CBB Picks: Take Unders in TCU-Utah, Auburn-Washington

The Wednesday college basketball schedule is a smorgasbord of matchups.

Some teams have completely shifted to conference play, while others are testing themselves one more time out of conference.

A handful of PAC-12 teams fill the latter category. There are a few intriguing matchups taking place on the west coast.

There are also a few impressive mid-major teams on the slate that are expected to extend their dominance. UMass Lowell and Florida Atlantic may not on everyone’s radar now, but they could receive buzz late in the season when they win more.

Boston University at UMass Lowell (-7) (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

UMass Lowell is one of the better mid-major teams you do not know about.

The River Hawks are 11-2 going into Wednesday’s clash with Boston.

UMass Lowell ranks seventh on KenPom in two-point defense and it ranks in the top 60 in most defensive categories.

The strong defense partnered with an offense that averages 81.7 points per game and shoots 50.4 percent from the field is a terrific combination and one that Boston U. should fear.

Virginia Tech (-9) at Boston College (6:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Normally I do not like betting on a big road favorite in a conference game.

But the differences between Virginia Tech and Boston College are too large to ignore.

Virginia Tech is rated 24th in effective field-goal percentage and 19th in two-point offense. BC is 316th and 255th in those categories. The Eagles are also rated 345th in three-point offense.

The Hokies have wins over four Top 35 teams on KenPom. BC has three double-digit defeats to KenPom Top 100 teams.

UT Arlington (+4.5) at California (7 p.m. ET)

California is the last winless team in college basketball.

The Golden Bears can get their first win of the season on Wednesday, but I’m not trusting them as a 4.5-point favorite.

UT-Arlington comes in with a ton of confidence after beating San Francisco on the road on Monday.

UTA played well on the road against Oklahoma State and Texas, both of whom are in the KenPom Top 100.

The Mavericks can hang with Cal, and let’s be honest, you can’t really bet on Cal until it proves it can win.

Southern Utah at Colorado (7 p.m. ET, PAC-12 Network)

Over 154.5

Southern Utah has the second-best points per game mark in Division 1 at 91.

The Thunderbirds play at the fifth-fastest tempo and they put up 76 points on Kansas and 81 against New Mexico.

Colorado ranks 56th in tempo and it scored over 75 points in six of its seven victories.

Southern Utah needs to score around 70 points for the over to hit here. I think it well given how fast the pace is from both teams.

Northern Kentucky at Florida Atlantic (-13) (7 p.m. ET)

Florida Atlantic is another sneaky good mid-major flying under the radar.

The Owls are 10-1, they average 82.2 points per game and concede 63.4 points per game.

FAU won its last eight games by double figures and it held five of those opponents under 60 points.

Northern Kentucky averages 15 fewer points and seven fewer rebounds per game and it shoots 6.5 percent worse from the field compared to FAU.

TCU at Utah (9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

Under 141.5

TCU and Utah both rank in the Top 40 in a ton of defensive categories.

Utah ranks fourth in two-point defense and fifth in three-point defense. TCU is 20th and 39th in those categories.

Both teams give up 60 points per game. This feels like it will be a really good game in which points are hard to find.

Auburn at Washington (9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

Under 139

The same thought process applies to Auburn-Washington as it does to TCU-Utah.

Both teams rank inside the top 20 in two-point defense. They each give up under 65 points per game.

Auburn could use a bounce-back performance after losses to Memphis and USC. Washington should approach this as a prove-it game before it dives into Pac-12 play.

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