NCAA Basketbal Pick: Utah To Continue Their Winning Streak Against Arizona St.

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, February 25, 2016 5:34 PM GMT

Employees at Huntsmen Arena have signs that say “Hide the Women and Children.”  That is a prophecy of the type of annihilation that is expected to take place, especially in my NCAA basketball pick.

Arizona St. vs. Utah (-10-) 9:00 ET PAC 12 TV
The game is scheduled for a 9:00 pm ET tip as televised by PAC 12 TV. This is clearly the story of two teams headed opposite directions, setting up a pure momentum play on the home standing Utes.

In the first season under HC Bobby Hurley, who earned this job after his great success in turning around the Buffalo program, the Sun Devils have struggled in league play. They entered 2016 on a 4-game winning streak with a record of 10-3 SU. It included wins over NC State, Creighton and Texas A&M. But, the air was quickly let out of the balloon after a 0-3 SU ATS start against Arizona, USC and UCLA, in which they allowed over 83 PPG.

That culminated 8 days ago when they traveled to rival Arizona, where they were destroyed by a score of 99-61. It leaves them with a 14-13 SU record for the year, 4-10 SU in PAC 12 play, with only hopes for a bid to a lesser post-season tourney. They do not figure to make any headway toward that goal tonight, as they take on a red hot Utah team.

 

Betting Analysis
5th year Utah HC Krystowiak is one of the more underrated coaches in the NCAA. In his previous 4 years, the western version of Coach K, lifted his Utes from 6 to 15 to 21 to 26 wins. Last season culminated with a trip to the Sweet 16. With 4 returning starters, led by interior force, Jakob Poeltl, the Utes were again pegged for an upper echelon finish in the PAC 12. Those predictions were questioned after a 1-3 SU ATS start to the league season.

Since that time, however, the Utes have responded by going 9-2 SU in league play and enter tonight on a 4-game winning streak after they swept the Southern California teams last weekend with victories at (75-73) at UCLA and (80-69) at USC. This is a solid defensive team allowing less than 70 PPG and less than 42% from the field. But a quickly improving offense has taken advantage of the new rule changes to average 79 PPG on 50% shooting, including 37% from the arc.Along with 72% from the stripe to extend leads. 

They also average over 16 assists per game and have a (+5.4) rebound margin. With the loss by Arizona last night, the Utes are now tied with the Wildcats for 2nd place in the PAC 12 (a single game behind Oregon). That provides plenty of incentive, as they take on this struggling Arizona team. 

With a 60-29 ATS record on this court, the momentum of a 4-game win streak and the incentive of the conference crown, there is good reason to see why attendants at Huntsmen Arena have just completed the posting of the signs that read “HIDE THE WOMEN AND THE CHILDREN.”  I invite you put the NCAA basketball odds boards in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick on the Utah Utes tonight.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah -12.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes