We picked up another easy win last night when we backed the Michigan Wolverines on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers. Backing road teams as favorites in conference play is always a risky proposition, but after seeing the early morning action move the line towards Indiana, I decided to lay wood on the road with the reduced number. I just thought that Michigan was the much better overall team and expected them to bounce back from a rough week that saw them lose their first conference game of the season.
The game itself was a complete blowout as this Michigan team that prides itself on defense completely shut the Hoosiers down. The Hoosiers managed just eighteen points in the first half and shot an embarrassing 27% from the field and 15% from three for the game. Freshman sensation, Romeo Langford, the Hoosiers top scorer coming into the game, was held to just nine points on 3-12 shooting from the field.
It was a humbling loss for the Hoosiers as they have now lost six straight league games and have gone from possible top-four seed to sliding to the wrong side of the bubble in a hurry. We are just fifty days away from Selection Sunday, and things are looking grim in Bloomington. For the Wolverines, it was just another step towards a Big 10 title and possibly a number one seed in the tournament. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the PAC-12 game between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon State Beavers.
The Oregon State Beavers host the Washington Huskies tonight in Corvallis, hoping to hand the Huskies their first loss of the season in conference play. The Beavers are near the top of the PAC-12 standings at 4-2 in league play, but just like everyone else in the league, they are chasing the first place, 6-0 Huskies. The Beavers snapped a two-game losing streak in their last game, beating up on Washington State, to get back on track after back to back losses on the road.
For the Huskies, it has all been smooth sailing as they are cruising through the PAC-12 so far and have a two-game lead over the rest of the field. The Beavers are -3-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set 137 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM PST from Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
I have talked a lot of trash about the PAC-12 this season. As a whole, the league has certainly underwhelmed. As of right now, Joe Lunardi of ESPN has just two teams from the league making it to the NCAA tournament. That is quite shocking for a league that has such a rich history of basketball excellence. One team that has stood out as a potential second-weekend contender is the Washington Huskies.
Washington has rolled up a strong record at 15-4 on the year, with all four of their losses coming against good teams. They nearly upset the then number one team in the nation Gonzaga Bulldogs before coming up just short at the buzzer. They also have competitive losses to Minnesota, Virginia Tech, and Auburn. None of those losses will look bad to the selection committee. But unfortunately for Washington, they don’t have many quality wins to hang their hats on. The bulk of their more quality wins have come against the PAC-12. Which we stated above, isn’t something to really brag about.
That brings us to my dark horse favorite in the PAC-12, the Oregon State Beavers. Why am I so high on the Beavers this year? They have two of the best players in the league in Stephen Thompson Jr. and Tres Tinkle. Both are senior leaders, and Tinkle is well on his way to being first team all PAC-12 as well as making a run at the player of the year in the league. The only knock on Tinkle in his career to Oregon State is his ability to stay healthy.
Tinkle has missed big chunks of time in each of his four years with the Beavers. He missed a game against USC two weeks ago. But he seems to be healthy now and is rolling up some gaudy stats. On the year, Tinkle is scoring twenty points a game and is filling up the stat sheet with eight rebounds, four and a half assists, and nearly two steals a game. If the Beavers manage to hand the Huskies their first conference loss of the year, it will be because Tinkle has a huge game.
If you put these two teams in a vacuum, and I tend to think the Washington Huskies are the slightly better team. They don’t have the top end talent like Tinkle, but they are very well coached and have shown they can play well against high level competition. But this game isn’t played in a vacuum, it’s played on Oregon State’s home floor. And that makes me lean towards the Beavers.
While Oregon State has had its fair share of struggles on the road this year, at home, they have been quite good. We talked about the big win over USC without Tinkle on the floor, and they also have nice home court wins against UCLA and Washington State in league play. I still think that at some point, the Beavers will work themselves to the right side of the bubble and get a bid into the NCAA tournament and surprise a lot of people. I love all their experience and senior leadership, and I think they find a way to win and cover tonight at home. Give me the Oregon State Beavers laying -3-points tonight.