After going 2-1 with our NCAA Basketball picks on Saturday, we go looking for more with these hot Plays of the Day for Sunday. One comes from the Big Ten, the other from the Pac-12.
Hoosiers at Home
Looking to lock up an NCAA Tournament bid, Indiana hosts Minnesota.
The Hoosiers are only 2-4 both SU and ATS over their last six games, after losing at Maryland Wednesday night 68-66. Indiana had a chance to win/tie that game late, but missed twice in the last 10 seconds. The Hoosiers, normally one of the better-shooting teams in the Big 10, shot just 37 percent from the floor Wednesday night.
At 17-8 overall and 7-5 in conference play Indiana is looking good as far as an NCAA tournament berth is concerned, but it can't let up; there's work yet to be done.
Minnesota, meanwhile, just picked up a big road victory, upsetting Iowa in Iowa City Thursday night 64-59. The Gophers only shot 40 percent from the floor, but held the Hawkeyes to 43 percent shooting and won the turnover battle by a 15-5 margin.
Minnesota has won three in a row overall, but at just 5-7 in conference play an NCAA tournament bid seems very unlikely for the Gophers, barring a late screaming run. Also, before Thursday's victory UM was 0-5 both SU and ATS on the Big Ten road.
Minnesota pulled an upset on the road last time out, while the Hoosiers lost a tough one on the road. But we like this game's chances of producing a “reversal of fortune” outcome. In a play that's as much a take on one team as it is a fade on the other we'll go with the home squad here at the short spread.
Free College Basketball Pick: Indiana -2.5 at Pinnacle
Bullish on the Bears
A sudden winner of five games in a row, California challenges Pac-12 leading Utah in Salt Lake City.
The Bears have run streaky this season, but at the moment at least they're running in the right direction. Cal opened 10-1 for new Coach Martin this season, then lost eight of its next nine games, the last few in ugly fashion. But the Bears then swept two games in the state of Washington, came home and beat USC and USC, and last time out, Thursday night, won at Colorado 68-61. Cal hit 10 of 22 shots from 3-point land and won outright as a seven-point underdog.
At 16-9 overall and 6-6 in Pac-12 play the Bears won't make the NCAA tournament, outside of a run through the conference tournament, but they are on the improve.
Utah, meanwhile, has won three in a row, after beating Stanford Thursday 75-59, covering as a 10-point favorite in the NCAA Basketball odds. Just before that the Utes won at Colorado by 28, and just before that they won at USC also by 28.
At 19-4 overall and 9-2 in conference play Utah is tied for first place in the Pac-12 with Arizona, and in the running for a good seed in the upcoming Big Dance.
We're becoming fans of Coach Martin and his playing style, and after a rough January Cal seems to have recovered. Also, this spread appears inflated by at least a couple of buckets toward the home team. We like the Bears and the points for our NCAA Basketball pick.
Free College Basketball Pick: Cal +17.5 at Heritage