Take Washington St. To Cover As Your NCAA Basketball Pick Over Arizona

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 12:29 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 12:29 PM UTC

Arizona got a much needed win over Oregon State last Saturday and travels to the Great Northwest to face Washington State, making for thought provoking NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington State +11
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


While Arizona was blowing game to Oregon, coach Sean Miller got torqued and started screaming at his team on the bench. The passion was fine but the opposite point of view was this dude went loony. There were questions about mental state of the Wildcats and they fell from -13.5 to -11 against the Beavers at home and played a super second half to win 80-63.

If Arizona has expectations of still catching the Ducks in the Pac-12, they cannot afford any slipups and have to pull off a sweep in the Evergreen State. This first starts in Pullman against last place Washington State, who is 1-8 and 2-7 ATS in league play. This contest is on the Pac-12 Network at 7:00 Pacific and the NCAA basketball odds boards have the Cougars as double digit underdogs.


Arizona Has To Step Up Intensity
The Wildcats are 17-5 (12-10 ATS) and while those from Tucson and other destinations feel Arizona should have a better record, this team has not always played hard or done their best. This is why they have been tagged five times for losses. Some players took their coaches berating to heart like captain Gabe York (14.5 points a game) and played like he had something to prove. "Coach challenged all of us," York said. "I'm not speaking for everybody, but for me, I took that to heart. I took it upon myself that I need to be a better captain, a better leader and tonight (Saturday) my teammates found me."

The next question is did the Wildcats players actually learn something or is it gone and they slip back into more passive ways? Like all teams, Arizona is not quite as good defensively on the road, with opponents shooting 43.7 percent compared to 41.8 percent at the McKale Center. This contest will be about the Wildcats recommitting themselves and players like center Kaleb Tarczewski (10.5) and Kadeem Allen (9.0) upping their game and bringing the passion.


Washington State No Factor In Rugged Pac-12
Even now it is hard to fathom the Cougars (9-12 and 9-11 ATS) upset UCLA 86-78 as four-point home underdogs back on Jan.3rd. Coach Ernie Kent's club has not won since, losing by 15.4 PPG. At least coach Kent can fire up the troops having lost almost three weeks ago 90-66 to Arizona.

Washington State feature two main players, forward Josh Hawkinson (16 PPG and 10.7 rebounds) and guard Ike Iroegbu (14.9 PPG and 3.9 assists). Both play over 30 minutes and have to because their teammates are all minor contributors. Wazzou is effective offensive team, averaging 79.2 PPG at home on 49.8 percent accuracy, but lacks the foot speed and quickness to be a very good defensive team.

Only way the Cougs win the game is making shots, forcing turnovers and being the aggressor.


What Bettors Need To Know
Arizona is 3-3 SU and ATS in actual road games, winning by 4.2 PPG. The 'Cats are just 2-3 ATS as road favorites, surrendering a whooping 80.6 PPG, which is why coach Miller has been so displeased. Arizona is 6-4 ATS with three or more days off and is 9-2 and 7-4 ATS off a spread cover.

Washington State is 8-5 (6-6 ATS) on the home hardwood, but has not been nearly as effective in the role of home underdog at 1-4 and 2-3 ATS, losing by 8.2 PPG. Off their 83-50 thumping by UCLA, the Cougars are 4-15 ATS off a road loss by 10 points or more the last three seasons.


What to Expect & Spread Winner
Arizona opened as -11 point away faves with a total of 152. The spread outcome is largely about desire. If the Wildcats take care of business, they win by 16 points and move to 10-2 ATS after a Pac-12 home victory.

If the Wildcats do not play hard or only in spurts, for our NCAA basketball picks, Washington State is the more attractive choice and February underdogs of 10 to 19.5 points, after being beaten against the spread by 24 or more total points total in their last three games are 61-29 ATS the last five seasons.

Consider the Cougs to cover for your Wednesday's college hoops plays.

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