NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama State +13½ over Texas Southern

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 28, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Texas Southern is third in the SWAC with a 6-2 conference mark, but the Tigers play at a slow pace that does not seem conducive to blowing teams out. Take the points with Alabama State.

The double-digit underdog looks to have value in Monday night SWAC action when the Alabama State Hornets (6-15, 1-11 away) pay a visit to the Texas Southern Tigers (7-14, 4-3 home) at Health and Physical Education Arena in Houston, TX at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Bookmaker Sportsbook has Alabama State as a big underdog for this contest with the current line at +13½ with odds of -110.

Texas Southern is the second highest ranked SWAC team on the Pomeroy Ratings at 178th overall, trailing only the Southern University Jaguars at 134th. Still, is that enough of a reason to give double-digits with a Tigers’ team that is currently in third place in the SWAC with a 6-2 conference mark but is still just 7-14 overall?

First of all, we totally get that Texas Southern played the sixth toughest non-conference schedule in the country according to Pomeroy, so we are totally willing to overlook the 1-12 non-conference record. However, efficiency rankings are adjusted for schedule, and while ranking 128th in offensive efficiency is actually commendable for a SWAC team, ranking 237th in defensive efficiency is much more alarming when asked to give this many points.

The Tigers’ defense applies virtually no pressure, ranking 302nd overall in defensive turnover percentage oand ninth in that category out of 10 SWAC teams when looking at conference games only. That has led to Texas Southern ranking 227th in field goal percentage allowed at 43.4 percent.

Yes the Tigers have been much more efficient on the offensive end, but the concern there is the slow methodical pace that Texas Southern plays at which does not seem conducive with blowing teams out. In fact, when looking at SWAC games only, the Tigers rank dead last with a tempo rating of 63.3 possessions per game.

Alabama State is 6-15 overall, but the Hornets are 4-4 in conference play, which is good enough for fourth place in the league. While the Hornets did not face nearly the killer non-conference schedule that Texas Southern faced, it still ranked a good 67th in SOS so it is understandable that Alabama State has shown improvement in conference play.

This is a middling team when looking at SWAC games only, ranking fifth in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency, and one area where the Hornets can do some damage is on the offensive glass as they are fourth in the conference in offensive rebounding percentage while Texas Southern is in the bottom half of the conference, in seventh, in defensive rebounding percentage.

Also, while Alabama State is not on the board very often it is 8-2 against the spread in its last eight lined road games. We see no reason why the Hornets cannot hang within single-digits in this contest on Monday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama State +13½ (-110)

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