Alabama A&M to Blow Out Arkansas-Pine Bluff Is The NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 4:06 PM GMT

While there are some more major conference tournaments going on today, we see value in the smaller SWAC Tournament where Alabama A&M appears underpriced vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff. 

 

We venture into the SWAC Tournament Tuesday night where the favorite seems surprisingly undervalued in the nightcap where one of the worst teams in the country in the ninth seeded Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (8-24, 0-1 ATS) take on those eighth seeded Alabama A&M Bulldogs (10-17, 0-1 ATS) at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX at about 9:30 ET with live streaming available at swac.org

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Alabama A&M as a moderate favorite for this contest with the current line at -4½ on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -102.

 

Trying to Dethrone Texas Southern
These two teams, as well as the rest of the SWAC, are trying to dethrone the two-time conference champions from Texas Southern, who are seeking a three-peat this year after winning the regular season title with a spiffy 16-2 conference mark. Those Tigers then even covered the spread in a loss to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.

But back to this matchup, Alabama A&M appears to have a bigger edge over Arkansas-Pine Bluff than most 8-seeds would have over 9-seeds. No, that is not because the Bulldogs are some kind of juggernaut, but it is mostly because the Golden Lions are literally one of the worst shooting teams in the country, a key reason why they were the losing NCAA Basketball picks in five of their last seven regular season games as Pine Bluff finished 6-12 in conference play.

 

Pine Bluff Struggles to Reach 60 Points
Arkansas-Pine Bluff has not reached the NCAA Tournament since upsetting Winthrop in he last “play-in” game back in 2010 before the tournament expanded to 68 teams with the creation of the First Four in 2011, but their odds of winning this tournament and returning to the Big Dance are miniscule.

You see, while it may be true that “Defense wins championships,”, neither of these teams plays much defense with Pine Bluff ranked ninth in the SWAC in defensive efficiency during conference play and Alabama A&M ranked 10th and last, so in this particular case, the game will probably be won by the better offense with neither one facing much defensive intensity.

Unfortunately for the Golden Lions, they are a brutal offensive team ranked 344th out of 351 Division I teams nationally in offensive efficiency while ranking 328th in effective field goal percentage at a mere 45.1 percent, and then to compound matters, Pine Bluff is also extremely sloppy ranking a pathetic 350th or second to last in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 23.8 percent vs. a national average of 18.2 percent!

So is it any wonder that Pine Bluff is ranked 350th in the nation in scoring at an ugly 56.7 points per game, or that it had failed to surpass 60 points in six straight games before a 78-71 win over Mississippi Valley State to end the season?

 

Alabama A&M Can Take Advantage Inside
Conversely, Alabama A&M is averaging a much more respectable 68.3 points per game, and we find it odd that there has been no movement as of yet from the opening line of -4½ here considering that the Bulldogs swept the regular season series from the Golden Lions, blowing them out by 15 points at home and then winning by five points on the road at Pine Bluff, a winning margin larger than this point spread on a neutral floor!

The Bulldogs are not a good three-point shooting team but they can do a lot of damage inside the arc here, as they are shooting a good 49.7 percent on their two-point attempts for the season overall and rank third in the SWAC in two-point shooting in conference play, during which that two-point percentage rises to 50.4 percent.

Also, unlike Pine Bluff, Alabama A&M has excelled at ball protection ranking second in the conference in offensive turnover percentage (17.0 percent), and on top of that the Bulldogs should dominate in second chance points as they have a good offensive rebounding percentage of 30.7 percent overall and 31.4 percent inside the conference vs. a national average of 29.8 percent, while the Golden Lions are dead last in the SWAC in defensive rebounding percentage.

 

Lots of Blowouts Away from Home
Finally, this tournament is taking place on a neutral court at the Toyota Center in Houston and Pine Bluff has not been very competitive away from home this season, losing by a whopping average of -19.1 points either on the road or on neutral floors. Alabama A&M hasn’t exactly shined in such games either, but at least the Bulldogs are well within the single-digits losing by an average of -6.9 points.

In a game where neither team plays well defensively, the much better Alabama A&M offense combined with the Bulldogs being a bit better away from home should add up to a handy victory by much bigger than this point spread vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the SWAC Tournament on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama A&M -4½ 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle