Today's Top Picks: Strong play for Providence-Butler, plus two huge favorites worth consideration

It is rough out here for No. 1 seeds. As CBSSports.com's own Matt Norlander pointed out Tuesday evening, 11 conference tournaments have concluded. Following Gonzaga's surprising loss to Saint Mary's, only two of the No. 1 seeds in those tournaments have gone on to win the tournament.

That means a few different things. The first of which is that the NIT is going to be deep this season, as regular season champions that don't win their conference tournaments receive an automatic bid in the tournament. The second is that anything can happen in a one-and-done environment.

It also means that some teams on the bubble of making the tournament this season are extremely nervous right now. In situations like the West Coast Conference, where Gonzaga was going to the dance no matter what and Saint Mary's didn't have a strong resume when the No. 1 seed loses, it takes away an at-large bid from somebody. Which makes these early-round games in conference tournaments even more important as teams on the bubble need to add every win they can to their resume.

So there's plenty on the line Wednesday night across the country, and with all that in mind, here are my three top picks (odds via Westgate) for tonight's college basketball action:

1. Providence vs. Butler: First-half Under 63

Big East Tournament in New York: 7 p.m. ET, FS1

I don't know what it is, but first-half unders have been terrific bets in Big East Tournament games at Madison Square Garden. I don't know if it's the pressure of playing at The Mecca of Basketball, the sightlines that take time to adjust to, or if maybe James Dolan is trying to have the players ejected, but it's just how things typically go. Providence has been the best defense in the Big East during conference play, which should only help matters.

What about the huge Syracuse-Pitt matchup over in the ACC Tournament? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread cashed in on 53 percent of our simulations.

2. Air Force vs. San Jose State: Air Force -11

MWC Tournament in Las Vegas: 7 p.m. ET, MTN

San Jose State sucks. There's no other way to put it. The Spartans are 4-27 on the season, 1-17 in conference play, and only 11-17-1 ATS this season, including 5-12-1 ATS against Mountain West foes. You don't want anything to do with this team. It has been outscored by an average of 16.5 points per game this season. It has won only one game since Dec. 16, going 1-19 in that span, with its only win begin a seven-point win over a New Mexico team that finished 13-17. Have I made my point yet?

How about the biggest NBA game of the day? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Warriors-Rockets spread and total cashed in on more than 55 percent of our simulations.

3. Oregon vs. Washington State: Oregon -11

Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas: 11:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network 

The Pac-12 has been bad this season and doesn't have a great team. Still, it does have some pretty good teams and some awful ones. Oregon falls into that former category, while Washington State's in the latter. The Ducks have dominated the Cougars this season, beating them by 20 in Eugene and 11 in Pullman. While Oregon's mediocre on offense, it's a strong defensive team and the only thing Washington State does well is shoot free throws (75.5 percent). Of course, being an excellent free throw shooting team only matters if you can get to the free throw line. Wazzu doesn't. Take the Ducks.

Want a three-team NBA parlay for Wednesday? Visit SportsLine now to get Wednesday's three best bets from an NBA expert who's on a 44-27 heater with his NBA picks.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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