The Big East title race is confounding.
There are about five teams that can win the regular-season title and then in a few weeks we'll realize that we were silly to talk about this when Villanova has a two-game lead.
For now, the Big East remains one of the most fascinating conferences and it comes into view tonight with three big games, two of which I decided to bet on.
Providence sits at the top of the conference on winning percentage, but it is a massive underdog for a team of its stature for the trip to Xavier. The Friars may not win, which would bring more chaos to the title race, but they can certainly cover in Cincinnati.
The ACC title competition is also in the picture tonight with Miami and Florida State in action. Like Providence, Miami is an underdog that can be trusted to cover.
Wednesday CBB Picks
Overall Record: 121-155-1
Creighton (-3) at Butler (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
The basketball gods have not been kind to Butler lately.
The Bulldogs suffered four straight losses to Villanova, UConn (twice) and Providence and now have to face Creighton at home in a game they need to win for their own morale.
Unfortunately, that will not happen. The Bluejays just beat DePaul and St. John's, two bottom-half Big East teams, by double figures and they need a win to keep themselves in the logjam for first place.
The Bluejays average eight more points per game than their Wednesday hosts and they shoot five percent better from the field.
Providence (+8.5) at Xavier (6:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
I'm not sure if Providence can win at the Cintas Center, but I know it will keep the game close.
Providence enters Wednesday's game against Xavier with the best winning percentage in the Big East. The Friars only give up 64.1 points per game. Xavier sits around the same defensive mark.
Xavier should bounce back from its loss to Marquette with a home win, but the Musketeers are only 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games and they could face trouble from Providence's defense.
Northwestern at Michigan (-8) (6:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
I think it's time to start trusting Michigan again.
The Wolverines reeled off back-to-back wins over Maryland and Indiana, the latter of which was way more impressive since it came at Assembly Hall.
Northwestern has been frisky on the road in Big Ten play, but its recent results do not inspire any confidence. The Wildcats just lost by 20 on the road to Purdue and they are 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 games.
Michigan should use Wednesday's game as a continuation of its good form as it gears up for Michigan State on Saturday.
Miami (+5) at Virginia Tech (7 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Miami has been a great team against anyone other than Florida State.
The Hurricanes covered in their last three games as an underdog and they are the more reliable side than Virginia Tech.
The Hokies are coming off a tough loss on the road at North Carolina and they are just 2-6 in ACC play with conference victories over Notre Dame and NC State.
Miami is in still in the mix for the ACC regular-season title and it could use a win here to keep pace with Duke and Florida State.
NJIT at UMBC (-7.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
UMBC beat NJIT by 20 points on January 12.
That loss started a four-game losing streak in which NJIT lost all of its games by double digits.
NJIT is 1-5 against the spread in its last six games and it failed to score over 57 points in the last four contests. UMBC averages eight points per game more than NJIT, it has the better offense and it is playing at home, so I'm on the Retrievers.
VMI at Furman (-9) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Furman is 9-1 against the spread in its last 10 games.
The Paladins earned their last four wins by nine points or more and they rank seventh in three-point percentage and 16th in effective field goal percentage.
VMI ranks 316th in adjusted defensive efficiency and it is going up against a Furman defense that has not allowed 70 points in each of its last four wins.
Arkansas (-3.5) at Ole Miss (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network)
I'm back on the Muss Bus.
Arkansas is on a four-game winning streak and it covered in three of those contests.
I'm not a believer in Ole Miss whatsoever and I chalk up the recent win over Florida as an exception to its struggles. Arkansas is the better team in better form with a better offense, so I'm more than willing to put my hard-earned cash on the Hogs.