Utah the Pick in Pick'em vs. Western Kentucky in NIT Semifinal

utah basketball

Willie Bee

Monday, March 26, 2018 1:51 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 26, 2018 1:51 PM UTC

After taking out No. 1 seeds to get to the NIT semifinals, Utah and Western Kentucky collide Tuesday night in a pick‘em on the NCAA basketball odds.

No. 4 Western Kentucky (27-10 SU, 23-12 ATS) vs. No. 2 Utah (22-11 SU, 17-11-3 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: UtahBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3429919, "sportsbooksIds":[93,169,238,19,118], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

If you had told Western Kentucky and Utah before the season started they would be among the last four teams standing at the NIT, there’s no doubt that news would’ve been met with some disappointment since both obviously would have rather gone to the Big Dance. Yet here the Hilltoppers and Utes are at Madison Square Garden with a chance to advance to Thursday’s championship tilt.

Western Kentucky and Utah open the NIT semifinals with a 7 PM (ET) tip Tuesday night in the Big Apple after each made impressive runs through their respective brackets. There has been very little movement at top-rated sportsbooks where the game was opened as a pick ‘em, most shops still showing that with a few making WKU a 1-point favorite. Likewise, the total has been stagnant in early action at 139½-140.

Both Teams Took Out No. 1 Seeds To Reach NYC

After their rally in the Conference USA Championship Game against Marshall came up short, the 4th-seeded Hilltoppers have put that in the rearview mirror with three wins and covers in the NIT. It started with a 79-62 decision at home over Boston College and continued with road wins at No. 1 USC and No. 2 Oklahoma State. Each of the wins against the Trojans and Cowboys came with Western Kentucky getting points, and both went ‘over’ totals around 150. The Hilltoppers shot almost 53% in the triumphs at LA and Stillwater while holding Southern Cal and Okie State to under 43% combined from the field.

Entering the tourney as a No. 2 seed, the Utes started off with victories at home over Cal-Davis and LSU, splitting covers in those contests as favorites on the NCAA basketball odds. The Utes then went to Moraga to take on No. 1 Saint Mary’s and dropped the Gaels for just the second time this season on their home floor in a 67-58 overtime decision. Utah outscored Saint Mary’s 33-19 from the third quarter on (remember, NIT is using quarters) in that contest, hitting four three-pointers in overtime to pull off the upset as a 6½-point underdog.

Utes & Hilltoppers Meeting For 1st Time

Western Kentucky and Utah are meeting for the first time, with the Hilltoppers reaching the final four of the NIT for the first time since 1948, while the Utes get to this point for the first time since 1992. Both sides have been solid at the window in recent action, WKU 5-1 ATS its last six while Utah has gone 7-3-1 since early February.

A toss up on the betting board, in the end I like how Utah closed at Saint Mary’s and will ride the Utes for my free college basketball pick.

comment here