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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 7:00 AM

For awhile, it looked like the only two important games all season in the Pac 12 were going to be the home-and-home featuring Arizona and Utah. Both of those teams are highly regarded in the polls and the computers. Nobody else seemed ready to make a splash.

Then…Stanford won on the road at Texas…opened Pac 12 play with a 4-1 record (which would be undefeated if not for an overtime loss at UCLA that had some home cooking…and beat Connecticut handily in a big intersectional game this past Saturday.

Suddenly, we may have a “big three” in the Pac 12…and the hard charging Cardinal can really make a statement Thursday night with a home victory over visiting Arizona.

Keep in mind that:

*Arizona was upset at Oregon State, showing true vulnerability away from home.

*Arizona is in a big letdown spot after a home blowout of Utah that was one of the most important games of the season in the Pac 12.

Stanford couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop. Can they come through with a statement victory? Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about a game you should be watching on ESPN2 Thursday evening.


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Arizona: 113.4 per 100 possessions (#19 in the nation)

Stanford: 111.1 per 100 possessions (#29 in the nation)

You do-it-yourselfers can find the indicator stats at Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball site. We use publicly available numbers in the NOTEBOOK because our own proprietary data has to stay private! Kenpom’s numbers are great for your needs…and they show Arizona having the slightly better offense after you adjust for pace and strength of schedule. Both teams are top 30 on this side of the floor thus far.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Arizona: 88.4 per 100 possessions (#8 in the nation)

Stanford: 95.4 per 100 possessions (#69 in the nation)

This is where Arizona becomes a national contender, and Stanford becomes a question mark that may not be able to get over the hump. Great defensive marks for the Wildcats thus far. Though, as we’ve noted often in the past, they sometimes don’t play to their gaudy stat rankings in the Dance. Stanford has been way too soft to be taken seriously for anything beyond a spoiler in March. They need to take a few steps forward here.


Pace Ranking

Arizona: #101

Stanford: #254

Arizona is faster than average, while Stanford is slower than average. That could help the Cardinal on their home floor because it’s usually the host that forces its preferred tempo on a game. Arizona had big troubles against slow as molasses Oregon State recently. Stanford has surely been watching game films of that.


Against the Spread

Arizona: 9-9

Stanford: 9-7-1

It’s tough for public teams like Arizona to post great ATS records. The lines are priced in such a way that they have to play great all the time to cover. So, 9-9 is okay. Stanford is 6-2-1 ATS their last night games, which has pushed them into profitability after a slow start.

If you want to root for Stanford…there’s A LOT to point to here. They’re hot…facing an opponent in a letdown spot…and they have a chance to slowdown that opponent into a halfcourt game. The bad news is that it’s far from certain whether Stanford’s defense can thrive for a full 40 minutes in that kind of battle. Potential for a great game here.

Is there potential for a great pick? JIM HURLEY will work with his full team of experts to make that decision. NETWORK doesn’t release games just because they’re on television. You only get BEST BETS! The final word for Thursday can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask how you can include the Super Bowl in any basketball package.

Big game previews resume tomorrow and Friday in the NOTEBOOK. Here’s what’s ahead this week…

Friday: College Hoops Early Look…#11 Kansas at #17 Texas

Saturday: College Basketball Preview…#6 Wisconsin at Michigan

Sunday: NBA Preview…OKC Thunder at the Cleveland Cavaliers (Durant vs. LeBron!)

Monday: College Basketball Preview…#17 Texas at #8 Iowa State

Kansas, Texas, and Wisconsin are all coming off big recent wins. So, we’re looking forward to marquee matchups involving those teams. We’ll try to work some more NBA into the mix on the slower college days now that that sport is driving so many major headlines as well. Hopefully Kevin Durant and LeBron James will stay healthy through the week!

How’s the health of your betting bankroll? Is it less robust than you’d like because you haven’t jumped into the baskets yet? JIM HURLEYL is ready to help with BIG, JUICY WINNERS! Why wait until the tournaments to beat the baskets? Don’t sit on the sidelines…GET IN THE GAME!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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