Midwest First Round Betting Picks: California Golden Bears vs South Florida Bulls

2012 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region First Round
South Florida Bulls vs California Golden Bears

University of Dayton Arena – Dayton, Ohio
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 9:10 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Cal -2
Current line: Cal -3
Opening Total: 116
Current Total: 115
Opening Money Line: Cal -135 / South Florida +115
Current Money Line: Cal -155 / South Florida +135

California and South Florida will meet in the first round of the NCAA tournament Wednesday in Dayton. The winner will face Temple in Nashville Friday.

The 20-13 South Florida Bulls finished tied for fourth in the Big East with Georgetown and Cincinnati. The Bulls are playing in their first NCAA tournament since 1992. USF lost 57-53 in overtime to Notre Dame in the Big East quarterfinals last week in their last game.

The Bulls will take on 24-9 Cal who finished second in the Pac 12. Cal last played in the NCAA tournament in 2010.  The Golden Bears lost 3 of their last 4 games down the stretch. Strangely all four games were against Colorado and Stanford. The Bears lost to Colorado 70-59 in the Pac 12 semifinals last week.The winner of the Cal-South Florida game will take on Temple in the second round of the tournament Friday in Nashville.

This is the third meeting ever between Cal and South Florida. Each school has won once in the series, but they haven’t played since 2001.

South Florida is coached by Stan Heath. The Bulls have wins over Vermont, Cleveland St, Rutgers, Villanova three times, Seton Hall, St. John’s, DePaul, Providence twice, Pitt twice, Cincinnati, and Louisville. South Florida has losses to Old Dominion, Penn St, VCU, Kansas, Auburn, Southern Miss, UConn, Notre Dame twice, Marquette, Georgetown, Syracuse, and West Virginia.

Cal is coached by Mike Montgomery. The Bears have losses to Missouri, UNLV, San Diego St, Oregon St, Washington St, Stanford, Colorado twice and Arizona. Cal has wins over UC-Irvine, George Washington, Georgia, San Diego St, San Jose St, Weber St, UC-Santa Barbara, USC twice, UCLA twice, Oregon twice, Colorado, Utah twice, Washington, Arizona St, Stanford twice and Oregon St.

South Florida is outscoring opponents 59-57 this season. The Bulls are #7 in points allowed in the country. USF opponents are shooting 38.8% from the field and 29.7% from 3 point range. The Bulls are in the top 16 nationally in both categories. USF is shooting 43.6% from the field and 31.6% from 3 point range. The Bulls make 70.5% of their free throws. South Florida averages 34.3 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +3.7. The Bulls average 11.8 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 5.5 steals, and 3.8 blocks a game. USF forces 11.2 turnovers a game.

USF forward Augustus Gilchrist averages 9.6 points to lead the team, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game to lead the team Victor Rudd, Jr. averages 8.7 points, 4.6 rebounds,  and 1.3 assists a game. Guard Anthony Collins averages 8.5 points, 2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.7 steals a game. He leads the Bulls in assists and steals. He is probable with a finger injury. Jawanza Poland averages 8.5 points, and 3.5 rebounds a game.  Toarlyn Fitzpatrick averages 8 points, 6.6 rebounds to lead the team, and 1 block a game. Ron Anderson, Jr. and Hugh Robertson also contribute significantly both in scoring and rebounding.

Cal is outscoring opponents 72-62 this season. The Golden Bears shoot 47.9% from the field, including 36.8% from 3 point range. The Bears are #20 in field goal percentage. Cal makes 74.6% from the free throw line.  The Golden Bears average 34.9 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +4.4. Cal averages 16.1 assists, 12.2 turnovers, 4.8 steals, and 3.2 blocks a game. Cal opponents are shooting 41.1% from the field, including 32.7% from 3 point range. The Golden Bears force 12.9 turnovers a game.

California guard Allen Crabbe averages 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds to tie for the team lead, and 2.2 assists a game. He shoots 40.7% from 3 point range. Jorge Gutierrez is averaging 13.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.2 steals a game to lead the team. Justin Cobbs averages 12.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5 assists to lead the team, and 1.1 steals a game. Cobbs makes 41.9% of his 3 point attempts. Harper Kamp averages 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists a game. Richard Solomon led the team in rebounds with 6.2 a game and blocks with 1.2 a game. Solomon is out for the season due to being ineligible.  David Kravish averages 5.7 rebounds to tie for the team lead and 1.2 blocks a game to lead the team. Guard Alex Rossi is questionable with an abdominal injury.

Cal is 17-14 ATS and the total is 12-19 this season. USF is 16-14 ATS and the total is 8-22 this season. The Bulls are 7-0 ATS in Wednesday games, 5-1 as an underdog, 6-2 after failing to cover, 7-3 overall, 13-6-1 as a neutral site underdog, and 1-5 in neutral site games. The Bears are 4-1 ATS after a straight-up win, 7-2 after failing to cover, 15-6-1 as a neutral site favorite, 7-3 in non-conference games, 2-5 in neutral site games, and against Big East teams, 1-4 as a favorite, in NCAA tournament games, 1-4 overall, and as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, and 1-5 in Wednesday games.

South Florida is one of the best defensive teams in the country, but struggles to score. Cal’s defense is a little underrated allowing just 62 points a game. This game will probably be played in the 50’s much like South Florida’s last game against Notre Dame. Actually, that game took overtime to get into the 50’s. I think Cal has just enough offense to get by and advance to play Temple.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot as the tournament gets underway. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until the Championship game next month.



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