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College Basketball NIT Odds & Picks for Santa Clara vs. Washington State: How to Bet This Late-Night Matchup

College Basketball NIT Odds & Picks for Santa Clara vs. Washington State: How to Bet This Late-Night Matchup article feature image
Credit:

John McCoy/Getty Images. Pictured: Efe Abogidi.

  • Santa Clara travels to Washington State to take on the Cougars in the first round of the NIT.
  • The Broncos needed a major run in the WCC Tournament to even be in the discussion for the NCAA Tournament, but obviously didn't get there.
  • Our staff breaks down this matchup and offers up a best bet.

Santa Clara vs. Washington State Odds

Tuesday, March 15
11 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Santa Clara Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-114
151.5
-110o / -110u
+132
Washington State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-106
151.5
-110o / -110u
-162
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By D.J. James

Santa Clara needed a West Coast Conference run in order to find itself in the NCAA Tournament. Having still had a somewhat successful season, it will play the Washington State Cougars in the opening round of the NIT.

The Cougars, on the other hand, had a bit of a disappointing showing in Pac-12 play this season. They finished 11-9 in the conference and 19-14 overall, but this team is still talented. They have the defensive wherewithal to stick with plenty of teams.

For instance, they beat Oregon by 20 points in their last regular-season conference matchup.

Santa Clara, on the other hand, only thrives on offense. Per KenPom, the Broncos only rank 146th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Much of their issues lie with guarding the arc. They struggle against 3-point-heavy teams, which is exactly what they will encounter against the Cougars. They allow 34.8% of 3s to fall for opponents on average this season, and if WSU plays like it has all year, it will have plenty of outside opportunities.

Washington State will take advantage and cover the number.

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Santa Clara Broncos

By D.J. James

Building off of that, the Broncos have trouble with off-the-dribble 3s, per ShotQuality. The Cougars love to hoist up inefficient shots like this, which will happen to play into their advantage in this one. 37.8% of Washington State’s offensive point distribution comes from 3-pointers, and it’s only shooting 34% collectively.

Santa Clara will allow some of these to fall.

Now, Jalen Williams is the best player on the Santa Clara roster. He should be drafted into the NBA after this season.

In the NIT, bettors have to handicap if a team actually wants to play. Williams will likely have his eyes set on the league, so he may be looking to bigger and better things than playing a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team.

Still, the Broncos might be able to take advantage of some flaws. Washington State also will allow some open 3s. It ranks 127th, per ShotQuality, in doing so. If the Cougars can seal this issue, though, it removes Santa Clara’s ability to make shots from outside.

In general, Santa Clara does not have strong shot selection on offense, especially compared to the top of the Pac-12. It does not launch efficient shots, and partially removing Williams’ impact on the outcome of the game could allow the Cougars to take advantage.

Do not expect the Broncos to have a very strong showing in this first-round affair.

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Washington State Cougars

By Charlie DiSturco

Kyle Smith’s squad was once considered a sleeper for the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament, but hopes were shattered after a five-game losing streak in February.

Looking at the advanced metrics, this team is actually a lot better than it is on paper. The Cougars ranked first in turnover rate in Pac-12 play and inside the top 25 at defending finishes at the rim. A lot of that is due to the play of Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye.

The duo ranked inside the top six in block rate during conference play and forced opponents away from the interior. This is a defense that thrives in the half-court and forces plenty of turnovers.

On the other side of the floor, this Wazzu team loves the long ball. It ranks outside the top 300 in 2-point offense, which has led to an emphasis on shooting 3s; the Cougars shoot from the perimeter on 44% of all field goal attempts.

South Alabama transfer Michael Flowers has been the star of this offense. He’s the quarterback and leads the team in both points (14.0) and assists (3.3) all while shooting 37.8% from deep.

Washington State won’t beat itself offensively, rarely turning the ball over. Rather, its struggles come when the 3-ball isn’t falling. Because the Cougars are one of the worst teams at finishing in the rim, when the shot isn’t falling, long droughts are inevitable.

One interesting thing to note: While Washington State is 19-14, its ShotQuality record pins it at 22-11 with two wins over UCLA. Despite losing by 20, the Cougars consistently found open looks but just weren’t able to hit them.

This is a team that, when it all clicks together, is deadly. But those instances have been few and far between in 2022.


Santa Clara vs. Washington State Betting Pick

By D.J. James

Washington State has plenty of talent, and Santa Clara has struggled with that this season. The Broncos played well against the slow-paced Saint Mary’s Gaels, but they were not very efficient with other opponents.

The Cougars have a solid defense. They can also rebound on the offensive end and will fire off enough outside 3s to overwhelm the Broncos’ perimeter.

Finally, if Williams is checked out (understandably so), the Broncos’ offense and defense will take a hit. If that is the case, Washington State will cover this line.

Pick: Washington State -3.5 (Play to -4.5)

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