The early game between San Francisco and San Diego went pretty much just as planned and was an easy winner for the Dons 69-60. San Francisco will play BYU on Monday in what should be the best game of the tournament as I think the winner will win the WCC tourney.
Still on the docket is Fresno St. -6 at San Jose State. Below is the writ up for that one.
The new added play is #623 UC Santa Barbara -2 at #624 Cal Poly, 122.5 OU, at 7pm PST. On first look one would jump at this play. UCSB, 11-4, will finish in 2nd place behind UC Irvine and will slug it out with the Anteaters in the conference tourney. Cal Poly, 6-9, ranks in the bottom 20% of just about every meaningful stat category. They've lost the last two games, four of the last five, and 9 of the last twelve. This line seemed kind of fishy, and I think it is, but I think it's wrong. Yeah, this is senior night at Cal Poly, but it's also the last conference game for some of the Gaucho players too. In addition, Cal Poly's first conference game was at Santa Barbara where they beat the home team 72-64. This was not an easy loss for the Gauchos to swallow. If for no other reason that to ruin the Mustang's last hooray, the Gauchos will seek revenge.
The Gauchos do not want to end on a loss before the tournament begins and with the added revenge factor, laying 2 points is barely one possession. I look for UCSB to win this one easily by 10+ points.
This post could just as easily be titled, "How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb," or The Big, Really Big Sky Enters The Octagon!"
First off, let's deal with the Big Sky. These comments are just opinions and not official picks so please dissect them carefully.
Saturday is really like putting numbers two through nine into the octagon and whoever survives gets an invite to the conference tournament. The Big Sky only invites 7 teams to the conference tournament so numbers 8-11 are just SOL. I think this is actually a good concept and should be adopted by other conferences as it forces competition right down to the last game and in this instance, we've got 8 teams vying for 6 spots on the last day of conference play. Weber State, Montana, and North Dakota are shoe-ins, but there's still an opportunity for #4 through #6 to advance. The real scrambling will come from Sacramento State -3, who hosts Montana State and I see Sac. St., who is almost unbeatable at home, winning and covering this one. The next big brew-ha-ha will be Weber State -1 at E. Washington, another team that's hard to beat at home. I think Weber St.will not be ultra motivated and EW gets the home win. N. Colorado -8.5 should be able to handle S. Utah now that the Thunderbirds have won their first conference game, and the Montana/N. Arizona game shouldn't have too much affect on the final standings.
I'm always intrigued by these smaller conference battles. If you love the Rocky movies, these are the Rockys of college hoops.
Now down to the official picks. There's two games I'm on already and there will probably be a couple more before high noon approaches.
But first, let me give an opinion on the West Coast Conference Tournament that is already underway. There's 8 teams left. (see image).
Gonzaga, BYU, and St. Mary's have all had problems on the road, but the Zags finally kicked it in gear winning the last 2 road games handily at Pacific and Santa Clara. I think Gonzaga has the gusto and the pedigree to get to the finals here, but I just don't think they win the tourney. Saint Mary's is also a late comer to the party, but I expect them to beat Pepperdine, but lose to the Zags in the next round. Right now my money is on BYU and San Francisco. One of them will get to the finals, but compared to the lower bracket, both the Dons and the Cougars have the firepower and the energy to go the distance.
For those of you aren't baby boomers, Las Vegas, the host city of the WCC tourney was just a few miles away from the nuclear test site in the 50's and 60's. If you wonder about some of the "Old Timers," wonder no more.
But the real gist of competition comes from the great movie by Stanley Kubrick, the master who brought us Lolita, The Shining, Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, and Eyes Wide Shut.
My first pick is #647 San Diego at #648 San Francisco -4.5. I really like this San Francisco team and I think they've not only built team trust and chemistry throughout conference play, I think there's a wealth of mojo on their side.
And my second pick, although in the Mountains West Conference is #629 Fresno State -5.5 at #630 San Jose State. I've heard it from too many sources and the numbers back it up, but right now no one wants to play Fresno State. These boys are on a mission. It may, and probably will get cut short in the MWC tourney next week, but for now they are on a roll. And for first year San Jose State who just got their first conference win a week ago, their done for the year. This may be senior night, but this will be the Bulldog's night when play ends.
There's so many games to pick from out west. Right now these are leans and might become picks, but for now, I'm still undecided.
UCSB -3.5 at Cal Poly
Boise -8 at Air Force
Nevada pk vs UNLV (depleted with Roscoe Smith and Dejean Jones out)
New Mexico +4 at San Diego State - I just think the Lobos have found the missing link.
Arizona State pk at Oregon State - ASU is okay on the road and they beat UNLV in Vegas, so they should feel confident going forward although the Pac 12 tourney is at the MGM.
UCLA -11.5 demolishes Wash. St. - Folks, it's take no prisoners time.
BYU-11.5 puts the hurt on Loyola Marymount
St. Mary's -7 beats Pepperdine
One thing to remember once conference tournament play begins is favorites, if they get a big lead in the first half will let off the gas in the second half to give the starters a rest for the next game. So big totals and big spreads 10+, might not be the best bet.
As always, these are my opinions, so do your own analysis before betting my or anyone's opinions. And BOL tomorrow.