Arizona vs. Utah Pick NCAA Basketball – Feb 27th

We made it four straight college winners last night, but unlike the previous two nights, we had to sweat this out big time. Valpo had to dodge and errant buzzer beater in regulation and survive Milwaukee in overtime to get the win and cover, as well as narrowly avoid what would have been a disastrous blow to their already-tenuous at-large bid hopes.

We take a nice week’s worth of momentum into today’s MASSIVE day of college basketball. Most conference titles will be largely settled by what happens in some of today’s most pivotal games.   The headliner is the North Carolina at Virginia battle, but it is far from the only game with major implications. Kansas can lock up the Big Twelve with a win at home over red-hot Texas Tech and Oklahoma tries to stop their road losing ways at tough Texas in a vicious rivalry game. Louisville can keep their ACC dreams alive with a win at Miami, who also has the same vision – the loser of the game is done, the winner remains tied if UNC is the loser, for first place.

Kentucky goes to resurgent Vanderbilt, Arizona and Utah battle for Pac 12 supremacy, Maryland and Purdue meet in a bigtime Big Ten game, and Villanova will try to hold on to their now-narrow Big East lead with a tough bounce-back road game at Marquette.

It’s going to be an awesome Saturday of college hoops – let’s see if we can make it even better with a fifth straight winner.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Arizona Wildcats at Utah Utes -2.5

Sorry Sean Miller, the Wildcats may have to dodge another Court Storming this afternoon. Utah, while beating Arizona shouldn’t be ‘stunning’, it is still a REALLY big deal to their fans and program, and I think they’ll get just that chance today. There may not be two teams playing better basketball with less attention garnered than today’s respective combatants. Utah enters on a five game winning streak that includes a double-digit road win at USC and Thursday’s 44-10 opening half over Arizona State.

Meanwhile, Arizona had their eight game winning streak snapped in yet another dramatic game with Colorado (this is becoming one of the more interesting rivalries in college basketball after yet another wacky game) but had won six straight including nice wins over Oregon State and USC and a road win at Washington.

I expect a good game today between two NCAA Tourney locks who now have their sights set on closing the one-game deficit to Oregon and improving into a Top Four seed. But I’ll give the edge tonight to Utah. First, they are at home, and that is a HUGE edge. Utah is 15-2 at home. Arizona is just 5-4 on the road, and Utah might be the best team they have faced on the road all season long. This is the only matchup of the season, so it is a little unfair that ‘Zona doesn’t get the return matchup, but alas such is life in large conferences in 2016. The result could very well be Arizona finishing in rare territory; fourth place in the conference they have owned.

Look for Jakob Poeltl to get Kaleb Tarczewski in foul trouble and to have a good day at home and lead the Utes to their sixth straight win as they storm back into the NCAA Tournament picture.

Free Pick: Utah Utes -2.5