Well, when you’re hot, you’re hot! We picked up yet another win last night to run our championship week record to a blistering hot 7-2. Last night’s win came from backing the Minnesota Golden Gophers as three-point underdogs against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Big 10 conference tournament quarterfinals. As I mentioned in yesterday’s pick, I just saw this as a bad number as in my estimation, the Gophers were the superior team, and I felt like I was certainly on the right side of things, getting three points and I expected Minnesota to win the game outright.
The game was a fun affair as it was back and forth all evening long and it took an extra period to decide a winner. The Gophers pulled away in the extra frame, eventually winning 77-72, and advance to play Purdue today in the Big 10 semifinals. The win was a huge one for Minnesota as they should now be safely inside the field of sixty-eight. For Penn State, their season is over, and like most seasons in Happy Valley, it will end in disappointment. For today’s pick, I will look to stay hot as I break down the game between the Colorado Buffalos and the Washington Huskies.
The conference of champions, the PAC-12, is looking like a mid-major league this year as they are currently only slated to get two teams into the Big Dance, according to ESPN’s chief Bracketologist, Joe Lunardi. The Buffalos of Colorado are hoping to make that three teams tonight as a win over Washington would go a long way to boosting their tournament resume.
For the Huskies, they are looking to follow up their regular season PAC-12 title with the conference tournament title as well. The Huskies are -2.5-point underdogs. The game total over-under is set at 130 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In a league that has been down all season long, the Washington Huskies have emerged as the best of the pack. When you look at Washington’s losses this year, they are, for the most part, all very understandable. They lost to Gonzaga, Auburn, Virginia Tech, and Minnesota in the non-conference. All of those teams are going to make the NCAA tournament. And in league play, they lost to Arizona State and Oregon, the two teams matching up in the other semi-finals, and to Cal.
So, when this team loses, it is almost always to quality opposition. And while they don’t have too many signature wins, they have dominated in PAC-12 play, as they won the league by three full games over Arizona State and the rest of the league. They have played Colorado twice this season, and they won both games by an average of eight points.
The Buffalos of Colorado spent most of the season flying below the tournament radar. But they have picked it up in a big way late in the season as they have won ten out of their last twelve games, including five straight. The wins are really starting to add up for Colorado, but similar to Washington, they don’t have any great wins to push the committee to include them.
A win over Washington would give them a nice win over a top fifty team. But I am not sure if that would be enough to get them into the madness. They may have to run the table and win the conference tournament if they want to go dancing. We throw around the term must-win a lot in college basketball, but tonight this game is truly a must-win for the Buffalos.
This line opened up with Washington as -1.5-point favorites and the sharps hammered it. We all know how hard it is to beat a team three times in one season, but there is clearly a gap in talent between Washington and the rest of the league. With the early action coming in on Washington, the line has now moved to Washington -2.5-points. It wouldn’t shock me to see this keep moving. I could see this number getting to 3.5 or even 4 by tipoff.
So, I will follow the lead of the sharps, and back what I think is the much better team. I wouldn’t want to lay more than where it stands now though, as this game is sure to be competitive, with Buffalo playing for their lives. So, I will lock this one in now where it stands at 2.5-points. Give me the Washington Huskies laying -2.5-points tonight from Las Vegas!