NCAA Basketball Pick: Cal Poly SLO +17 over Arizona

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, November 8, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Arizona Wildcats open the season ranked sixth in the country, but they may face a bit of a challenge for a potentially underrated Cal Poly team in the opener Friday.

The sixth ranked team in the preseason rankings could possibly have a bit of a tougher time than the large point spread suggests in the season opener on Friday night when the Cal Poly SLO Mustangs pay a visit to those sixth ranked Arizona Wildcats at the McKale Center in Tucson, AZ at 10:00 ET in a game available on Pac-12 Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Cal Poly SLO as a huge underdog for this contest with the current line at +17 with odds of -106.

Expectations are high for the Wildcats this season, but starting experience may be an issue at the outset as they return only two starters from last year including losing leading scorer Mark Lyons and his 15.6 points per game. Arizona does return two other players that saw significant minutes off the bench though in Brandon Ashley and Jordin Mayes, and perhaps most importantly they are adding a talented transfer at point guard, as well as a fine recruiting class.

Cal Poly may be under the radar playing in the Big West, but the Mustangs are a well-coached disciplined team under Coach Joe Callero that returns three starters from a club that won 18 games and ranked second in the entire country in fewest turnovers last season, and the returnees include their two biggest contributors last year in Chris Everly (15.4 points, 7.0 rebounds per game) and Brian Bennett, as well as their assist leader in Jamal Johnson.

Arizona advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 last season where they were nipped by Ohio State 73-70 with Lyons leading the way. The Wildcats advanced that far without having a true point guard as Lyons was a natural shooter playing the point, but that is not the case this season with a true pass-first point guard T.J. McConnell transferring in from Duquesne. The only down side there is that McConnell may not provide the same scoring Lyons did.

However, the Cats are hoping to pick up that scoring from there two prized recruits at forward in Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and if that happens, Arizona may actually make a deeper NCAA Tournament run this season with a true distributor running the point. This is a team that only figures to get better as the season goes on, but the Cats could be vulnerable giving this many points to a more experienced team early on.

Last year was actually the second straight season that Cal Poly won 18 games so Coach Callero has certainly instilled a winning attitude in his disciplined team. No, the Mustangs do not have the athletes that Arizona has, but they make up for it with sound fundamentals such as ranking fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio last season.

Moreover, the Mustangs are not afraid to tackle Pac-12 heavyweights either as they posted outright road wins at UCLA last season and at USC the prior year!

We are not asking for another upset here with this big spread, and Cal Poly certainly seems to have the right style and fundamentals to slide in under this number in Tucson on Friday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Cal Poly SLO +17 (-106)

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