Arizona vs Washington Pick – February 18th

Everything screams Arizona tonight over Washington; the trends, the metrics, the analytics - people watching basketball with fuctioning eyes.   Washington has lost at home to ranked teams by an average of more than 24 points - so why are the Cats only laying NINE?

It’s been a tough week on the college hoops front with a few tough breaks (half point loss with Kansas, the late scratch in the Wisconsin game) and a few flat misses (Valpo last night).  However, it is time to get up off the mat and get back to business.  We are still cranking along at a ridiculous 62%-plus ATS for the season with well over 100 picks on the books and still looking for more on a packed Saturday of college action.

As always, feel free to chat hoops, argue, support and cajole on Twitter @TheMarchManiacs

Let’s get after it!

Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:

Arizona Wildcats -9.5 at Washington Huskies

I never like to use words like “free money” and “lock” because it’s SPORTS and weird stuff happens all the time.  But I haven’t like the confluence of trends, momentum and the simple eye-test more on many games this season that I do on tonight’s Arizona at Washington game.  I’m all over the ‘Cats and can feel confident that even if we lose, Arizona was the proper play with all the numbers, etc going strongly in their direction.  A Washington winner would have been a lucky guess based on blind hope (those sometimes hit) but over the long term, stay disciplined, make smart reads, avoid questionable games, and we can target that 55% success rate.

Here’s the facts:  Washington enters tonight losers of eight straight, 10 of 11 and 12 of 14.  They are 2-12 in Pac-12 play and are 3-11 ATS in conference play.  They are 1-7 ATS at HOME in conference play and just 2-6 SU.

Visibly, they LOOK lousy.  They ball sticks, they don’t hit shots (41.9% FG in conference) and they don’t defend (81.9 ppg allowed).  They have home losses to Oregon by 22, Utah by 22, and UCLA by 41.  Tonight, they are only getting NINE against Arizona.  Huh?

Arizona is 6-1 ATS on the road in conference play this season and has won a game in Pauley Pavillion by the margin required tonight.  The Wildcats are 13-1 in conference and have been flawless, both record and visibly, aside from the disaster game in Oregon (it happens – the game got away from ‘em).  They are in line to snag a #1 seed if they can win out (reasonable, with both USC and UCLA coming to McKale Center) and I think they put on a flat-out show tonight.  With Trier in the fold and Markkanen getting back on track, even if Ristic needs to to rest the ankle tonight, this is still one of the three or four best teams in the country.

And my last favorite nugget, Markelle Fultz is listed as “questionable” for tonight.  If scratched, this line should immediately balloon into the teens, so I am going in early.  Sure, Kadeem Allen, the Wildcats best perimeter defender MAY not play tonight (let’s see though – I got a feeling he is going) – and that would be a loss – especially IF Fultz CAN go.  But I don’t think it is worth 8-10 points on the line, which is how far off this one feels to me.

Today’s Pick:  ARIZONA WILDCATS -9.5