NCAA Basketball Picks: History Prompts 'Under' As The Sharp Play In Washington vs. Utah

Willie Bee

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 1:26 PM GMT

Utah is favored on the NCAA basketball odds board in tonight's clash with Washington, and the loser could find their path to the NCAA Tournament a little tougher to make.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 158
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

The general consensus at this time is that the Oregon Ducks are the only team from the Pac-12 close to being a lock for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. If that's true, what we might be looking at Wednesday evening when the Washington Huskies take on the Utah Utes is something of an elimination game as far as invites to the Big Dance go.

Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City is the site for the second meeting of the season between the two, ESPN2 broadcasting the tip a little past 9 PM (ET). BetOnline has Utah -8 while the line at 5Dimes is -8½, and 158 is the scoreboard hurdle for the contest.

Oregon has already reached the 20-win plateau this year, and the Ducks sit on top of the conference standings with a 9-2 record in Pac-12 play. That gives them a 1½-game lead over USC (7-3), the Trojans part of our upcoming Friday night NCAA basketball picks schedule, and a 2-game lead over both Washington and Arizona who are 7-4.  Utah (6-5) sits three games behind Oregon heading into this game.

The Utes just dropped their second game of the season to Oregon last Sunday, making it more difficult for Larry Krystkowiak's club to gain ground on the leaders. Washington still has a head-to-head battle with the Ducks on February 28, the only time the two will meet before possibly the conference tourney.

 

Utes Eye Season Sweep Of U-Dub
Though Utah has already lost both chances to beat Oregon, the Utes can at least partially make up for that with a win tonight to give them a season sweep of Washington. The first meeting took place a little more than two weeks ago in Seattle, and it was a humdinger of a ballgame as Utah came away with 80-75 victory in overtime. Utah closed as a 4 point favorite on the NCAA basketball odds to just beat the spread.

Jakob Poeltl was a man amongst boys that evening in Alaska Airlines Arena, tallying a game-high 29 points for the Utes and pulling down 10 board. Kyle Kuzma (11 pts, 10 reb) also recorded a double-double for Utah, three more players scoring at least 10. Neither side shot that well -- Utah 41.4%, Washington 38.4% -- leading to the two clubs pulling down 93 boards combined, 31 of those on the offensive end.

The win gave the Utes and ever so slight 10-9 advantage in the series, Utah also owning a 4-3 edge in the matchups as Pac-12 opponents. Last year's contest in Salt Lake City ended with a 77-56 decision for the Utes who were 13½ point favorites, and had just enough to get past a 127½ point total.

 

Utes Back Home On 2-Game Skid
Should the recent lose one, win one pattern continue for Washington (15-8 straight up, 12-9 against the spread), the Huskies are due a dubya in tonight's contest. They were home last Saturday vs. Arizona where the Huskies watched a 9-point lead in the first half disintegrate thanks to the Wildcats scoring the final eight points of the opening stanza in an eventual 77-72 UA triumph.

Noah Dickerson was limited to just seven minutes in that game due to turning an ankle early on, and he's questionable to answer the bell on Wednesday. The freshman forward is averaging nearly 23 minutes of floor time for head coach Lorenzo Romar, and is fifth on the team in scoring (8.2 ppg) while grabbing 5½ boards a game.

Utah (17-7 SU, 9-12-1 ATS) not only lost at Oregon on Sunday, the Utes also fell at Oregon State three days earlier, 71-69, as slight road chalk. The Utes shot over 50% for both games, but turnovers cost them against the Ducks while a very silly foul at the end of the game in Corvallis hurt them against the Beavers.

This is the same total as the last meeting when the clubs couldn't reach it despite going into overtime, and the 'under' is once again the right play tonight.

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