernatural shot-blocker who joined UT Arlington midseason and has only just started receiving major minutes over the past month or so.
Like the local broadcasting team, I’ll simply refer to him as “KO,” and the long-armed, bouncy forward has impeccable timing, deterring any and all foes at the rim.
He’s also a complete non-factor offensively: he has more blocked shots (46) than points (40) this year. That compounds his effect on the under, aiding defenses on both ends.
Eight consecutive UT Arlington games have gone under the total in regulation, with only one actually sneaking over with the help of an overtime period. That coincides directly to KO’s rise in the rotation, and oddsmakers simply have not been able to fully capture his impact on games yet.
This edge may run out soon, but we’ll continue to ride it for at least one more matchup against a foe that is happy to play at a snail’s pace.
South Dakota State vs. Oral Roberts
|Pick||South Dakota State -3|
|Tipoff||5 p.m. ET|
|TV||ORU Sports Network|
|(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.)|
The Jackrabbits have long been a darling of the Weave, and for good reason: over the last two seasons, South Dakota State is one of the best against the spread squads in the country, racking up a gaudy 29-15 record versus the number.
That’s all under Coach Eric Henderson, who took over a brand new team last season and immediately molded it into the best team in the Summit.
His Jackrabbits are the league favorite again this season, and an extremely talented roster is just starting to mesh together again after looking disjointed for stretches last weekend following a two-week pause.
After tallying 51 second half points against South Dakota on Saturday night, the Jackrabbits now face the sieve that is Oral Roberts’ defense, an outfit that has been repeatedly gashed by far inferior attacks than South Dakota State’s.
It starts in the paint, where SDSU’s powerful duo of Doug Wilson and Matt Dentlinger should impose its will against ORU’s thinner, softer front line.
Kevin Obanor is a brute who will battle, but head coach Paul Mills lacks any sort of big man depth, instead playing stretchy wings like DeShang Weaver as the nominal power forward.
Wilson and Dentlinger play off each other beautifully, cutting and sealing at just the right moment as the other draws defensive attention.
Defensively, ORU’s inside-out duo of Obanor and silky-shooting guard Max Abmas are certainly cause for concern, but the Jackrabbits brought out the clamps in last Saturday’s second half as well, holding the visiting Coyotes to just four points over a six-and-a-half-minute period, enabling them to seize a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Henderson has length and depth to throw at both Obanor and Abmas, and even if they get out to a hot start, they should wear down as the game unfolds.
After a harrowing showdown with South Dakota, the Jackrabbits should re-assert their status as Summit powerhouse in this one, scoring at will against Oral Roberts and covering this short spread.
Pacific vs. Loyola Marymount
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBC Sports California|
|(Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images.)|
From a team makeup perspective, these two teams are mirror images of each other. Both are heavily reliant on their defenses, using physicality and grit to make up for offenses that lack weapons.
In fact, their KenPom rankings on each end are shockingly similar: Pacific checks in at 174th on offense, 82nd on defense, while LMU is an eerily similar 177th and 84th as of this writing.
With two such evenly-matched foes, this one comes down to three additional variables: LMU coming out of a COVID shutdown, coaching, and health.
No conference has been as devastated by recent COVID-19 pauses than the WCC, with seven teams having spent time twiddling their thumbs since the calendar turned to 2021.
It was especially bad over the past couple weeks, with half of the league’s 10 members dealing with COVID-19 issues — and that includes Loyola Marymount, which has not played since Jan. 23. The effects of each shutdown have varied across the country, but for an LMU team that was already struggling to score against non-Portland foes, it’s hard to see how it proves beneficial.
Additionally, I view this as a stark coaching mismatch. Damon Stoudamire has cultivated a clear identity of high effort and a hard competitive edge within the Pacific program, even nabbing the WCC Coach of the Year award last season. On the other sideline, new coach Stan Johnson is still adapting to his role, trying to assimilate the previous regime’s players into his own scheme.
Finally, a key LMU injury tips the scales even further towards the visiting Tigers.
Wing Dameane Douglas, a double-digit scorer and terrific rebounder, was recently lost for the season, robbing the Lions of a versatile offensive threat and a lockdown individual defender.
Pacific, meanwhile, is one of the rare teams that is at full strength at this point in the season.
These two teams have already played one absolute slugfest, with Pacific winning 58-49 at home back on Jan. 16. Perhaps there’s some fear of revenge on the road, but I trust the above factors more than that small angle.
Pick: Pacific +2.5 (Up to -1)