As Scandal Swirls, Arizona Hosts Stanford in Key Pac-12 Matchup

Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:40 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 12:40 PM UTC

Despite all of the negative noise going on around the program, No. 19 Arizona is still a solid home favorite on the NCAA basketball odds Thursday  night vs. a surging Stanford squad.

Stanford (16-13 SU, 14-15 ATS) at No. 19 Arizona (22-7 SU, 11-17-1 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: Stanford +8½Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Maybe Arizona head coach Sean Miller was confused and thought the voice on the other end of the phone was talking about making a $100,000 donation to the school if the Wildcats signed prized recruit Deandre Ayton. And maybe Ayton himself had no idea of a deal being cut to get him to Tucson. Maybe the FBI fabricated it all.

If you believe any of that, I’d like to talk to you about buying a piece of the London Bridge which, it just so happens, is now located in Arizona, where the No. 19 Wildcats host the Stanford Cardinal in a Pac-12 contest tonight (10 ET). Miller won’t be there, replaced by Lorenzo Romar, but Ayton will play. 5Dimes has the Wildcats favored by 8½ with 152 for the total.

Trier Sitting After Another Failed Drug Test

Nobody knew a thing about FBI wiretaps when the schools met at Stanford in January, Arizona slipping past the Cardinal, 73-71, for the Wildcats’ 16th consecutive win in the rivalry. Stanford led by nine midway through the second half, but couldn’t hold off Arizona’s Allonzo Trier, who led all with 21 points. The Cardinal did get the cover as 6-point home ‘dogs, their second straight spread beater in the series after the Wildcats covered the previous six. Stanford was getting 13 last year at McKale Center in a 74-67 final, and the last five on this floor were ‘over’ winners.

Miller did not coach the Wildcats on Saturday at Oregon, where the Ducks scored a 98-93 overtime win to just cover a -4½ number on the NCAA basketball odds. Ayton didn’t seem bothered at all by recent scandal, the 7-foot freshman scoring 28 and grabbing 18 boards, his 19th double-double of the campaign. Trier has been sitting the last two games after failing a drug test for the same drug (Ostarine) that cost the junior him 19 games a year ago. Trier is not expected to be reinstated for Thursday’s contest.

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Letting it fly 🎯

Dorian Pickens’ 47 threes in the last 15 games rank as the fifth-most among players from the six major conferences during that span.#GoStanford

— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) March 1, 2018

Offense Helps Cardinal To 3 Straight Wins

Jerod Haase is still holding out hope that his Stanford club can claim at least a share of the Pac-12 title, though the chances are slim. The Cardinal sit two games behind Arizona and would obviously have to win Thursday to maintain a shot at the regular-season title, and then get help from the cellar-dwelling Cal Bears who face the Wildcats this weekend. Stanford does come into tonight’s battle on a 3-game win streak, and fine shooting was behind those victories. The Cardinal connected on more than 49% from the field during the stretch, and over 40% from behind the arc.

Even before this story broke and with Trier on the floor, Arizona wasn’t a good team to follow on the Pac-12 schedule. That is why I’m taking the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.

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