Hawaii vs. California -5 O/U 141
Oftentimes the college basketball betting markets are so predictable. Yes, Cal just lost their leading scorer, senior point guard Tyrone Wallace, to a broken hand that he suffered in practice earlier in the week. And the markets proceeded to do what they do, without a sliver of thought or research. They hear leading scorer or senior point guard and immediately start betting Hawaii, hand over fist.
All of which leaves us with Cal sitting at --5 as I write this; in a game that has legitimate mismatch potential. First, let me start with Wallace. He’s missed five games earlier in the year, and then came off the bench for the next three. Cal went 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS in the games that Wallace missed, including wins over Arizona and Oregon, two teams that are FAR better than Hawaii.
How has Cal been able to thrive without their senior point guard before? Simple – they’ve got a backup who is almost as good. Sam Singer doesn’t have Wallace’s scoring prowess , but that’s no big deal for a team that has five players averaging in double figures and a pair of potential NBA lottery picks in their freshman class. What Singer does BETTER than Wallace is distribute, with more assists and fewer turnovers than Wallace despite the duo playing nearly equal minutes for the season. Wallace’s absence won’t help Cal, obviously, but it won’t hurt the Bears nearly as much as the markets seem to think it will with their knee-jerk betting reaction.
And make no mistake about it – this Cal squad is capable of making a deep run into this tournament. The Bears came on like a freight train down the stretch riding those two elite freshmen, Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb, both potential NBA lottery picks this summer. Cuonzo Martin’s squad has gone 9-2 SU, 8-2-1 ATS in their last eleven ballgames, the only losses coming against Arizona and Utah; one in OT, the other by three points. Hawaii certainly doesn’t compare favorably with either of those squads.
Hawaii is going to jack up a bunch of three pointers here, like they do in most games, not a team capable of driving the ball and scoring in the paint against the Bears big, physical frontcourt. If they hit some of those three’s they might hang around for a while, but if they don’t this one could get ugly early. Each and every one of Hawaii’s few quality foes this year visited Honolulu, not the other way around. I do NOT expect the Warriors to hang tough in Seattle in early start action on Friday.