Yesterday, I backed the West Virginia Mountaineers at home, against the Kansas Jayhawks, at even money. Morgantown has always been a very tough place for opposing teams to win, and the Mountaineers were 12-0 at home heading into the game. So, while I absolutely hated having to bet against a Kansas team, that is in my estimation, the best team in the country, I backed the home team and felt that we were on the right side.
That's a ??? (??) road win! ? pic.twitter.com/qSA5iZ80mo
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) February 13, 2020
And for much of the game, it looked like the Mountaineers were going to find a way to win the game. West Virginia led the whole way until there were just five minutes left to play in the game. They built a lead as big as nine points in the second half. But down the stretch, when it really mattered, Kansas showed everyone why they are one of the best teams in the country.
The Jayhawks closed out the final few minutes on a big run, and not only did they win the game, they did it fairly easily, as the final score ended up at 58-49 Kansas. The win was a nice one for Kansas as they kept pace with the Baylor Bears for first place in the Big 12 standings. That makes the showdown between the Jayhawks and the Bears that much more exciting when these two teams clash in Waco on February 22nd with the conference title on the line.
For West Virginia, they would have loved to have picked up the big win, but in reality, they aren’t going to win the Big 12 anyway, and this loss isn’t going to hurt their resume much. It is a little bit concerning as they have now lost back to back games for the first time this season, and their next game is a road trip to Baylor, the nation’s top team. You hate to lose three straight games late in the year, but it looks like that is where the Mountaineers are heading. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Pac-12, where Stanford plays Arizona State.
- Arizona State Sun Devils (15-8) at Stanford Cardinal (16-7)
- Maples Pavilion, Stanford
- 8:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN 2
The Stanford Cardinal are reeling as they have lost five out of their last six games and are now forced to play without their best player, Oscar Da Silva, as the big man is out with a concussion. The Cardinal were already forced to play without starter Bryce Wills, and enter play tonight banged up, shorthanded, and in desperate need of a win, as they host the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Back in Maples for a big week of matchups.
— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) February 11, 2020
For Arizona State, the Sun Devils are quickly moving up the rankings as they have caught fire in the second half of league play as they have won five out of their last six games, including signature wins over USC and Arizona. ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Sun Devils currently projected as one of the first four teams out for the NCAA tournament, and a win on the road against a solid Stanford team would go a long way into getting the Sun Devils to the right side of the bubble.
Not long ago, it looked like Stanford had a real shot at competing to win the Pac-12 regular-season title. They started out league play 4-0, and at 15-2 overall, were being looked at as one of the best teams on the West Coast. But then reality set in, and the Cardinals started to struggle. Losses to Cal and Utah on the road and Oregon State at home, were all bad ones to teams that won’t be dancing in March.
And then disaster struck as they lost starter Bryce Wills to an ankle injury and Oscar Da Silva to a concussion. Both players are questionable tonight, but neither are expected to play. The loss of Da Silva is especially concerning as he leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and blocked shots. In the Cardinal’s last game, they were blowing out Colorado, on the road no less, leading by as many as sixteen points in the second half.
Once Da Silva left the game with the head injury? The Cardinal completely fell apart, blew the huge lead, and got beaten by seven points. This will be the first game where Stanford will have to play without their big man for a full game, and it will be interesting to see where they go for production without him on the floor.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Are the Sun Devils going to find a way to sneak into March Madness? A month ago, I would have told you no chance. But Bobby Hurley has rallied the troops, and they are making a case for an at-large bid. When you look at how they are playing right now, they have won five out of their last six games, and with how the schedule lays out until the end of the year, this team could string together a strong finish and play themselves into the tournament.
The Sun Devils have four players averaging double-digits scoring, led by Remy Martin, who is establishing himself as one of the best point guards in the country with a nineteen points, four rebounds, four assists, stat line. He is one of the best on-ball defenders in the Pac-12 and has really stepped up his game lately as he has scored at least twenty points seven times in the Sun Devils last ten games.
Who Do I Like?
I very rarely ever bet against home teams in league play. I would just much rather prefer to find a home dog to back, than to expect a team to no-show at home in a league game. But when I look at this Stanford team, they are falling apart right now. They looked absolutely lost against Colorado in the second half without Da Silva on the floor, and I don’t think this team is going to be able to score the basketball efficiently enough to hang with Arizona State tonight without him.
And things were starting to turn towards the bad before he got hurt anyway. The home loss to Oregon State was shocking, and losing to teams like Cal and Utah, were games they needed to have. And when you look at Arizona State, this team is starting to figure things out. The Cardinal are going to be on upset alert tonight.
I try to never overreact to one player’s injury or a short sample size of games. But Stanford has lost its way recently. The loss of Da Silva was just an extra punch in the gut for a team that was falling apart anyway. I think they will really struggle tonight at home. Maybe they find a way to gut it out and sneak out with the win, but when I can look to fade them and get a full possessions worth of points, I can’t pass it up.
So, I will back the Sun Devils and snatch up the three points. I really do think that Arizona State is going to find a way to win the game outright, but I will lock in the three-point insurance policy anyway, as it offers tremendous value. Give me the Arizona State Sun Devils as road underdogs tonight, getting three points, as they look to stay hot at Stanford!