Add California -6.5 To Your NCAA Basketball Picks vs. Hawai'i

Doug Upstone

Thursday, March 17, 2016 12:25 AM GMT

The South Region of the NCAA Tournament has four afternoon games on Friday if you live in the East or Midwest and the second is a rather intriguing contest between California and Hawai'i.

Doug's Record: 1-0 sides and 1-0 totals

The Golden Bears came scampering down the end of the season at 9-2 (8-2-1 ATS), with only setbacks to fellow Big Dance participants Arizona (three points) and Utah (four points). Cal was given a lot of praise by the basketball mavens of the various networks because of the talent they have collected, yet nothing was mentioned they are 5-10 outside Berkeley.

The Rainbow Warriors were consistently good all year and never lost consecutive contests. Hawai'i is a 6.5 point underdog according to the NCAA Tournament odds, with posted total of 143.5 for this 2:00 Eastern telecast on TBS.

 

The Betting Numbers
California
SU and ATS Records - 23-10, 18-14-1 ATS

Away Record -5-10 and 5-9-1 ATS

Favorite Record - 22-4 and 14-11-1 ATS

3 or More Days Rest - 14-4 and 9-8-1 ATS

Off a SU Loss - 5-4 SU and 2-6 ATS

 

Hawai'i
SU and ATS Record - 27-5, 14-12 ATS

Away Record - 10-2 and 7-4 ATS

Underdog Record - 2-3 and 3-2 ATS

3 or More Days Rest - 16-3 and 7-6 ATS

Off a SU Win - 21-5 SU and 11-10 ATS

 

The Game Scoop
California has the ideal mix of veterans and youth. Most Bears followers enjoying talking Jaylon Brown, named Pac-12 freshman of the year after averaging 15.0 points and 5.5 rebounds and fellow frosh Ivan Rabb (6-11) who averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. The Bears’ veteran backcourt features a trio of sharpshooters in Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird, who average anywhere from 15.3 PPG to 10.4.

What made people sit up and take notice about the Bears was there defense, which has held opposing teams to 39.3 percent accuracy. Coach Cuonzo Martin has made this a priority since arriving at Cal and his team's starters have excellent size and length to create problems without proper spacing. This is all pretty heady stuff for California, who has not been a Top 5 seed in 19 years and is trying to set benchmark for future teams.

The Rainbow Warriors also are a quality defensive unit, but do it in a different manner. First year coach Eran Ganot installed a man to man pressure defense, with a real emphasis on double-teaming to generate turnovers. This deployment has been accepted by the players and Hawai'i gets hungry when they pick of the scent of possible miscues by opponents.

Hawai'i starters are all upperclassmen, led by point guard Roderick Bobbitt (13.2 PPG and 5.6 APG) and Big West player of the year Stefan Jankovic (6-11), who threw down 15.7 PPG and snagged 6.8 RPG.

Rebounding is a big portion which helps each team's success, with Cal at +8 and Hawai'i at +5 and the Warriors are 23-0 when they out-rebound the opposition this season.

Sagarin Spread - California -6.01

 

Spread Winner and Totals Lean
When trying to figure out NCAA Tournament picks, this was not a clear cut choice. One cannot ignore the talent coach Martin has assembled and with how they play defense, you can see them choking off the Rainbow Warriors prefer to run offensively.

Nevertheless, Hawai'i defense is going to create turnovers leading directly to points for them, which keeps them closer in the contest and if California has to make trips to the charity stripe to ice the game, this is not there strength at sickly 65.6 percent.

Getting a cover or not could just be a couple plays and I think late the Bears make enough plays to beat the number by just a point or two and the total slides just under the number in this NCAA Tournament game.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: California -6.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker