The NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee gave us their February preview yesterday, and it has the internet buzzing! The top line was mostly business as usual as we saw Baylor, Kansas, and Gonzaga all snatching up one seeds, as well as the undefeated Aztecs of San Diego State nabbing a top line bid. Two teams from small conferences getting one seeds? I love it!
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 8, 2020
Further down the board, we saw Dayton and West Virginia get two seeds, somewhat controversially, as many people expected to see Florida State and Seton Hall up on the two line instead. The Big East has the most teams in the top-16, tied with the ACC, with three teams apiece. The Big 10, my pick for the best league in the nation, has to feel a little snubbed as they got just two teams into top four seeds, with Michigan State and Maryland getting three and four seeds respectively.
I love this early season preview, and the timing could not be more perfect. With the Super Bowl wrapping up the football season, all eyes are going to turn to basketball, and releasing this early season preview gets a national conversation started about the game.
And with this season having more parity than any year in recent memory, we want as many eyes on the game as possible, as there are sure to be lots of upsets and excitement! For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Pac-12, where the Washington Huskies play the Washington State Cougars.
- Washington Huskies (12-11) at Washington State Cougars (13-10)
- Friel Court, Pullman
- 3:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPNU
The Washington State Cougars will look to add to their home floor success tonight as they host their archrivals, the Huskies of Washington. Despite having little success this season overall, the Cougars have more than held their own in Pullman, particularly in league play, where Washington State is 4-2. The Cougars have home court wins over Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, and Arizona State already this year.
The first half of the Boeing Apple Cup Series tips off Sunday at Beasley on @ESPNU.
Halftime we honor the legend Coach George Raveling as we raise his name to the rafters.
— WSU Men's Basketball (@WSUCougarMBB) February 6, 2020
For Washington, the Huskies came into the season with aspirations of a deep run in the NCAA tournament, but after a slow start to the year, they would be content with just sneaking into the tournament at this point. The Huskies have lost nine out of their last eleven games, including five straight. On the road, in Pac-12 play, they are 0-4, with bad losses to Utah and Cal.
The Washington Huskies have one of the best freshman classes in program history. Both Isiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels are expected to be first-round draft picks in next year’s NBA draft, and Marcus Tsohonis has been a surprise freshman contributor as well. Throw in veterans like Nahziah Carter and former Kentucky transfer Quade Green, and this team looked like a potential Pac-12 powerhouse.
But all that talent just hasn’t converted to many wins for Washington. And they have a penchant for losing to bad teams. We already talked about bad losses to Cal and Utah on the road, but they also have a home loss to UCLA. When you look at how they have lost these games, they just can’t seem to finish out close games. They lost to Oregon and Cal in overtime, and losses to Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Stanford, UCLA, Houston, and Gonzaga, all came by single digits.
Washington State Cougars
There aren’t a lot of great things to say about this Washington State team this year. Besides that, they are solid at home, and the program is on the upswing. The Cougs played a laughably bad non-conference schedule and did have an early-season bad loss at home to Nebraska-Omaha, but besides that, they have done a very admirable job at protecting their home floor.
The Cougars are 11-3 at home this season. And things are looking up as they are establishing Pullman as a tough place to play for visitors, and their star player CJ Elleby, is only a sophomore and should be around for at least one more year, likely two. Elleby is the best player at WAZZU since Klay Thompson, and leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and steals.
When the Cougars upset Oregon at home, Elleby went off for twenty-five points and fourteen boards. They will need a similar performance out of him tonight if they want to pick up another upset win in Pullman.
Who Do I Like?
While the raw talent of this Washington team does scare me a little bit, they have been absolutely terrible in league play, and they haven’t won a single road game in Pac-12 action. In fact, they have just one true road win on the year, and that came against a bad Hawaii team, way back in December.
Winning on the road is the toughest thing to do in college basketball, and this Huskies team just can’t seem to do it. And its not all that shocking when you look at how much production they get from their freshman. Inexperienced players tend to struggle on the road and in close games. And this Washington team is very inexperienced, which explains why they lose so many close games on the road.
Home underdogs in league play are my favorite bet in college basketball. And in a spot like this one, where I can back a team that overachieves at home, against a team that can’t seem to ever win on the road, I love backing the home team. Throw in the fact that I can get more than a full possession’s worth of points, and I see a lot of value backing the Cougs. Give me the Washington State Cougars as home dogs tonight from Pullman!