March 16, 2016

NCAA Basketball Betting: Utah vs. Fresno State

NCAA Basketball Betting:  Utah vs. Fresno State&h=253&w=372&zc=1

This is a potentially interesting 3 vs. 14 matchup and the committee did Utah no favors (despite sending them a quick flight away to Denver). Fresno State might not look like they’re capable of matching up with the Utes ‘on paper’ but if you watched them in the Mountain West tournament you know that they’re a very versatile team capable of a gutsy effort. Fresno lost arguably their best player, Torren Allen, to injury and he won’t play here. Teams go either way in situations like this–they either shut down or they show some resolve and the Aztecs did the latter.

That being said, the University of Utah is a handful. They didn’t turn in a good showing in the Pac 12 championship game against Oregon but that will happen with teams that put up as many three point shots as Utah. True, some teams in this situation respond better than did the Utes but as horse players so often say “I’m going to draw a line through that performance”. If Utah’s shots are falling this price looks very low. The Utes have four double digit scorers (Fresno has one) and among them 7 foot center Jacob Poeltl who is a very tough matchup. The Aztecs have some size they can put on him but none with Poeltl’s skill and athleticism. Plus there’s plenty of other options on the floor for Utah at any given time.

Fresno has been a very nice play as an underdog this season (9-4 ATS) and no matter what you think of their head coach, Steve Fisher, he’s definitely been around for a long time. This isn’t his ‘first rodeo’ and that means a lot for a team that is ‘on paper’ overmatched. Even more so for a team that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in over a decade. The iconic Jerry Tarkanian was roaming the sidelines the last time a Fresno team made the NCAA’s.

Ultimately, Utah fits the profile of a team that can cover a number like this. Fresno will bring a gutty effort but they simply just don’t have the weapons necessary to shut down this balanced Utah offense.