The Stanford Cardinal find themselves in a really tough spot. They're currently on the bubble where the NCAA Tournament is concerned and have to go into Tucson and face the #5 Arizona Wildcats. A win for Stanford would most likely get them a trip to the Big Dance, but as 14.5 point betting underdogs, that's easier said than done. See who we like as our betting pick in this matchup.
Tip-off is set for 4:00 pm ET this afternoon at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona. This game will be broadcasted nationally on CBS. According the NCAA Basketball odds, the Wildcats are a 14.5 betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 141.
An Opportunity as the Regular Season Closes
Even with a loss, Stanford is still in contention for post season play, but a loss will give them a .500 record in the Pac-12 and the NCAA Voting Committee frowns upon teams that don't play well in their respective conferences. This game is more like an opportunity for Stanford as it's the last game of the regular season and the Pac-12 Conference Tournament will be next. Desperate teams usually play well in the higher ranked conferences. Is Stanford one of those teams is the question?
Full Speed Ahead
Where the Wildcats are concerned, they come into this game right where they want to be. They're the best team in the conference and the favorites to win the Pac-12 Conference Tournament. They've also won 13 out of their last 14 games and have already beaten Stanford in a previous matchup on January 22nd, 89-82. Arizona's goal would be to win out in hopes of a possible #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but there's still work to be done.
Arizona is coming off of a 99-60 blowout of the California Golden Bears as Brandon Ashley led the way with 21 points and 6 rebounds on 8 of 12 shooting from the field.
The Wildcats don't have a definitive 20 point scorer on their team, but Ashley, Rondae- Hollis Jefferson, Stanley Johnson, and Kaleb Tarczewski are all capable of leading the way. Against the Bears, point guard, T.J. McConnell was in full form as he dished out a team high 11 assists to go along with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. McConnell was 4 for 5 from the field. Arizona is a team that's always going to go with the hot hand while playing good defense and Stanley Johnson and Brandon Ashley are the go to guys. Every player fits their role perfectly and that's why this team is one of the best in the nation.
This is a team that averages 76.2 points per game while shooting nearly 50% from the field. There aren't many weaknesses on this club and Stanford will need to play one of their best games of the season to win.
On the Bubble
Stanford doesn't have that one huge win on their resume. They beat Texas and Washington twice when these teams had better records, but as of now, those aren't considered quality wins. The Cardinal are also on a 2 game losing streak after losses to Arizona State and Oregon. They need a near perfect showing in their conference tournament, but a win here can change all of that. This would be asking a lot.
What Stanford does have that Arizona doesn't is two big-time scorers in the form of seniors Chasson Randle (19.2 ppg) and Anthony Brown (15.1 ppg., 7.2 rpg.) While both players have been consistent scorers, they have not shot well from the field as of late. Where Randle is concerned, he's shooting under 40% from the field. When you're leading scorer shoots that poorly, your team isn't going to win many games. Both of these players must give a super-human effort in this game and it has been done before.
Everything in this game tells the bettor to lay the points and take Arizona with their NCAA basketball picks. I'm fading the Wildcats and taking the desperate team who has scorers that are quite capable of making this a close game like their earlier encounter this season.
NBA Pick- Stanford +14.5 at 5Dimes.