Utah State-Washington Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Analysis for 2019 NCAA Tournament

Utah State-Washington Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Analysis for 2019 NCAA Tournament article feature image

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Washington guard Matisse Thybulle

#8 Utah St. vs. #9 Washington NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Utah St. -3
  • Over/Under: 134.5
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 6:50 p.m. ET
  • Location: Columbus, Oh.
  • TV: TNT

Utah State’s Statistical Profile

Utah State (28-6, 15-3 conference) might be one of the best kept secrets in the field of potential sleepers. The Aggies beat San Diego State 64-57 in the Mountain West title game, earning their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Utah State enters the Big Dance on fire having won 10 straight and 17 of their last 18.

They’re talented and feisty, just look at their upset victory over Nevada in early March and subsequent postgame locker room brawl. The analytics love Utah State as well, as they rank 39th in adjusted efficiency and in the top 52 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. They average 79.6 PPG on offense, led by star guard Sam Merrill (21.1 PPG). But if they make a deep run, it will be their stingy defense (67.1 PPG allowed, 63rd in the country) to thank. — Josh Appelbaum

  • Record: 28-6
  • Adj. Efficiency Rank: 39
  • Adj. Offensive Efficiency Rank: 37
  • Adj. Defensive Efficiency Rank: 52
  • Tempo Rank: 143

All advanced metrics via KenPom as of Friday, March 15

Washington’s Statistical Profile

Washington (24-7) dominated the Pac-12 going 15-3 and finishing three games ahead of runner-up Arizona State. This is the Huskies first conference title since winning in 2011.

The team uses a stingy zone defense to win and ranks 18th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency. Two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year in Matisse Thybulle and this year’s Pac-12 Player of the Year in sophomore Jaylen Nowell led the way.

This is the team’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011 and coach Mike Hopkins first trip. The Pac-12 sent the fewest teams to the tournament of any power conference. Washington will look to redeem the conference after its three participants last season, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA, were all lost in their first game as favorites. — John Ewing

  • Record: 26-8
  • Adj. Efficiency Rank: 47
  • Adj. Offensive Efficiency Rank: 109
  • Adj. Defensive Efficiency Rank: 19
  • Tempo Rank: 263

All advanced metrics via KenPom as of Friday, March 15

Utah St.-Washington Instant Bracket, Betting Picks

Well, if you’re talking Washington, you have to talk zone. It is Syracuse West, as longtime assistant Mike Hopkins left Syracuse for Washington and implemented that same infamous 2-3 zone. And UW actually was the only team that zoned more than Syracuse this year.

It almost exclusively runs its 2-3 zone (over 95% of the time) and it has done so with more efficiency this season — thanks in large part due to defensive player of the year Matisse Thybulle, who is an absolute nightmare manning the top of the zone.

The problem is that this is a terrible matchup for Washington. Utah State has an excellent zone offense. And on the other side of the ball, Utah State’s defense (with pack line principles) really forces you to beat them from deep (where they are vulnerable). But this is not a great shooting Huskies team.

The Aggies should also dominate the glass on both ends. Washington’s defense will keep them around and the Huskies play very connected and have a lot of experience, So, they won’t go quietly, but this is a bad mathchup. I don’t think either would be a real threat for UNC based on the matchups, which makes me feel a little better about my Washington future.

  • Early ATS lean: Utah State
  • Early bracket pick: Utah State — Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Utah State-Washington Projections

Sean Koerner’s proprietary projections also power our Bracket Simulator, which helps you find the most optimal bracket for your pool size.

  • Spread: Utah State 0.5
  • Total: 133
  • Proj Score: Utah State 66.5 | Washington 67
  • Win Probability: Utah State 49.9% | Washington 50.1%
How would you rate this article?