We took a brief hiatus yesterday to lick a few wounds from one of the rougher weeks of my five year coverage of college hoops. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to just hit pause, a veritable “why don’t you sit this play out Champ” moment. Good advice Mister Burgundy, and hopefully we will be back to regular Whammy! strength from here on out…
Without further ado, let’s go ahead and get to tonight’s free pick – a dynamite showdown out West in the Pac-12.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Stanford Cardinal at Utah Utes -10 (Total: 134)
The only two Pac 12 teams aside from Arizona that can feel comfortably good about their NCAA Tournament hopes square off tonight in a big game for both squads. Utah had many experts thinking they were perhaps THE team to beat in the Pac-12 before a humbling loss to Arizona cooled off that conversation and restored order in the Pac-12. Meanwhile, Stanford, despite relatively low expectations entering the season, has the look of a team that can do some surprising damage again this March.
The Cardinal and the Utes can both put up some offense in abundance. Stanford, led by sensational point guard Chasson Randle’s 20.2 ppg, has tallied just under 74 ppg over their last five contests while Utah is even better and more efficient at just under 80 points per contest. I expect both teams to get the ball and push tempo and look for open shots early in the shot clock and would be surprised if this game isn’t played in the 70’s or higher. Utah has held their last five opponents to 39% shooting from the floor, but Stanford is the best offensive team they will face during that stretch.
Delon Wright and Chasson Randle are the two front runners for conference player of the year, and I expect both to play well tonight in a nice showcase game for two schools that don’t get a lot of East Coast airtime. Wright is the superior two-way player, and it will be interesting to see how often he matches up on Randle.
Stanford has failed to cover in their last three games while Utah is 8-2 ATS over their last ten, but I’d still be reluctant to lay double digit points when the team’s strengths and talent levels are so similar. I’d lean Stanford, but my personal play tonight is on the OVER 134. Both teams average well over their share of the 134 total, and even a good defensive effort at home from Utah shouldn’t prevent the total from getting near 140. Stanford has gone over in 6 of their last 8, Utah in 9 of 11.
Look for an entertaining game tonight and once with a good amount of offense.