NCAA Basketball Picks: Back Utah -2 In Pac-12 Semifinal vs. California

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, March 11, 2016 7:31 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 11, 2016 7:31 PM UTC

At the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the No. 3 seeded Cal Bears play this Semi Final contest of the PAC 12 Conference Tourney against the Runnin’ Utes of Utah.

California vs. Utah (-2) 11:30 ET
These two split a pair of earlier decisions, each winning on their home floor.  In a matchup of quality teams on the rise.

By all accounts, Friday should be a great day for us.  The last 2 Fridays, the SBR video record is 5-0-1 ATS.  For today, we enter with the momentum of 2-0 ATS on college picks from Thursday, as WVU and Virginia each cruised to 20 point victories and easy covers.  Today, we switch gears a bit for more competitively priced contests.


California Golden Bears
Last night, Cal beat Oregon St. (76-68) to advance to the Semi Finals, following the game in which Utah held off USC for the Utes 8th consecutive victory.  

What a season it has been for a young California team under 2nd year HC Cuonzo Martin!  The offensive talent has clearly been there since the beginning.  But, it is a defense which allows just 67 PPG on 39% shooting with a +7 rebound margin, which has led the Bears to their vast improvement.  Cal enters tonight’s contest on runs of 9-2 SU, 10-1 ATS, after last night’s cover.  That includes winning 4 of 5 recent games away from home, after starting the season 0-5 SU ATS on the PAC-12 highway.  Having split the season series with the Utes, they will not go away easily.  


Utah Utes
Utah is also peaking at the right time.  That’s no surprise under 5th year HC Krystkowiak, who since joining the Utes 5 years ago, has lifted the team to season win records of 6, 15, 21, 26 and now 25-7 SU this season.  Krystkowiak has a formula that works to near perfection.  Each season he establishes his team’s defense first.  He then works on their rebounding efficiency, before finally putting the pieces to place on the offensive end.  This year’s team is molded around starting center, Jakob Poeltl, who excels on both ends of the floor.  The Utes’ great success has translated on offense to 78 PPG and 49 PPG, while dishing out 16 assists per game and knocking down 71% of their foul shots.  Their rebounding and defense has numbers that are virtually the equal of Cal.  


Final Analysis
The Utes annually play their best ball of the season in March.  Few are the equal of the underrated Krystkowiak in analyzing the details and the matchups of the game.  In a competitively priced game, he will get our money almost every time (consider his 39-17 ATS underdog record).  Tonight, with the more experienced team, I look for the Utes to once again emerge with a narrow victory against a good, but still young, Cal Bears team.   I invite you to put the NCAA Basketball odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA Basketball pick on Utah tonight.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah -2
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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