NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama A&M +14 over Southern

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 21, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Southern Jaguars are the best team in the SWAC, but this is a lot of points to give on the road vs. an Alabama A&M team that is 6-2 at home and 3-3 in the SWAC.

The home underdog looks to have some value as the SWAC gets some national TV attention on Monday night when the Southern University Jaguars (13-6, 5-5 away) pay a visit to the Alabama A&M Bulldogs (7-10, 6-2 home) at Elmore Gymnasium in Normal, AL at 9:30 ET in a game televised on ESPNU..

The point spread at Bodog has Alabama A&M as a big home underdog for this contest with the current line at +14 with odds of -110.

The SWAC will be on national television quite a few times the rest of the year on Monday nights on ESPNU, and tonight the best team in the conference in Southern gets its first chance this season to strut its stuff in front of a large TV audience.

The Jaguars are very easily the highest ranked SWAC team on the Pomeroy Ratings at 114th overall, as the second highest ranked team in the conference right now is Texas Southern down at 202nd! Still, should Southern be a 14-point favorite on the road here, especially considering that there will be a buzz in the crowd with the ESPN cameras present?

Yes, Southern enters this contest on a nine-game winning streak with its most recent win being by a 79-67 score over Alabama State on Saturday, a win which left the Jaguars at a perfect 7-0 in SWAC play.

The Jaguars rank 119th in offensive efficiency nationally and 133rd in defensive efficiency, which is actually quite good in relation to other SWAC teams, and they faced a good non-conference schedule rated 31st in SOS according to Pomeroy. And if you look at conference games only, Southern ranks first in offensive efficiency within the conference and second in defensive efficiency.

So why should this game not be a total blowout vs. an Alabama A&M team that ranks 318th overall in offensive efficiency and 335th in defensive efficiency? Well for starters, the Bulldogs are 6-2 at home this season and it is not as if they are conference doormats as they are 3-3 inside the SWAC.

Also, Southern U. is not the only school here that faced a competitive schedule early on as Alabama A&M faced a non-conference schedule ranked 51st in SOS, a schedule that included a nice road win at Mississippi State out of the SEC and a home win over Missouri State out of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Finally, the Bulldogs do not grade out badly when looking at conference games only, as they are fourth in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency, and they are hitting on 39.6 percent of their three-point attempts in SWAC games to rank second in the conference.

That three-point shooting, the home crowd and being toughened by a good non-conference slate should all combine to allow Alabama A&M to be more competitive than the big spread suggests on Monday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama A&M +14 (-110)

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