#11 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #6 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels -5.5
Let’s just be nice and say it wasn’t a real good night for the Pac 12 yesterday. They were hoping to take some of the sting out of becoming the first BCS conference to ever have their regular season champion NOT extended an at-large bid to the NCAA Tourney. Factor in the expansion of the field to 68, and the embarrassment is just amplified. So last night was their big chance to show the world the problem with the Pac 12 is one of perception, not actual ability deficiency.
Suffice it to say the 36-13 halftime deficit the Cal Bears found themselves facing to South Florida, the seventh place team in the Big East, did not do wonders for the conference’s already beleaguered profile. The game finished with a slightly closer final score, but was never within twenty points at any meaningful point in the game. Add in the stink bomb eleven point loss Arizona (The #1) suffered to Bucknell in their opening NIT game, on their home floor no less, and it was an abject disaster of an evening. The only hope for the conference now resides in….
Colorado. Yup, the recent Big 12 refugee Colorado Buffaloes, picked 11th in the coaches’ preseason conference poll are the only NCAA Tournament team that can earn a win for the Pac 12. That doesn’t exactly bode well for the Pac 12 either way – but I don’t necessarily think the conference is necessarily a stain on the Buffaloes chances tonight.
UNLV gets a lot of mileage off their surprising win over North Carolina back in November. It is as good a win as any non-BCS school can boast, but I think it has been given a little too much credence when assessing this team and their chances. They lost five of their last nine games, including a blowout 20-point loss to New Mexico and losses to Colorado State, TCU and Wyoming. Not pretty.
You can pile on the Pac 12 all you want, and I can’t fault you for it if you do – but let’s not get sucked in to thinking this is the UNLV teams of Tark and Larry Johnson. This is a pretty average basketball team that has played below-average basketball the last four weeks of the season. I think they are ripe for the picking, and getting five and half points makes me feel even a bit more comfortable about it. Colorado owns wins over some quality ballclubs this season; Arizona several times, Cal several times, Washington, and won seven of their last nine games. This isn’t a great team either, but they are playing better basketball of late than UNLV and are getting a bunch of points.
Give me the Buffaloes with the points, and I am not opposed to a healthy money-line upset wager as well.
Free Pick: Colorado Buffaloes +5.5