We got a kind result from a buzzer beater last night in Rhode Island with the Providence Friars knocking off their in-state rival. It wasn’t the usual suspect, Kris Dunn, though it was supposed to be. Dunn took the game winning attempt, but it was Ben Bentil, whom we wrote about in the preview, scooping up the miss and putting it back for his 21st points of the night and the game winner. Kris Dunn was good, scoring 15 point while grabbing five boards, dishing five assists and getting three steals, but Bentil grabs the headlines (and grabs us a nice winner).
The biggest story in college hoops was the stunning comeback from Arizona in The Kennel to knock off Gonzaga. Gonzaga got a legitimate All American performance from Kyle Wiltjer, who was sensational, but the absence of Karnowski and the hot-shooting of Gabe York led the Wildcats back. It was an impressive win for Arizona who now jumps back on to the radar in the Pac-12.
It’s a pretty light Sunday, but there are some interesting games including upstart 5-0 Davidson visiting Chapel Hill, a fantastic gem in Vanderbilt at Baylor, and VCU heading to Tallahassee.
Let’s see if we can grab a third winner of the weekend with a game that won’t get a lot of attention, but is my favorite wagering opportunity and best underdog play of the day.
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Long Beach State 49’ers at UCLA Bruins -11
It’s easy to dismiss this game quickly; after all, UCLA just thrashed the number one team in the country and Long Beach State used to be good back when the late Jerry Tarkanian coached there. But upon closer inspection, this could be a much better game than it appears.
Sure, LBSU is just 5-4 and are playing in one of the most stories arenas in all of college basketball against the mighty Bruins. But LOOK at Long Beach’s insane gauntlet of a schedule. Their losses are to Virginia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and San Diego State. Yes, the UVA loss (in Charlottesville) was ugly, but the three after that were all one or two possession games. LBSU also owns wins over Seton Hall, Colorado State and BYU. This is a solid ballclub who has played easily the most ambitious schedule in the entire nation.
Meanwhile, UCLA, OBVIOUSLY, looked stunning in their dropping of Kentucky. They also own losses to Monmouth and Wake Forest, so let’s not get too too carried away putting these guys in the Final Four. They are the better team tonight and they are playing at home. Two BIG check marks in the UCLA column. They are also the more talented team.
But this game is not an easy walkover like it might appear on paper. I think the names of these two teams get UCLA and extra two or three points in Vegas, and I’m going to bank on the subtle edge. I think UCLA wins, but I think this will be a quality basketball game. LBSU has seen PLENTY of similar competition and talent this year and on all but one occasion, acquitted themselves just fine.