CBB Picks: Run with Arizona Over, USC & Xavier As Double-Digit Favorites

Three of the four Top 25 men's basketball programs in action on Wednesday night are deserving of a bigger spotlight for their strong starts.

The Xavier Musketeers, Arizona Wildcats and USC Trojans have a single loss between them and they are all double-digit favorites for their matchups with weaker mid-major foes.

USC and Xavier's matchups shape up for them to cover the spreads in the teens. USC hosts a defensive-minded UC Irvine team that doesn't score well on the road, while Xavier will try to add Morehead State to the list of opponents it has frustrated.

Arizona has been one of the best teams for over bettors this season. The Wildcats are averaging 90 points per game and have showed no signs of slowing down. That trend should continue tonight against a Northern Colorado side that does not have the best defense.

Below is a further breakdown on those three games and a few other clashes that made my Wednesday night card.

Wednesday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 53-65 (4-4 Tuesday)

Howard at Georgetown (Over 158) (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

A total close to 160 sometimes isn't worth it, but this one is.

Howard and Georgetown both rank in the Top 20 in offensive three-point percentage and outside of the Top 175 in defensive three-point percentage on KenPom.

Georgetown is 42nd in adjusted tempo and Howard is 63rd. That only adds to the potential for a high-scoring game. Howard is also playing with fresh legs after an 11-day break. That could help the Bison stay close with the Hoyas, who are coming off an emotional win over Syracuse on Saturday.

Florida Atlantic at VCU (-10) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

VCU's defense has been fantastic in the first month of the season.

The Rams rank first on KenPom in three-point defense and they sit inside the Top 25 in seven other defensive metrics.

Florida Atlantic ranks inside the Top 10 in effective field-goal and two-point percentage, but most of those totals came against teams outside the Top 100 on KenPom. Miami is the only power-conference team the Owls have faced in 10 games.

Akron (+150) at Wright State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Wright State has been flat out awful.

The Raiders have a single win against a Division 1 opponent and that came against 5-5 Purdue Fort Wayne.

Wright State allows 80 points per game, which is 20 more than its Wednesday opponent concedes. Akron held teams to 66 points or fewer in five of its six victories.

Akron can win this game with defense and Wright State can't. That's why I'm willing to take the Zips outright.

South Dakota State at Missouri State (Over 156) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

South Dakota State boasts one of the most efficient offenses in the country.

The Jackrabbits are second in offensive three-point percentage, seventh in effective field-goal percentage and 12th in offensive adjusted efficiency on KenPom.

South Dakota State is averaging 89.3 points per game and it gives up 76.9 points per game. The over is 6-1 in its last seven games.

Missouri State ranks inside the Top 70 in six different offensive metrics, so it can go head-to-head with the Jackrabbits in a high-scoring contest.

Morehead State at Xavier (-15.5) (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

Xavier is off to a quietly impressive 9-1 start.

The Musketeers' only loss is to Iowa State and it is coming off a 20-point win over cross-city rival Cincinnati on Saturday.

Only Oklahoma State and Ohio State produced more than 65 points against the Musketeers in their nine victories. They held six programs to 60 points or fewer.

Xavier's defense should be on full display against Morehead State, who is 1-4 away from home. The Eagles lost by 23 to Auburn and fell by 20 to Mississippi State. The gap in quality between the Musketeers and Eagles should be on display right away.

UC Irvine at USC (-11.5) (9 p.m. ET)

USC is also not getting talked about as much as it should.

The Trojans are 10-0 with a pair of Pac-12 victories and a neutral-site win over San Diego State.

Andy Enfield's side has eight double-digit victories. Washington State and Temple are the only programs that stayed within 10 points of it.

UC Irvine could test USC with its strong defense, but it has not done enough offensively in its two true road games. The Anteaters totals 106 points in losses to New Mexico State and Fresno State.

Northern Colorado at Arizona (Over 154.5) (9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

Arizona is 7-2 to the over and 9-0 straight up.

The Wildcats will challenge UCLA and USC to be the best team in the Pac-12.

Wednesday night should feature a continuation of Arizona's terrific start. It ranks third in adjusted tempo and 16th in adjusted efficiency.

Northern Colorado won't upset Arizona, but it could run with the Wildcats for at least a half. Northern Colorado is 5-0 to the over in its last five games and it is shooting 45.6 percent from the field.

Arizona will eventually pull away from its Big Sky foe and it will do so with its typical high-scoring approach.

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