Stanford vs. Utah NCAA Basketball Picks for Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals

Doug Upstone

Thursday, March 12, 2015 4:06 PM GMT

The final Pac-12 quarterfinal game of the night features two clubs which have college basketball handicappers and those placing sports picks confused.

No. 3 seed Utah is 2-3 and 1-4 ATS in their last five tries, playing wildly inconsistent on offense and having more defensive breakdowns then earlier in the season.

Stanford is the sixth seed and they barely ended their three-game losing streak yesterday, escaping against Washington 71-69 as 9.5-point favorites, sending them to 0-4 ATS in this period and 2-9 ATS since the end of January.

Here is how this Pac-12 conflicts breakdown against the NCAA Basketball odds.

 

Utah Wins and Covers Because ….
Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak lit into his team as hard as he ever has during his four years after it lost its regular-season finale at Washington 77-68 as 13-point favorites. For Utah tonight and recently, it’s about focus and energy. If Utah plays with purpose, defends and executes, they win going away. They shoot 48.6 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from behind the arc, have a +5 rebound margin and allow 56.6 points a game. If the Utes match those numbers, they have to be on today’s list of college basketball picks versus the betting odds.

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Utah Loses and Fails to Cover Because ….
They fall into the familiar patterns of not being ready to play. Here are the shooting percentages of Utah’s past five contests: 52%, 40.4%, 30.9% 63.3% and 36.5%. Researching these kinds of numbers, this would fit a squad that is around .500, not who is 23-7 (19-10 ATS). The Utes have to bring their A-game to this tournament or they will be quickly dismissed. Another area of concern is Utah averages 61.9 PPG away from Salt Lake City and 79.9 PPG when at home.

 

Stanford Covers the Spread Because…
They have the talent to do so. With big-time talent like Chasson Randle and Stefan Nastic, the Cardinal can hang with Utah. Unfortunately, under coach Johnny Dawkins, Stanford is a yo-yo team and from game to game you never know what you will receive, thus with the Cardinal catching seven-points from the sportsbooks, they would certainly be a play with how Utah has shone of late, but can Stanford be trusted with college basketball picks? If the Cardinals are mentally prepared for a physical contest and make shots early, no reason they cannot make this a two or three point outcome either way.

Check out our 'Over/Under' pick for Stanford vs. Utah 

Stanford Loses and Fails to Cover the Spread Because….
They continue desultory efforts away from The Farm. In the Cardinal’s past six non-home games they are 0-6 ATS with one lone victory, which was yesterday. It is easy to figure out why Stanford is not beating the spread as in their last four games the opposing team has shot an average 50.4 percent. Do this against Utah; the Pac-12 campaign is over.

 

What to Expect
Look for Utah to come out breathing fire after coach Krystkowiak’s tirade. How Stanford handles this initial burst will go a long way to figuring who covers the college basketball odds in this contest.

Like most competition, the ability to impose your will matters. The Cardinal will have to match the Utes early intensity and if they do, they can settle in and make this a contest. Stanford lost at Utah 75-59 because they again did a poor job on defense inside the arc, allowing the Utes to make 20 of 36 shot attempts (55.5%). If Stanford plays with right mind set, they can make this worth watching.

However, I trust Utah more with my NCAA Basketball picks here. All year they have responded positively from defeats and are 6-0 and 5-1 ATS after a defeat and I will not forecast anything different as the Utes pull away and win by 11.

NCAA Basketball Pac-12  Pick: Utah -7