Colorado Buffaloes the NCAA Basketball Picks at Hawaii

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 25, 2014 4:02 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 4:02 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Thursday.


The team hosting the Diamond Head Classic has a very tough follow-up Thursday evening after throwing a scare into 11th ranked Wichita State and losing by one point in overtime as the Colorado Buffaloes (7-4, 0-2 away) now pay a visit to those Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (9-4, 6-2 home) at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, HI at 6:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Colorado as a moderate favorite for this contest with the current line at -3½ with odds of -108.

Do Warriors Have Anything Left?
With the this being the third place game of the Diamond Head Classic, the hosting Rainbow Warriors would secure their highest finish in the six-year history of this tournament, but unfortunately they may have a tough act to follow after taking the Shockers to overtime before being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in heartbreaking fashion 80-79 on a put-back by Rashard Kelly with 3.5 seconds left.

Remember that Wichita State has still lost just one regular season game since the start of last year with that being by one point on the road at Utah earlier this season, so we fear that Hawaii will not have much energy left tonight after such an emotional effort vs. an elite opponent. And remember that Colorado has a fine team in its own right made the NCAA Tournament in its 23-12 season last year and is looking for a return trip last season.

Colorado Almost 100 Spots Higher on Pomeroy
With a brand new calendar year now just one week away, the Pomeroy Ratings are starting to become much more meaningful and the Buffaloes are currently ranked 66th overall, which is nearly 100 spots higher than their 162nd ranked opponents from Hawaii.

And this looks like a better Colorado defensive team than the one that went to the Big Dance last season, as the 2014 version is ranked 53rd in defensive efficiency and is allowing an effective field goal percentage of just 45.0 percent.

Colorado is a team that returned all five starters from last season, including leading scorer Askia Booker, who probably would be better served as a shooting guard but has been playing the point the last two years, as the one weakness for the Buffaloes is the lack of a true point guard. Still, Booker once again leads the team in scoring and assists this year.

Not a Tough Schedule Before Shockers
Another reason Hawaii might be in for a letdown here is that the Warriors did not face a difficult schedule before the start of this tournament, and although they upset Nebraska in the opening round, that is a disappointing Cornhuskers’ team that has lost to the likes of Incarnate Word this season, and then Wichita State became the Warriors’ toughest test the very next night.

And while Hawaii exceeded all expectations in that contest, aside from the emotional letdown expected here, the Warriors also shot an unreal 10-for-23, 43.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc, a feat they cannot be expected to duplicate here. You see, besides facing a good and improved Colorado defense, Hawaii is still ranked 233rd in the country in three-point shooting at 31.8 percent, so Tuesday’s performance was probably just an anomaly.

Booker Must Avoid Foul Trouble
Also, Colorado did not have the best of luck in its 53-30 loss to George Washington when Booker only played a touch over four minutes of the first half due to picking up two quick fouls, and he finished with just eight points and two assists for the entire game. Thus, Colorado probably would be playing in the championship game of this tournament if the aforementioned team leader in points and assists had been allowed to play his normal game.

Assuming Booker stays out of foul trouble again, look for the better Colorado team to prevail safely taking on Hawaii in Honolulu on Christmas evening.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Colorado -3½ (-108)

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