California vs. Stanford Basketball Betting Pick from Larry Ness: February 17th 2017
California vs. Stanford
College Basketball Pick: Stanford +3.5 (February 17th 2017)
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The Cal Bears are 18-7 (9-4 in Pac 12 play) after having their five-game winning streak snapped in 62-57 loss at Arizona on Saturday (Wildcats are currently ranked 5th in the nation). California is 4th in the Pac 12 and can ill afford a loss to rival Stanford if it wants to keep its at-large NCAA tourney hopes alive. Stanford is 12-13 overall and is mired near the bottom of the Pac 12 standings at 4-9. Any postseason hopes for the Cardinal are currently on life-support.
The 6-11 Ivan Rabb was a preseason All-American and will likely be a high NBA draft pick but he hasn’t quite measured up to expectations. He’s averaging 14.7 & 10.6 but if the Bears are to make a deep Pac 12 tourney run (they may need that for an at-large bid), Rabb needs to be more consistent. Swingman Bird has stayed healthy for most of the year and while never reaching the lofty expectations since entering Cal, the senior is averaging 14.5 & 4.9. Freshman PG Moore (13.5 & 3.7 APG) has been solid and giving Cal even more size up front are the 7-0 Okoroh (5.1 & 5.9) and the 7-1 Rooks (5.1 & 4.7). Cal allows 62.2 PPG (13th), best in the Pac 12.
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Stanford let Johnny Dawkins (Mr, NIT) go but Jerrod Haase’s first season in Palo Alto has not gone all that well. The 6-8 Reid (17.2 & 8.6) is a keeper but his surrounding talent is middle-of-the-road, at best. The perimeter players are Pickens (12.0), Sheffield (7.2), Cartwright (7.2 & 3.5 APG) and Marcus Allen (7.0), with the 6-9 Humphrey (9.5 & 6.5) helping Reid out up front.
Stanford is no bargain and Cal is the better team but this is a bitter rivalry and I want the home dog, considering Stanford has won 20 of the last 23 meetings with Cal in Palo Alto.