Can LaSalle come back on one day off and pull an upset, or can K State begin what it hopes is a good tournament run with a victory, and a cover? Find out who gets the nod as our NCAA Basketball pick.
The Explorers of LaSalle, playing in the NCAA tournament for
the first time in 20 years, won a play-in game Wednesday night, beating Boise
State 80-71. For their efforts they now get a “second-round” game against the
Wildcats of Kansas State Friday in Kansas City (3:10 pm ET, truTV).
NCAA Tournament Odds
Most books we consulted opened this game with the Wildcats
favored by five points, the OVER/UNDER proffered at 132. In early action K
State got bumped to -5.5 at many shops.
Going by the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USA Today.com the
Wildcats should be favored by four points for this game.
For those bettors who think LaSalle might win this game
outright, the Explorers could also played at +220 on the NCAA Basketball odds moneyline at 5Dimes.
Let's look at both of these teams and decide where the best value lies for our NCAA Basketball picks.
LaSalle had four starters back this season from a team that
went 21-13 last season. But playing in a beefed-up Atlantic 10 many observers
expected the Explorers to finish in the lower division of the conference
But LaSalle went 10-3 through its non-conference schedule,
with wins over NCAA tournament qualifiers Villanova and Iona and losses to
Bucknell and Miami (Fla.). The Explorers then went 11-5 in A-10 play, beating
Butler and VCU, and never losing two games in a row. LaSalle lost its
regular-season finale to St. Louis, and its first game in the Atlantic 10
tournament to Butler, but still earned an NCAA at-large bid.
With their win Wednesday night the Explorers step into the
13 seed in the West.
Wednesday night in Dayton the Explorers shot a scorching 63
percent from the field in beating Boise State, winning outright as one-point
LaSalle suffered a hit a couple weeks ago, though, when 6-11
C Steve Zack, who was averaging six points and six boards per game this season,
sprained his foot. He hasn't played since, and won't play Friday night. The
Explorers are 2-2 both SU and ATS since Zack went down.
On the other side of this match-up Kansas State returned
four starters this season from a team that went 22-11 last year. For their
first season under new head coach Bruce Webber many “experts” gave K State a
shot to contend for the Big 12 crown. And by gosh, the 'Cats lived up to those
expectations, forging a tie for first place with rival Kansas by going 14-4 in
Big 12 play. However, K State lost both its regular-season games vs. the
The Wildcats then got to the Big 12 tournament title game,
where they lost to Kansas again, by a score of 70-54.
Take KU off the schedule and K State is 27-4 this season.
On the season the Wildcats own victories over Florida,
Oklahoma State, two over Oklahoma, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. And each of K
State's seven losses have come against teams that made the NCAA tournament,
namely Michigan, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and, of course, fucking Kansas.
By the Numbers
Playing its four-guard attack LaSalle is shooting 45 percent
from the floor this season, 38 percent from 3-point range and 74 percent from
the FT line.
Kansas State is shooting 43 percent from the floor, 36
percent from long range and 69 percent from the line.
Defensively the Wildcats are holding opponents to just under
43 percent FG shooting, while the Explorers are allowing foes to shoot almost
46 percent. Also, while K State is out-rebounding opponents by about three
boards per game, LaSalle is getting out-rebounded by three per game.
And since Zack went down and out the Explorers have allowed
opponents to shoot almost 53 percent from the floor, and they've been
out-rebounded in each of their last four games by an average of more than 10
per game. Ouch.
Let SBR be your 2013 NCAA Tournament betting headquarters.
K State is 13-12 on the totals this season, even though
Wildcats games have averaged only 129 points.
LaSalle is 11-10 on the totals, as Explorers games have
averaged 139 points.
Last year teams that won the four NCAA tournament play-in
games went 1-3 SU and 2-2 ATS in their next games.
Free NCAA Tournament
At first glance we
were leaning toward underdog LaSalle for this game, but after doing a little
homework we've reversed our thinking, because the Explorers have had such
troubles on the defensive end, especially without Zack.
Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Take K State at the
-5.5 points offered at 5Dimes.