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Welcome everyone to my debut CBB Lines and Locks article! My name is Jake Faigus and I will be breaking down my Top Plays and Favorite Bets for most popular College Basketball slates. Wednesday’s CBB slate is loaded with games. See which games I like the most and why. Let’s Get to the action and WIN!

Villanova @ Seton Hall: This is a massive game from a bubble perspective in the NCAA Tournament. Joe Lunardi has Villanova on the bubble as the last four byes and then Seton Hall is a step below in the Last Four In. This game could be an elimination game between the two with just under a week left in the regular season. Eric Dixon is a difference maker for the Wildcats and leads the way in scoring at 16.1 points per game. The metrics love the Wildcats with the NET rankings having them at 26 and then KenPom has them at 24 overall. They have excelled on defense, allowing 65.4 points per game, which is good for 23rd in the country in scoring defense. They are allowing a total field goal percentage of 40.9% from the field and they are 13th in adjusted defense on KenPom at 95.6. Seton Hall is not as loved on the metrics at 60th in KenPom overall and they are 68th in the NET. Kadary Richmond does it all for them at the guard spot. He leads the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game, in assists at 4.8 per game, and in steals at 2 per game. They do have great wins in conference against both UConn and Marquette, but they need to get more consistent overall. Seton Hall needs this game more than Villanova, but the Wildcats are the better team and should cement themselves in the NCAA Tournament with this win on the road.

Pick: Villanova wins/covers

#4 Tennessee @ #17 South Carolina: Tennessee was facing a gauntlet to end the regular season and they already passed one of their tests with a huge win against Alabama on the road this past weekend. South Carolina on the road is up next and the Gamecocks have been nothing short of one of the best stories in college basketball this season. Tennessee is one of the best teams in the country and if they keep winning, they are going to be more widely seen as one of the 1-seeds included on that list with UConn, Houston, and Purdue. Tennessee is the 5th overall team in KenPom with the third ranked adjusted defense at 91.6. They are also allowing 67.4 points per game. The biggest difference for the Volunteers this season is that they have improved a lot on offense thanks in large part to Dalton Knecht. He has burst onto the scene this season and is averaging 20.6 points per game. He has been able to single-handedly carry the Volunteers if necessary and that was on display when he scored 39 points and 27 of those in the second half. South Carolina has hung their hat on mucking the game up this season and they did it already once to Tennessee this season on the road. The Gamecocks are 44th in KenPom and they are 42nd in adjusted defense at 99.8. Meechie Johnson has been a difference maker for the Gamecocks and is their best offensive player, averaging 14.2 points per game. Tennessee is on a roll right now and should get revenge against the Gamecocks after they beat them in Knoxville earlier this season.

Pick: Tennessee wins/covers

#2 UConn @ #8 Marquette: These are the two best teams in the Big East next to Creighton. Marquette will be without point guard Tyler Kolek in this game and they will not have him until the Big East tournament next week. They also have not had Oso Ighodaro due to injury and there is not as clear of a timetable surrounding him returning to the court. Marquette has been nothing but solid all season across the board. They are 14th in both the NET and in KenPom. Kam Jones is more than capable of filling an even bigger role with Kolek out and potentially Ighodaro. He already leads the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game. Marquette is firmly in the tournament as a 2-seed, but a win against UConn would go a long way for them to have an outside chance at a 1-seed. UConn has played like arguably the best team in the country at times this season. UConn won the national championship last season and lost some key players, but it has not mattered that much. Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer have emerged as the two best players for the Huskies throughout this season. Newton leads the team in points at 15.3, rebounds at 7.1, and in assists at 6 per game, while Spencer averages 14.8 points per game and then leads the team in three-point shooting at 45% and in steals at 1.4. When it comes to metrics, UConn is the third ranked team in the NET and is the second overall team in KenPom. They are 4th in adjusted offense at 126.7 and they are 17th in adjusted defense at 96.2. This is a prime spot for Marquette to get a massive win before the tournament, but with two of the better players injured in Kolek and Ighodaro it highly favors UConn even on the road. Expect Marquette to keep the game close, but UConn pulls away late.

Pick: UConn wins and covers

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