March Madness Picks: California vs. South Florida
Two teams that were sweating and waiting to see their name on the bracket are shipping out to Dayton for the final game of the First Four in NCAA basketball betting action, as the South Florida Bulls take on the Cal Golden Bears.
The Pac-12 had to really watch and wonder on Sunday whether its time as an even remotely relevant basketball conference has come to a close. This league has been down for years, and though there are occasionally teams that find their way into the Elite 8, not since the UCLA Bruins has there been a truly great team in the bunch. Cal only just barely made it dancing, and that seems to be interesting for a team that won 24 games and was the only one in the conference with a Top 40 RPI this year. That being said, there was probably a punishment for the dismissal of Richard Solomon, who was one of the few that were in the rotation for the Golden Bears. Now, they have to rely on really just five guys for their scoring and minutes on the court. All of the top five on the team are averaging at least 25 minutes, three of which are playing at least 32 minutes. Those three, Allen Crabbe, Jorge Gutierrez, and Justin Cobbs are the top three scorers on the club, and they are combining to put up over 40 points per game. Gutierrez and Cobbs are great ball handlers as well, and that really could come in handy against a team that loves to try to create offense with its defense.
The Bulls are the only team of the 68 that are in the tournament that don’t have a single man averaging double digits in scoring. The team ranks No. 329 in the land offensively, and even though it is No. 7 in total defense at 56.9 points per game, we are most certainly questioning how this side got in. There were some woeful losses out of conference, and though there were a bunch of wins in the Big East this year, the league wasn’t nearly as good as it usually is (even if it did get nine in the field), and thanks to the unbalanced schedule, the Bulls happened to get a soft road to get here. Will it turn out to be a huge mistake to put this team in the fold? We might find out in Dayton, especially knowing that the possibility is here for this game to be quite ugly, especially if the Golden Bears can’t push some sort of tempo into the duel.
The Final Word: This is a game that really suits the Golden Bears, because they really should be able to use just the five guys that they want to thanks to the fact that the game is going to be at a snail’s pace. Lay the points with Cal, as it should have no problem dismissing a USF team that we still think should be playing in the NIT.
California Golden Bears vs. South Florida Bulls Pick: California Golden Bears -2.5
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