CBB Wednesday Picks: Take Arizona in showdown with Tennessee

Arizona made a case to be one of the national championship favorites during its run through nonconference play.

The Wildcats are up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 and they even garnered a first-place vote in Monday's poll.

The Pac-12 side puts its undefeated record on the line on Wednesday against Tennessee in a fascinating pre-Christmas, pre-conference play clash.

Tennessee disappointed in two of its biggest out-of-league contests, so it has all the motivation in the world to knock off a Top 10 team inside its own arena.

Arizona-Tennessee is the clear headliner on the Wednesday slate, but there are a handful of other intriguing clashes. There are also two mid-major teams with tremendous trends looking to keep those streaks alive.

Wednesday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 64-77-1 (2-4 Tuesday)

Green Bay at Minnesota (-16.5) (5 p.m. ET, BTN)

This is the only game a team from Minneapolis can win by 17 points over a Green Bay squad in December.

All kidding aside, the Golden Gophers are much better than the Phoenix out of the Horizon League, who have one win over a Division 1 team.

The big difference-maker here comes from three-point range. Green Bay ranks 348th on KenPom in three-point offense. Minnesota is 12th in three-point defense and 57th in three-point offense.

Ben Johnson's Golden Gophers should be in for an easy evening in the Twin Cities.

Wyoming vs. Stanford (-1.5) (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Wyoming-Stanford presents the classic case of nonconference records being a bit deceiving.

Wyoming is 9-1, but it was blown out in its only clash with a power-conference foe. Stanford isn't Arizona, but it is a battle-tested team coming into the Diamond Head Classic.

Stanford has losses to Baylor, Texas, Colorado and Santa Clara in road or neutral court games. Stanford should use some of that experience to handle the threat posed by the Cowboys.

Western Kentucky at Kentucky (Over 141) (6 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Western Kentucky and Kentucky come into Wednesday's rearranged game with plenty of confidence.

Kentucky was supposed to play Louisville, but its opponent changed due to COVID-19 issues within the Cardinals program.

The Wildcats put up 98 points on North Carolina in Las Vegas on Saturday. Western Kentucky posted 82 points against Louisville at home on Saturday.

The Hilltoppers should come into Rupp Arena with a good amount of confidence and they can be competitive for a half. Both teams rank inside the Top 65 on KenPom in two-point offense and Kentucky is in the Top 60 in a handful of offensive metrics.

John Calipari's team should eventually pull away in this contest, but WKU should take full advantage of the opportunity of playing in Lexington on short notice.

Pacific at California (-9) (6 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

California is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games.

The Golden Bears earned three of their last four victories by double figures. They also covered as an underdog against Utah.

Pacific's last four losses have come by nine points or more and it is hard to see the Tigers doing much in Berkeley with its two-point mismatch. Pacific ranks 285th in two-point offense on KenPom and Cal is 43rd in two-point defense.

Arizona (-104) at Tennessee (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

I love what Arizona has done in its first 11 games.

The Wildcats have a tremendous offense and they have a defense that ranks in the top 10 on KenPom in two-point, adjusted efficiency and effective field goal percentage.

Tommy Lloyd's team already proved it could win on the road at Illinois and it has neutral court wins over Wichita State and Michigan.

Arizona has one more chance to make a statement in nonconference play in Knoxville before it begins Pac-12 play. Tennessee struggled offensively in its two big matchups against Villanova and Texas Tech. The Vols failed to hit the 60-point mark in both losses.

Robert Morris at Saint Francis (PA) (Over 148.5) (7 p.m. ET)

When two mid-major teams hit the over at such a high rate as Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA) you have to bet the over in their head-to-head matchup.

Saint Francis is 8-0-1 to the over and it still hit the total despite putting up 48 points in a blowout loss to Illinois on Saturday. Illinois scored 106 points.

Robert Morris is 7-2 to the over and it is coming off its own 100-point concession to Bowling Green.

Hofstra at Monmouth (-4.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Holy let down spot Hofstra.

The Pride went down to Arkansas and beat the Razorbacks by eight points on Saturday. They now have to travel to Monmouth for a clash with the covering machine out of the MAAC.

Monmouth is 12-0 against the spread and 10-2 overall. It has only played three true home games, which makes the covering run more remarkable, and it won all of those games by double figures.

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