NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington vs. Stanford

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, January 4, 2015 1:36 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 1:36 PM UTC

Washington completes its weekend swing Sunday night with a trip to Stanford in the second Pac-12 game of the season for both. The Cardinal opened as 7.5-point favorites on NCAA basketball odds.

Huskies About to Drop from Top 25
Washington (11-2) was ranked as high as No. 13 with some good non-conference wins over ranked San Diego State and Oklahoma. And while the Huskies enter this one at No. 21 in the AP poll, they are almost surely going to fall out as they have lost two straight. The first, on Dec. 28 at home, was a shocker: 62-57 to little Stony Brook. UW opened Pac-12 play on Friday at California and fell 81-75. Nigel Williams-Goss nearly had a triple-double against the Bears with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in a losing effort.

The Huskies have by far the nation's leading shot-blocker in 7-foot center Robert Upshaw. He had 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks against Cal. He has 60 blocks on the season, more than several teams. He's already just seven shy of tying the Washington single-season record (67) held by David Dixon and Christian Welp.

The Huskies are 6-6 against the NCAA basketball betting spread this season and 5-7 'over/under.'


Stanford Loses Key Player
Stanford (9-3) has won three straight, including an impressive overtime win at ranked Texas and Friday's Pac-12 opener at home against Washington State. However, the team got bad news before that game against the Cougars.

Highly touted freshman Reid Travis, a McDonald's high school All-American, will be sidelined indefinitely with a stress fracture. The 6-foot-8 power forward from Minneapolis had started the first 11 games and averaged 7.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He rose to the occasion in Stanford's two biggest games to date, pulling down 14 rebounds against Texas and 12 rebounds in a loss against Duke. He was the first McDonald's All-American to commit to Stanford since brothers Brook and Robin Lopez back in 2006.

In Friday's 71-56 win over Washington State, Grant Verhoeven made his first career start in Travis' place. He was scoreless but had six rebounds in 15 minutes. The Cardinal's best player is guard Chasson Randle, and he led the team with 18 points against Wazzu, 17 of them in the second half when the Cardinal outscored WSU by 12. Randle is tied with Dion Cross (1992-96) for the school's all-time lead in 3-pointers made (241).  Randle leads Stanford in scoring at 18.4 points per game.

Stanford is very good at taking care of the ball. It ranks in the Top 15 nationally in fewest turnovers and had only six against Washington State. The Cardinal are 83-27 at home overall under Coach Johnny Dawkins and unbeaten in seven games this season. Stanford is 6-5-1 against the spread overall and 6-6 'over/under' at sportsbooks. The Cardinal are 10-16 all-time against Top-25 teams under Dawkins. That record is 1-1 this year with the win over Texas and loss to Duke.


Last Season
The teams split last season, each winning at home. For the game in Palo Alto, the Cardinal were 10-point favorites at sportsbooks and won 79-67. Randle tied his career high with 33 points, shooting 11 of 15 from the field. He led a late 10-2 Stanford run that put the game away. Williams-Goss led the Huskies with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. In the rematch in Seattle, Stanford was a 2.5-point favorite on NCAA basketball odds and lost 64-60. Randle committed a crucial offensive foul with 5.3 seconds left. Randle finished with 17 points but only four in the second half. Williams-Goss had another strong game with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Stanford owns a 71-69 advantage in the all-time series, but the Huskies have won eight of the past 10. The Cardinal are 2-10 vs. the Huskies under Dawkins. UW last won at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 12, 2013, 65-60.

The Cardinal probably win but that's too many points to give. Stanford has covered just one of its past eight vs. the Pac-12 dating to last season. The Huskies are 8-3 ATS in the past 11 meetings and have covered five of their past seven at Stanford. We are taking Washington as our college basketball pick on this one.

Free NCAAB Pick: Washington +5.5 points at BetOnline

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