It was another eventful day in college hoops with great games galore and impactful results. The biggest winners yesterday: Texas A&M, South Carolina, St. Bonaventure, and Baylor all bolstered their NCAA tournament resumes and got on the good side of the bubble. Alabama, Florida, LSU and Syracuse all took damaging losses. And Kansas, Villanova and North Carolina might have taken the final big steps to locking up the regular season titles in the nation’s three best conferences.
We still have several weeks of great action to go with a ton more HUGE games, and even a usually slow Sunday schedule has plenty of games packed with meaning. Michigan visits Maryland in a huge Big Ten matchup, Utah and USC link up in a game with Pac-12 implications and Wisconsin tries to continue their surprising resurgence back into the Tourney field with a win over struggling Illinois.
Before we get to today’s pick, let’s just admit we stole one last night with Oregon State’s garbage cover. I’ve lost a few in similar fashion, so on the grand pendulum of wagering justice, things are getting closer to even this year, so I’m not apologizing for it or anything – but, yeah, we got pretty fortunate last night…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cal Bears -10.5 at Washington State Cougars
Winning on the road isn’t easy in any conference, but it has proven especially problematic in the wacky, balanced Pac-12. Cal enters tonight 8-5 in league play and seemingly having finally found the footing they desperately lacked early in the season as their young roster attempted to blend together effectively. They have won four straight games, but alas, three of those four were at home and the last was a three-point escape at Washington. Prior to that contest the Bears had dropped all five Pac-12 road games (by an average of 6.4 points). Granted, Washington State is in last place in the conference, but it is still a road game, and despite Wazzou’s troubles in league play they have mustered up some competitive home efforts against Washington, Colorado and beating UCLA.
Statistically, the matchup obviously favors the Bears, given Washington State’s 1-13 conference mark. But I have a feeling this one will be competitive. Wazzou has been blown out a few times at home for sure; Arizona, Stanford and Utah all drilled them, but those are three veteran ballclubs. Cal is very young, and has had the requisite road struggle that young teams tend to experience.
This will be a better game than it appears it should be. Cal is hot, but also ripe for a road let-down trap game. Washington State will come out swinging. I don’t think it’ll be enough to win straight up, but I like them to cover with a nice thick cushion of points in their home gym.