NCAA Basketball Picks: Fresno St. Strong Enough to Hang In & Cover vs. Arizona

Charles Stark

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 1:44 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 1:44 PM UTC

Arizona has turned the corner & will be a difficult team to beat. They are loaded talent wise, but are young. Fresno State, though, should be able to keep up a fight. What's our NCAA basketball pick?

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NCAA odds
NCAA Basketball odds have the Bulldogs as a +12.5 underdog -106 at Pinnacle Sports.  Most likely, this line will go up and Arizona will be a bigger favorite before tip, so you might want to pay attention to the line. For my NCAA pick today, I will back FSU to keep this game to single digits and cover the spread.


Fresno State Bulldogs
Fresno State comes in averaging 75.3 points per game while shooting 40.8% from the field, and giving up 69.7 points per game while allowing 40.8% as well from the field. They've not shot the three real well either averaging just 31.8% from the field, but at the same time they have been decent in negating opponents three point shooting, allowing just 32.5% on the year from distance. What I like about Fresno State is head coach Rodney Terry as the Bulldogs have improved their conference win total each season he has been at the helm since 2011, he is just a solid basketball coach. As well, they have a really strong backcourt with Marvelle Harris and Cezar Guerrero.

Although they lost their last two games on the road, one of the games was at Oregon which was a game in which they fought back. The other game was at Cal Poly and they simply did not shoot the ball very well, and on top of that, though, they got homered with the Mustangs getting to the free-throw line 35 times compared to Fresno State at just 17 times. I really don't think they have enough to pull the upset at Arizona, but what they do have is enough to battle hard and keep this a bit closer than people anticipate.


Arizona Wildcats
Arizona comes in averaging 74.2 points per game while shooting 45% from the field, and giving up 62.9 points per game while allowing 41.6% from the field. In their last win against Gonzaga, I was extremely impressed by how they came back after that first half. That is a really difficult place to play but it just goes to show what a great coach Sean Miller is and that Arizona could be a force to be reckoned with come March. Their only blemish on the schedule was a loss to a very solid team in Providence, and it will be very interesting to see if they get any more in conference play.

Along with their solid scoring defense, they are very tough at sending beyond the perimeter allowing just 29.1% from three-point range. On the other side of the ball it seems like, for them to be considered a final four team, they're going to have to shoot the three a bit better as they just average 28.7% from distance which is really poor. Right now it is not such a big deal because their strength is in the interior, and tonight I look for them to get the ball in the paint to find their scoring.

This is just too many points in this spot and for one of your NCAA Basketball picks, I recommend backing the Fresno State Bulldogs plus the points. The Bulldogs have some decent veterans back and a very good backcourt which should help them to hang in even at a tough venue in Arizona. It'll be very interesting to see how the Wildcats react after pulling off the upset at Gonzaga just two days ago. I am predicting a little bit of a letdown, just enough to get us to cover.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Fresno State Bulldogs +12½ at Pinnacle

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