Free NCAA Tournament Picks for Cal Poly vs. Wichita State

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:54 PM GMT

The #16 seed Cal Poly Mustangs (14-19) face the #1 seed and undefeated Wichita St. Shockers (34-0) in the 2nd round of the NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday. Where does the best value for our NCAA Tournament picks lay?

According to college basketball betting odds there was no point-spread or total posted at the time of this writing. However, my personal power numbers show Wichita St. as being a 16.0 point favorite, and my educated guess on the total is approximately 131.0. Wichita St. is the winners of both the Missouri Valley regular season and conference tournament titles. Cal Poly finished tied for 6th in the Big West regular season standings, and then proceeded to win the conference tournament which earned them the automatic bid to the “Big Dance”.


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An Improbable Run
This is a Cal Poly team that entered the NCAA Tournament with one of the worst records (13-19) to ever qualify for the marquee event. After going just 6-10 during their conference schedule, and entering their conference tournament with an overall 10-19 record, the Mustangs went on an improbable run, and won 3-games in 3-days. They knocked off the top 2 seeds UC-Santa Barbara and UC-Irvine in the first 2 rounds, and then won a thriller in Big West Final over CS-Northridge. The magical carpet ride continued on Wednesday during the NCAA Tournament play-in-game at Dayton. The Mustangs knocked off the SWAC champion Texas Southern Tigers 81-69 and covered as a 3.5 point favorite. Their reward is to face the undefeated and #2 ranked Shockers from Wichita St. This figures to be a loose bunch that’s playing with house money. However, no #16 seed has ever defeated a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the likelihood of it happening in this game would be an extreme long shot at best.

 

Playing with a Chip on their Shoulders
It’s very difficult to fathom that a team that went a perfect 34-0 prior to the NCAA Tournament, is the #1 seed in their Regional, and is the #2 ranked team in the country, would be playing with the proverbial chip on their shoulder, but that’s exactly the scenario for the Wichita St. Shockers. The talking heads on national television aren’t giving the Shockers a whole lot of love, and are constantly reminding viewers that their strength of schedule this season has been less than impressive. Then to add insult to injury they were placed in by far the toughest Regional of them all. Make no mistake about it this veteran team isn’t short on confidence. After all, this is a program that advanced to the Final Four just a season ago, and lost a closely contested semifinal game versus eventual national champion Louisville. I’m of the opinion that the lack of respect being displayed by the media will serve as a blessing and not a curse. This will be a very motivated team and one that certainly won’t rest on their laurels.

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Final Analysis
Cal Poly will be totally overmatched and outclassed in this contest. The Shockers will be out to make a statement right from the start of the tournament, and the Mustangs will be the victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Wichita State minus the points over Cal Poly