California and Washington State meet in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. California’s coming off a close road loss to Oregon State, while Washington State is coming off a comfortable road win against Washington. My prediction is that Washington State covers the 14-point spread. They’ve really come on strong recently in conference. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions from this game!
California vs. Washington State Prediction
Washington State came on strong in conference play and are on a six-game winning streak coming into this tournament in Vegas.
TJ Bamba is the best player this year for the Cougars. He leads them in PPG at 16 PPG and in steals per game at 1. Mouhamed Gueye is a very solid option for the Cougars down low at center too. He’s second in scoring at 14.5 PPG and then leads the team in rebounds at 9 per game and in blocks at 1 per game. Justin Powell is right there too as a consistent guard and averages 11 PPG and then leads the team in assists a 3 per game. DJ Rodman is another player to watch for the Cougars on the wing and he averages 9 PPG.
They’re a very good defensive team this year and allow 65.4 PPG this year, which is good for third in the conference behind just UCLA and Utah.
On the other side, almost nothing’s gone right for Cal this year, and they’ve been arguably the worst team in the country in a power conference.
The season somehow went from bad to worse when Cal’s best player, Devin Askew, got injured and is out for the rest of the season. He lead the team at 15.5 PPG too. Lars Thiemann now leads the Golden Bears in scoring with Askew out at 10 PPG and he also leads the team with 5.5 rebounds per game. DeJuan Clayton is the guard that needs to step up more without Askew. He averages 9.2 PPG and is one to watch to help the Golden Bears. Kuany Kuany is another big man to watch down low that can help back up Thiemann. He also averages 9.1 PPG.
They don’t do much well this season. They struggle to score and average 58 PPG and then give up 70 PPG.
Washington State is ascending and California is not. The Cougars should blowout California and win this game easily. Washington State is that much better and that should set up a good matchup against Oregon.
California vs. Washington State Prediction: Washington State -14
California vs. Washington State Odds
Washington State is a 14-point favorite in their opening round game in Vegas. The over/under is also at 126.5. It makes sense that Washington State is favored by this much because Cal has been maybe the worst power conference team in all of college basketball this year, with a record of 3-28. The over/under also makes sense with each team not being great on offense and Washington State prioritizing defense too. This spread could move a bit because of how bad Cal is too.
California vs. Washington State Key Matchups
Can DeJuan Clayton matchup with TJ Bamba? Can Lars Theimann matchup with Mouhamed Gueye?
TJ Bamba vs DeJuan Clayton
TJ Bamba has been great for Washington State this year. He averages 16 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against DeJuan Clayton most of the game, who averages 9 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds per game for the season. This is a matchup to watch because Clayton has to step up more without Askew. Bamba needs to have a good game for the Cougars to win, so this is a big matchup for Clayton.
Mouhamed Gueye vs Lars Thiemann
Mouhamed Gueye is one of the better big men in the conference. He averages 14.5 points, 2 assists, and 9 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Lars Thiemann most of the game, who averages 9.5 points, 1 assist, and 6 rebounds per game for the season. This is a big matchup because Thiemann is the primary scorer for Cal now without Askew. Gueye is another key piece that needs to have a big game in order for the Cougars to win, so this is a big matchup.