Cal's Size Gives Hope Against Wichita State in Maui

Mark Lathrop

Monday, November 20, 2017 12:45 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 12:45 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, needed overtime yesterday to get his ATS win and move to 5-1 on the season. Here he spots a line that is a little chalky even for a team as good as Wichita State.

Free NCAAB Picks: Cal +19.5
Best Odds (105) at 5Dimes

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In the first marquee matchup of the Maui Invitational, the 6th ranked Wichita State Shockers draw the California Golden Bears of the Pac-12. The Shockers are without one of their primary players in Markis McDuffie, but still find themselves as 19.5-point favorites on the neutral court against Cal. The total can currently be found at 147 in multiple books across the board.

Even though Wichita State is missing McDuffie they find themselves in good shape because of their style of play and very deep bench. They have nine players that have logged 15 minutes or more in the Shocker’s first two games. Their defensive system of playing quite a bit of press requires a deep rotation, so this is not surprising. Whatever they are doing it is working too, as they have only allowed opponents to shoot 31.9% from the floor this year and 30.4% from 3pt range.

Cal runs a rotation that is nearly opposite of Wichita State, with five players averaging over 26 minutes per game and 3 players averaging over 33 minutes per game. The Golden Bears have some size to them with senior center Kingsley Okoroh coming in at 7’ 1” and 267 lbs. Okorah averages 10.0 points and 9.3 rebound per game on the young season. Opposite of Okorah you have senior 6’ 11” forward Marcus Lee, who has averaged 15.3 points and 10.7 rebound per game. The team leader in minutes is junior guard, Don Coleman, who has averaged 26 points per game on the year with two efforts of 30 points plus in the first three games.

The big men of Cal have a chance to put a ding in the 32.9% field goal percentage that Wichita State allows this year, which could also allow Cal some good looks should the Shockers crash in on the inside. Wichita State isn’t too undersized in this matchup though with team scoring leader, senior center Shaquille Morris, coming in at 6’ 8” 279 lbs. Second in team scoring is 6’ 9” senior forward, Darral Willis Jr., who averages 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Another center, 6’ 10” senior Rauno Nurger, averages 21.5 minutes per game and 13.5 points per game as well. The Shockers are well equipped to handle the big men of Cal here.

There is a lot to like about Wichita State this year, but I don’t like the line being offered in this game. Cal’s primary players are upperclassmen, have enough size as to not be overwhelmed, and will be traveling a shorter distance to Maui for this matchup. I’ll take the 19.5 points here with Cal as my Monday NCAAB Pick.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 5-1, +3.95 Units

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