NCAAB Odds: Back Underdog Richmond In Holiday Tournament Vs. Neighbor Maryland

melo trimble maryland basketball

Friday, November 25, 2016 5:33 PM GMT

Atlantic 10 team Richmond faces off with regional foe Maryland of the Big Ten in the Barclays Center Classic on Brooklyn on Friday night. The Terrapins are 6.5-point favorites on college basketball odds at SBR's best sportsbooks. 

Richmond Spiders (3-1)

Richmond is coached by 12th year mentor Chris Mooney. He comes from the Pete Carril coaching tree as Mooney is a 1994 graduate of Princeton, where he starred. With that background, Mooney has coached his minions in a deliberate style offense in many ways replicating the Princeton offense in which he was indoctrinated.

Last year, the Spiders were an extremely efficient offense, averaging 77 ppg on 48% shooting. They had the 40th-most efficient offense in the nation, the best Richmond offense since the team that advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2011. Yet last season was a 16-16 campaign because the Spiders' defense, a staple in the Mooney years, let them down. For years, Richmond had been a Top 50 defense.

In an effort to return the Spiders to their normal Top 50 defensive ranking this year, Mooney focused on that through the extended 10 practices prior to the team's August trip to Europe. This has paid off in the early going. Though the opposition has been well below in what it will face today, Richmond is allowing just 63 ppg. Note that in the years where the Spiders are strong defensively, it normally translates into pointspread success. Mooney is 40-27 ATS on college basketball odds when his teams allow 55 or fewer points in the previous game, which they did in their Nov. 22 victory against Hampton.

It is a bit of a rebuilding year for the Spiders, as 5 of last year's players exhausted their eligibility. But those 10 preseason practices have helped especially with the contributing freshmen. After winning 59 games in the 3 seasons before last, I expect that Richmond, with a greater emphasis on defense, will return to Its winning ways this season.

Maryland Terrapins (5-0)

The Terps finished 27-9 SU on college basketball picks last year, losing in the Sweet 16 to Kansas (79-63). Regrettably for 6th-year HC Mark Turgeon, whose background runs through Texas A&M following his experience in the Missouri Valley Conference, only one starter returns from that team. It is a good one, however, in guard Melo Trimble, one of the best in the nation.

Though the Terps can again challenge for the Top 25 in national prominence, they will struggle to replace the contributions of those other four starters. Maryland has swept early contests against mostly out-manned competition with the noteworthy victory coming at underachieving Georgetown, when Maryland stole a 76-75 victory after trailing by 6 points in the final minute. As a favorite, however, against lower-level teams they have gone 0-3 ATS, losing to the number by a combined 26 points vs. American, Towson and Stony Brook.

This is a rebuilding season for the Terps, as Turgeon will be asking role players to step up. But this could be another quality team by late February. For now, they do not represent good value in this role.

NCAAB Free Pick: Richmond +6.5

Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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