College Basketball Picks: March 1st 2012
Washington State vs. UCLA
Prediction: Washington State +10
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This line has come down from its opening number and you have to figure that the recent stories popping up about the program have something to do with it. The Sports Illustrated article that hit the web showed the problems that are going on including issues with the players against one another as well as head coach Ben Howland. An at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament that was slim before this week is likely out the door now and the players will certainly not be going all out as the season closes.
Things have not been great in Pullman this year as Washington St. is sitting at 14-14 overall including 6-10 in the Pac 12 but the Cougars continue to fight. They have dropped some close games recently, losing to Washington by four points, Arizona by four points, three points to UCLA and four points to Arizona St. Washington St. has been an underdog of more than 8.5 points only once in conference action and just twice all year and it covered both of those games.
Taking a look at the numbers and you will see that these two teams are nearly identical. Both are shooting above 46 percent from the floor while allowing right around 43 percent shooting on defense while both teams own a slight edge in rebounding margin. Washington St. does have a significant edge at the free throw line and that has been one of its strengths all season. That was not case in its last game against Washington as it went 17-32 from the stripe but that aberration will not come into play here.
Washington St. is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games coming off a loss by six points or fewer while going 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games coming off a home game. UCLA meanwhile is 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games coming off a loss by three points or fewer including going 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games coming off a conference loss by three points or less. This is a solid price for a team that we will see play harder than it opponent as at this point, the Bruins are just waiting for the end of the season to arrive. 3* (731) Washington St. Cougars -Matt Fargo