Here are our three favorite NCAA Basketball Picks from Wednesday's betting slate which includes a whopping total of nine ranked teams in action (though none of them against one another).
No. 2 Virginia vs. NC State
Virginia (21-1, 9-1 ACC) has the nation's top defense and just held No. 9 Louisville to only 47 points in a big home win on Saturday. However, the Cavaliers aren't stellar on offense and now they figure to be worse with the loss of arguably the team's best all-around player, junior guard Justin Anderson. He was hurt in that Louisville game and it turned out to be a fractured finger on his shooting hand. Anderson had surgery Monday and is out at least the rest of the regular season and perhaps won't be back for the start of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavs should be able to get to the Sweet 16 without Anderson, but they are going to need him for a Final Four run. Anderson, 6-foot-6, averages 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds. He shoots an excellent 48.4 percent from long range and is a fantastic defender. NC State (14-10, 5-6) doesn't have a shot at an at-large NCAA Tournament bid as things currently stand but might get on the bubble radar with a win here. Alas, NC State enters having lost four of five. The Wolfpack will either be fresh or rusty as they haven't played since Feb. 3, a loss at Wake Forest. Virginia has won seven straight in this series, including 61-51 at home on Jan. 7.
NCAA Basketball Pick: 'Under.' It has hit in six of Virginia's past nine games and five of NC State's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The 'under' is 6-1 in the past seven meetings at NC State.
Indiana vs. No. 19 Maryland
It's the Hoosiers' first visit to College Park as a co-Big Ten member with Maryland. Indiana (17-7, 7-4) is just 2-3 in its past five games as the offense has struggled a bit. IU leads the Big Ten and is 12th nationally in scoring at 79.8 points per game but hasn't reached that number in the past five games. Indiana is also ninth in the country in 3-point field goal percentage (40.9) and 12th in 3-point field goals made per game (9.0). The Hoosiers are led by star freshman James Blackmon Jr., who is fifth in the conference in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Maryland (19-5, 7-4) has alternated wins and losses over its past six games so is due a win, apparently, as the Terps come off a 71-55 defeat at Iowa on Sunday. Maryland's leading scorer is also a freshman: Melo Trimble at 15.4 points per game. However, the Terps offense is averaging just 62.6 points in the past five games, which would be one of the worst marks in the Big Ten over the full season. On Jan. 22, Indiana hosted Maryland with a total of 145.5 and won 89-70. The Hoosiers were 15 of 22 from long range.
NCAA Basketball Pick: 'Over.' It has hit in four straight Indiana road games and seven of its past eight Big Ten games.
No. 6 Villanova vs. Providence (136.5 at Pinnacle)
Villanova (21-2, 8-2) looks to be the clear team to beat in the Big East, although Butler is just a half-game behind in the conference standings, and the Wildcats could grab a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they win out. I say win out because the Big East is now considered a slightly lesser conference. Nova has won four straight games since a 20-point loss at Georgetown and all four victories have been by at least 13 points. In that streak, the Wildcats have limited foes to 52.5 ppg and have moved atop the Big East in scoring defense (62.0 ppg) and defensive field goal percentage in league contests (.399). While Villanova is the defending Big East regular-season champ, Providence won the conference tournament last year. The Friars (17-7, 7-4) are an NCAA Tournament team right now, but they don't have a ton of wiggle room. They also have lost two of their past three games. Providence is 1-1 against ranked teams this year, getting blown out by Kentucky and winning at Georgetown on Feb. 4. Ed Cooley will coach Providence here after he left Saturday's loss at Xavier due to an unspecified condition, which required a trip to the hospital. Another important fact to consider before placing your NCAA Basketball pick is that his is the first meeting of the season between the schools.
NCAA Basketball Pick: 'Over.' It has hit in seven of Villanova's past 10 vs. teams with a winning record and five straight Providence games at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The 'over' is 5-2 in the past seven meetings in Providence.