Utah Runnin’ Utes (13-8) at Colorado Buffalos (12-10)
We picked up another win, our third straight on college hoops, when we backed the Washington Huskies at home against Arizona State last night. I hated betting against Arizona State. My heart tells me this is the same team that smashed Xavier and Kansas and gave Arizona all it could handle on its home court. But my brain tells me that this team just can’t play on the road, at all.
I took the home team Huskies and expected a tight game. Washington jumped out to a double-digit halftime lead and held on to take the game 68-64, for the outright home underdog win.
The road struggles continue for Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils. They now have road losses to Arizona, Colorado, Stanford, and Washington in league play, and own tight wins where they barely escaped against Utah and Oregon State.
This team just can’t perform well in hostile territory, and that is a very bad sign for them as the NCAA tournament approaches. They played too well at the start of the season to play themselves completely out of the tournament, but they are quickly going from a Final Four threat to an exit in the first-round threat. Sad to see in Tempe, I really felt they might have something special this year.
Today I will stay in the PAC-12 as I will break down the matchup between the Runnin’ Utes of Utah and the Colorado Buffaloes.
The Utah Runnin’ Utes will travel to Boulder to face the Buffaloes of Colorado Friday night. Utah is 5-5 in PAC-12 play this season and badly needs to string together some wins if they want a chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Utah lost its last game against Arizona, snapping a modest three-game winning streak. The Buffaloes are in a similar position as Utah, they need to win, and win now if they have any dreams of post-season play this year.
The Buffaloes have been more than serviceable on their home court this season as they hold victories over Arizona and Arizona State in Boulder. This game is an even pick em’. The game total over-under is set at 140.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the Coor’s Events Center.
The PAC-12 looked like it might be an elite league early in the season with Arizona, Arizona State, and USC all highly ranked, early on. That talk has faded some as league play has been competitive and the teams are beating each other up, and nobody outside of Arizona, has managed to separate themselves from the pack.
At 13-8, Utah has a shot to play itself into the tournament, but they have to win games like this one tonight to have any real shot.
The Utes started league play out hot, beating both Oregon teams on the road. Then they stumbled against the upper echelon of the league, dropping games to Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, and USC. Many left the Utes, and their NCAA tournament dreams, for dead.
But they showed some great heart and won two straight games against the Washington teams, and then picked up a huge win against Arizona State on the road. They dropped a nail-biter at Arizona in their last game by one point, and nobody really knows which way this team will go the rest of the year.
Utah has some very winnable games on their schedule coming up. Home games against Stanford and Cal look like W’s, road games at Washington and Washington State could be tough, but I could see them winning both.
Then it is three games at home to finish out the year against UCLA, USC, and Colorado. Throw in the PAC-12 tournament, and I can see a path to 20 wins for this team, but will it be enough? If they want to get on that road to 20+ wins, they have to pick up a big road win tonight against Colorado.
The Colorado Buffaloes are likely to miss the NCAA tournament this season. They have some decent wins, most notably against Arizona and Arizona State, at home, they just don’t have enough wins. At 12-10 they would need to run the table the rest of the way out to get to 20 wins.
The schedule lays out fairly well for them as they have already played the best the league has to offer, and five out of their last eight games are at home, where they are 3-1 this season. But they must win tonight if they are going to get on the right track.
This line opened at Utah -1 on the road. The sharps, as they almost always do, snatched up the home underdog and quickly pushed this line to even. That is where the number stands now, but it could very well move even further to Colorado -1 or possibly more.
When you break down both of these team’s records one thing stands out, they do their best work at home. This is especially true for Colorado, as they have been very good at home and subpar on the road.
Utah has had some success on the road, but almost all teams are going to play better on their home court in league play. And that is what I expect to happen tonight. On a neutral floor, I would put the Utes as -2 or maybe -3-point favorites against Colorado.
But on the road? Against a team that is desperate for wins? I think the Buffaloes figure out a way to win tonight. I would stay away if this line moves much more as this game is razor thin. So, I will jump on it now at even, and back the Colorado Buffaloes tonight at home.