Michigan vs Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has been one of the worst teams in the ACC over the past several seasons, particularly on the defensive end. The Panthers' defense ranked No. 122 in adjusted efficiency in 2021, then fell to No. 147 in 2022. This season, KenPom currently has them up to No. 98 through two games, but history suggests that Pittsburgh's defense is liable to drop down in the rankings. Pittsburgh held Tennessee Martin to 58 points in the opener, but then played West Virginia, a team closer to their level, and allowed 81 points in a blowout. The Panthers are now tasked with facing a Michigan team that ranks higher on offense than West Virginia, but slightly lower on defense.
Led by junior superstar Hunter Dickinson, Michigan's offense is currently ranked No. 22 in KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings. This is hardly surprising considering that Michigan brought in the 11the best recruiting class in the country, per 247sports, so it certainly has the talent capable of being one of the best scoring teams in the country. The Wolverines scored at least 75 points in each of their first two games, and given the defense they're facing, they seem like a good bet to run up the score once again.
It's also worth pointing out that, unlike past seasons, Pittsburgh is playing with a much quicker tempo on offense, ranking No. 46 in shortest average possession length, per KenPom. Michigan also likes to run, ranking right behind Pittsburgh at No. 47 quickest offensive tempo in the country.
The Wolverines are more than capable of covering a double-digit spread, but we also can't skip over the fact that they just allowed 83 points to Eastern Michigan in a five-point victory on Nov. 11. All things considered, a high-scoring game seems like the most likely outcome in this matchup. I'll take the over.
College Basketball Best Bet: Over 140.5
Iowa at Seton Hall
This appears to be an even matchup at first glance, but a couple of things stand out after taking a closer look.
Iowa's offense, once again, ranks among the best in the country, currently ranked at number three per KenPom's adjusted efficiency rankings. Iowa has finished each of the past three seasons ranked in the top five in adjusted offensive efficiency among all D1 teams, giving us plenty of reason to believe this year's offensive efficiency rating isn't a fluke. Iowa's offense is substantially better than Seton Hall's, which ranks at No. 54, not a bad ranking but this disparity could come into play in a game that comes down to the final possessions. The other key matchup note is Seton Hall's penchant for turning the ball over. The Pirates have been incredibly sloppy on offense this season, ranking in the bottom 15 percent in the country in offensive turnover rate. This trend will likely haunt them in this matchup, as Iowa's defense ranks in the top 15 percent of the country in defensive turnover rate.
In what is sure to be a close game, I'll take the team with elite offensive proficiency and a knack for causing turnovers on defense. The Hawkeyes fit the bill.
College Basketball Best Bet: Iowa +1
Gonzaga at Texas
According to KenPom, this matchup features the No. 1 offense in the country, Gonzaga, traveling to face the No. 1 defense in Texas. Considering the Bulldogs are on the road for this one, it's hard not to give the edge to the Longhorns' defense. On the other end of the court, these two teams match up almost dead even as well, with the Longhorns' offense ranked No. 12 against the Bulldogs' defense ranked No. 14.
Gonzaga may have escaped with a victory against Michigan State back on Nov. 11, but the teams effectively played an even game on a neutral court. Now, the difficulty will be turned up a couple of notches. Not only is Gonzaga now playing in a true road game, but the opponent is even tougher, as Texas is ranked number two overall in adjusted efficiency. Furthermore, if Texas' defense keeps up its current level of play, it will be the best defense on paper in the last several years. In fact, Texas' current adjusted defensive efficiency rating (84.3) would be the best defensive rating since the 2019 Texas Tech defense (84.1), a team coached by current Texas head coach Chris Beard. The 2019 Red Raiders advanced to the national championship game before losing to Virginia in overtime, so this current Texas team shows significant promise if it keeps performing at this rate.
Gonzaga is a tough team to bet against, but Texas is at home with an experienced roster. The Longhorns should come out of the gate ready to play. In a pick 'em situation, I like the home team and its exceptional defense.
College Basketball Best Bet: Texas +1
Wednesday Night College Basketball Best Bets:
Here's a recap of my best college basketball bets for Wednesday night:
Michigan vs Pittsburgh over 140.5
Iowa Hawkeyes +1
Texas Longhorns +1