CBB weekend betting preview: Michigan State primed to top Maryland
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Saturday is jam-packed with 19 games featuring a ranked opponent, including one of the toughest tests of the year for the nation's current No. 1 team.

Here's a betting breakdown of this weekend's top matchups.

No. 14 West Virginia at No. 1 Baylor

Baylor has been flawless since losing its second game of the season. It's won 21 straight contests by an average of 12.5 points with a 14-7 record against the spread. The Bears' defense ranks fourth in efficiency and is especially stout inside the arc, where opponents are shooting just 42.7%.

West Virginia should be concerned, as it's among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country and dreadful at the free-throw line, too. The Mountaineers' chief strategy is to create enough offensive volume - they lead the nation with a 40.4% offensive rebounding rate - and stifle opponents with their second-ranked defense.

That could work against Baylor. The Bears are particularly vulnerable on the defensive glass, which cost them the game early in the year against Washington. However, Baylor is also adept at grabbing its own misses and good enough on offense to exploit West Virginia's aggressive approach.

Ultimately, this is a game Baylor is suited to win, even if it's ugly. Seven of the Bears' 11 home games have gone under, as have six of the Mountaineers' eight road games. It's always risky laying the points in a low-scoring game, but Baylor should control this one.

No. 9 Maryland at Michigan State

Don't let the rankings fool you here; this is a close matchup. Unranked Michigan State is actually ninth in KenPom ratings, one spot ahead of Maryland due to its top-10 strength of schedule. That same schedule, though, has contributed to eight losses and knocked the Spartans back in the polls.

Six of those defeats came away from home, with the Spartans going 7-6 straight-up and a dreadful 2-11 ATS in that spot. Comparatively, they're 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS at home, losing only to Duke (third in KenPom) and Penn State (11th). Maryland is 3-4 SU and 4-3 ATS on the road, and it hasn't faced a KenPom top-10 team all year.

The Terrapins' fifth-ranked defense has assuaged some offensive concerns this year, but it's struggled to force turnovers and is below average at preventing ball movement. Enter Cassius Winston and the Spartans, who rank No. 1 in assist rate to fuel a top-20 offensive efficiency.

Michigan State's defense is also a top-15 unit and ranks fourth in effective field-goal percentage, which could spell trouble for the Terrapins, who have suffered losses in three of their four worst shooting days. The Spartans should likely be favored in this spot at home, but if oddsmakers give too much of a nod to the higher-ranked Maryland squad, take advantage of it.

No. 10 Seton Hall at Providence

This game appears to have upset written all over it - ranked teams have been tripped up in high-profile spots all year - but the data tells a different story. Top-10 teams are 47-17 SU and 35-29 ATS on the road against an unranked foe, with a 23-2 SU and 16-9 ATS record since Jan. 25.

While the Spartans are good enough to buck those trends against Maryland, this is a tough spot for Providence, which is 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 against top-10 opponents. That includes a matchup with Seton Hall on Jan. 22, during which the Friars trailed wire-to-wire in a nine-point loss. The issue in that game was the offense, as Providence shot 36% from the field and hit just four of its 24 threes (16.7%).

The Friars have lost nine of their 11 worst showings from the 3-point, which is bad news against a Seton Hall defense that ranks 29th in opposing 3-point percentage (29.7%) and ninth overall in defensive efficiency. The Pirates are also blocking 16.3% of shots - sixth-best nationally - and Providence has been prone to a good swatting.

Basically, everything comes up Seton Hall in this matchup. The Friars haven't proven capable of toppling elite teams and their offense could wilt in this matchup. Take the likely road favorite here in what should be a juicy betting spot.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

CBB weekend betting preview: Michigan State primed to top Maryland
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