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College Hoops Picks
USC vs. Cal
Santa Clara vs. Gonzaga
Our score predictions have been on fire. But the number of potential plays can vary day to day. When it rains, it pours. Other days, it's tough to find anything at all. Yesterday for example, there were 15 plays worth playing based on our projections. Those plays went 12-3 with the home teams going 7-1. Yet today, while the card is a bit smaller, not much stands out. There are a couple to take a look at however.
USC visits Cal tonight in a PAC 10 game between two mediocre teams. Cal is 6-7 in conference play and 13-12 overall. USC is 5-7 and 13-12. Still plenty to play for though. You have the conference tournaments followed by the NIT, the CBI and CIT Tournaments. So, not making the big dance is not the end of the world. College hoops is filled with 2nd chances.
Not much separates these two. Cal beat USC at USC in their first meeting by two and our numbers think Cal will do it again tonight. The betting line is a very reasonable -2 and our numbers have Cal by 6. So we're just asking Cal to basically win straight up here. They are 9-5 at home to USC's 3-8 on the road and Cal gets Allen Crabbe, their 2nd leading scorer back from a concussion.
The only drawback we see here, and this is worth noting, is that USC is 8-1 in Thursday games this year while just 2-7 in Saturday games. Very significant and a fantastic example of how a lack of depth can impact a team. Put that in your handicapping bag of tricks and check out ALL of the division 1 college hoops teams and you'll spot more of the same and will find some great plays as a result. Obviously, if this game were being played on a Saturday, we'd have a much stronger opinion here.
Prediction - Cal 70 USC 64
The other game that stands out according to our numbers is Santa Clara at Gonzaga. We have Gonzaga by 27 with the line Gonzaga --14. A year ago, plays that fit this criteria had the highest winning percentage using our numbers. Games where our model had a double digit favorite in the 11-15 range, winning by 25+ points. This year, it's been the small dogs that have performed the best using out numbers, however, if you've been following along, you'll have noticed plenty of double digit blowouts.
There's added incentive here for Gonzaga as well. They lost at Santa Clara 85-71 a month ago and as we know, bounce backs are the norm in this situation. Also, this game is for 2nd place in the WCC which is very important for tournament seeding. A Gonzaga loss and they are tied with Santa Clara. A win and they have a two game lead for 2nd place.
Our numbers like Gonzaga by such a large margin as a result of having played a much tougher schedule than Santa Clara. A quick glance at the win loss records of each team shows perhaps two relatively equal teams. However, when you dig in and examine how they achieved those records, you find that Gonzaga is the much better team.
Prediction - Gonzaga 87 Santa Clara 60
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