This article is part of our CBB Betting series.
Providence at DePaul Under 140½
Providence enters having played exceptional defense lately, holding each of its last five opponents to less than 66 points, with four of the teams not even cracking 60 points. There's a decent chance this streak will continue, as DePaul enters with the second-worst offense in the Big East, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings. DePaul struggled at Butler in its most recent contest, putting up just 59 points. It wouldn't be surprising to see a similar outcome in Saturday, as Providence's defense is comparable to Butler's, with the former's being ranked slightly higher, per KenPom. On the other side of the court, the Friars' offense is good enough to win games, but that's about it. Providence hasn't scored more than 70 points in its last five games, and it was only about a month ago when the Friars scored a season-low 40 points against Virginia on Nov. 23. DePaul's defense isn't bad by any means, so don't expect Providence to buck any scoring trends. I don't expect the winner to score more than 70 points, so I'll certainly take the under if it's hovering around 140 points.
San Diego State -3½ at UNLV
The Aztecs have established an elite defensive identity over the last decade, and this year's squad is once again continuing that tradition, ranked No. 10 in the country, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings. San Diego State hasn't allowed 60 points in six of its last seven games, and that likely will be the case again Saturday. UNLV isn't strong offensively, ranking No. 123 in the country in terms of its adjusted efficiency rating, so it seems unlikely it will be effective against the toughest defense it's faced yet. UNLV played a comparable defense in the form of UCLA on Nov. 27, and the Runnin' Rebels struggled to score, putting up just 51 points at home. Expect a similar outcome Saturday, as UNLV has struggled against good teams this season. The Runnin' Rebels have played five games against teams currently ranked in the top 100 of KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, and lost all five. Meanwhile, San Diego State has only lost three games all season, and all three came against teams currently ranked in the top 30 of KenPom's ratings. I'll gladly take the Aztecs in this matchup.
Virginia at Syracuse Over 128
Virginia's signature trait the last decade has been its defense, though this year's team is noticeably lacking compared to other teams under coach Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers' defense is ranked No. 55 in the country, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency rating, easily the team's lowest defensive rank since 2011, coach Bennett's second year with the team. This is welcome news for Syracuse, with its offensive attack ranked near the top of the conference, right behind Duke and North Carolina in terms of its adjusted efficiency rating. This will also be an interesting matchup because Syracuse likes to play a faster game, while Virginia is notorious for often playing the slowest pace in the country. This will be put to the test because if Syracuse builds an early lead, Virginia will need to play with more urgency late in the game. Virginia had a similar matchup on Nov. 29 against Iowa, and the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 44-30 halftime lead before ultimately winning 75-74. Considering the similar matchup on tap, I like our chances at hitting the over.
Nevada -10 vs. New Mexico
Nevada couldn't ask for a better opponent. The Wolfpack enter with an offensive attack that ranks No. 63 in the country and face a Lobos team that has the second-worst defense in the Mountain West, in terms of KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, and it also ranks in the bottom quartile of the country, for extra measure. Nevada shouldn't have any issues scoring, especially playing at home. UNM has played against three teams that rank in the top 100 of KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, and the Lobos lost by double-digits in all three games. All signs point to a comfortable win for the Wolfpack. I'm betting they'll have 10 points to spare when the dust finally settles.