What an action-packed slate of games we have on tap for you today! With over 150 games on the schedule, the day will be full of basketball action from early in the morning until well into the night. Much of the top-25 play today, with the headliner games being Kentucky at Auburn, Rutgers at Michigan, Houston at Cincinnati, Utah State at San Diego State, and Colorado at USC.
? NET UPDATE ?
1. San Diego State
7. Michigan State
9. West Virginia
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 31, 2020
With conference play in full swing, we will head to the Pac-12 for our daily betting pick. The Pac-12 has emerged as a home team driven league, as many teams that weren’t expected to compete have done a great job of protecting their home floor.
Teams like Cal, Washington State, and Arizona State have all managed to find a lot of home-court success and overall home teams have won north of 70% of league games in the Pac-12 this year. For our daily betting pick, we will head to Pullman, Washington as the Washington State Cougars host the Arizona Wildcats.
- Arizona Wildcats (14-6) at Washington State Cougars (13-9)
- Friel Court, Pullman
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: PACN
The Washington State Cougars will look to continue their home court dominance in league play tonight as they host the Arizona Wildcats in a Pac-12 conference game. After playing one of the softest non-conference schedules in the country and having just three wins to show for it after their first seven games, most expected the Cougars to finish in the basement of the Pac-12 this season. But that hasn’t been the case as they are right in the middle of the pack in the conference standings and are 4-1 in Pullman in league play.
Back to Beasley Saturday where the Cougs are 10-2 this season. A chance at a second desert sweep.
— WSU Men's Basketball (@WSUCougarMBB) January 31, 2020
For Arizona, the Wildcats have much higher ambitions this season, as they are focused on a deep run in the NCAA tournament. But after coming into the year as one of the favorites, along with the Oregon Ducks, to win the Pac-12, the Wildcats have underwhelmed as they are just 4-3 in league play. Which is good for fourth place, three wins behind the Ducks. All three of the Wildcat’s losses in league play have come on the road this year.
There is no denying how talented this Arizona Wildcats team is this year. But the issue for the Wildcats is experience. Their best three players, Nico Mannion, Zeke Nnaji, and Josh Green are all freshmen. So, it is understandable to see that at home, they are one of the best teams in the country, but away from home, they have struggled.
At home this year, Arizona is 10-1. That includes decent wins over Illinois, Utah, and Colorado. But away from home, either on neutral floor games, or true road games, the Wildcats have picked up five of their six losses. The losses to Baylor and Gonzaga were certainly understandable as both of those teams are likely going to be one seeds in the NCAA tournament. But losses to St. John’s, Oregon State, and Arizona State all came to teams that are, at best, on the bubble right now.
Washington State Cougars
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think this Washington State team was going to be able to compete in the Pac-12 this year. But they have done just that, and it has been by making their home building a tough place to play for visiting teams. The Cougars are 11-2 in home games, and that includes wins over New Mexico State, Oregon, Oregon State, and Arizona State.
Most people outside of the Northwest have never heard of CJ Elleby, but this kid is a lot of fun to watch play basketball. Elleby is a sophomore from Seattle that has emerged as the best player on this over-achieving Washington State team.
Elleby leads the team in scoring at nineteen points a game, and in rebounds at over seven rebounds a game. In the big upset wins over Oregon and ASU, Elleby went for 27 and 10 and 25 and 14, respectively. WSU will need another huge performance out of him tonight if they want to knock off the Wildcats.
Who Do I Like?
In a game where we have a great team that can’t seem to win on the road and a mediocre team that plays their heart out at home, I am going to follow both of those trends and back Wazzu. I don’t think the Cougars are going to win this game, but to be able to back them at home and get nine points, seems like outrageous value.
All, they really need to do is not get blown out in this one, and that is what I think will happen. In neither of their two home losses this year did they lose by double-digit points, and I expect them to get up for this one, just like they did when they beat Oregon outright at home a couple weeks back.
I sound like a broken record this year. Home dogs, home dogs, home dogs on repeat. But the fact of the matter is that we are winning on these bets at a nearly 80% clip, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Give me the Washington State Cougars as home underdogs tonight in Pullman, getting +9-points!