Tonight's NCAA Tournament point spread pick focuses on the Thomas Assembly Center, where Central Michigan faces LA Tech as the 6 point underdog. Should sports bettors anticipate an upset?
NIT TOURNEY: Central Michigan vs. LA Tech (-5-) 7:30 ET
The Central Michigan Chippewas from the MAC travel to Ruston, Louisiana tonight to face the LA Tech Bulldogs of the CUSA Conference. They will tip off at 7:30 ET at the Thomas Assembly Center, where LA Tech is 42-1 SU the previous 3 years, including a perfect 16-0 SU this season. Let’s take a look at why I believe this strong home court will prevail.
In the previous 5 seasons, C. Michigan recorded just 57 total victories. None of those seasons were good enough for post-season play, which sheds light on the fact that NCAA Tournament odds have them as 6 point underdogs. That includes a combined 21 wins in the previous 2 seasons under 3rd year HC Keno Davis. This year, however, Davis was successful in the 3rd year of his teachings with a more athletic team. This fast-paced offense averaged 78 PPG on 47% from the field and 38% from the arc, converting an average of over 10 triples per game. With a solid 14.1 to 10.2 assist/TO ratio, the Chips’ offense led them to the MAC-West crown. After beating Toledo in the Semi Finals, the Chips succumbed to Buffalo, the best team in the league by a score of 89-94 in the Finals. Besides the Chips’ lack of post-season experience, history says this is a negative situation for a road team. First Round NIT travelers, who lost in the Finals of the CCT (were “that close”) to making the NCAA Tourney and now must travel following their disappointment, have been an over 75% PLAY AGAINST team in NIT history. Today, they will face a LA Tech team, who not only has an offense to match the Chips, but also has the superior defense, the very strong home court, as well as more post-season experience.
Under 4th year HC Michael White, Tech increased their win totals in each of the previous 3 seasons from 18 to 27 to 29. In each of the last two seasons, Tech has played in this NIT event, losing in the 2nd Round two years ago and in the 3rd Round last year (Quarter Finals). This year, the Bulldogs are again solid at 25-8 SU, but they had the misfortune last week of running into a hot UAB team, who had the benefit of home crowd support in Birmingham. The 72-62 defeat was in OT, more accurately reflecting the closeness of the game. If outstanding guard play is an indicator of post-season success, LA Tech has a chance to go a long way in this event. Four RS are led by a veteran backcourt of Appleby and Hamilton, who average a combined 30 PPG and have played together in each of the previous 3 seasons.
Must love the greater post-season experience edge of LA Tech, the advantage of an undefeated home court, the play against situation of C. Michigan and the fact that the Bulldogs are on an 11-1 ATS run following a loss, including 4-1 ATS in that role this season. Lay your NCAA Tournament Pick with confidence!
NCAA Tournament Picks: Take LA Tech -6 at 5Dimes