California Golden Bears vs. Utah Valley Wolverines - 3/19/14 NIT First Round
Utah Valley Wolverines (20-11) at California Golden Bears (19-13)
College Basketball: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm (Haas Pavilion)
The Line: California Golden Bears -13.5 -- Over/Under: 129.5 See the Latest Odds
The Utah Valley Wolverines and California Golden Bears will play Wednesday in the first round of the NIT. Utah Valley finished first in the Western Athletic Conference with a 20-11 record, while California finished third in the Pac-12 with a 19-13 record.
Utah Valley relies heavily on its defense, holding teams to 66 points on 43.7 percent shooting. Utah Valley has held teams to 63 or fewer points in four of its last five games. Offensively, the Wolverines average 65.7 points on 43.9 percent shooting. Utah Valley shoots 75.8 percent from the free throw line and is led by senior guard Holton Hunsaker, who averages 14 points and 4.2 assists. The Utah Valley Wolverines are 1-1 ATS overall this season.
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California is more of a balanced team, averaging 72.4 points on 45.1 percent shooting and allowing 69.5 points on 41.9 percent shooting. The Golden Bears have four players averaging at least 11 points and senior guard Justin Cobbs leads the way with 15.8 points and 5.8 assists. California shoots 68 percent from the free throw line and 34.2 percent from beyond the arc. The Golden Bears also average 35.9 rebounds. Cal is 13-18 ATS overall this season.
There aren't any trends regarding Utah Valley given the lack of lined games it plays in. However, the Golden Bears are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Western Athletic and 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
Cal ended its season losing five of its last seven games, while Utah Valley has won six of its last eight. The Wolverines shoot free throws extremely well and play great defense, which of course are two keys in keeping a game at the very least respectable.
That’s why I’ll take the double-digit point total. Cal will win SU, but this game will be a lot closer than expected.