NCAA Basketball Pick on Bowling Green ATS as Big Underdog vs. Akron

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, March 11, 2016 8:13 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 11, 2016 8:13 PM UTC

Bowling Green has donned Cinderella slippers as the 12-seed has reached the MAC Tournament semifinals vs. top-seeded Akron, and look for the Falcons to stay inside the big spread.

A nice Cinderella story in the MAC Tournament looks to continue Friday evening, and while the 12th seeded Bowling Green Falcons (16-17, 12-17 ATS) may see their totally unexpected tournament run come to an end in the conference semifinals, they could still hang inside the large point spread in their unconscious current form taking on the top seeded Akron Zips (25-7, 16-10 ATS) at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH at 6:30 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Bookmaker has Bowling Green as a big underdog for this contest with the current line at +9 on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -105.


Unexpected Matchup
Akron already has 25 wins this season at 25-7 and the Zips won the regular season MAC title with a 13-5 mark to earn there top seed. Still, things looked bleak when Akron trailed Eastern Michigan in the conference quarterfinals by 12 points with eight minutes left on Thursday, but the Zips then clamped down defensively and rallied for the narrow 65-63 triumph.

Meanwhile, nothing was expected from the last-place Falcons in this tournament after finishing 5-13 in MAC play during the regular season, but instead they have already been the upset winning NCAA Basketball picks twice, first winning a true road game 70-69 at Kent State in the first round and then overcoming an eight-point deficit in the second half to prevail 62-59 over Central Michigan in the quarterfinals here in Cleveland yesterday.


Falcons Can Play Defense and Shoot Two-Pointers
Bowling Green began this season 9-4 during non-conference play, but that was Fool’s Gold as the Falcons faced just one team currently ranked in the Top 100 on the Pomeroy Ratings, and that resulted in a blowout 83-50 home loss to Cincinnati. Thus, they did not exactly have stellar preparation for the MAC season and they came back to earth by posting the worst record in the conference.

At least that was during the regular season! Despite the 5-13 finish though, one thing that Bowling Green did well was defend the interior as the Falcons are a respectable 91st in the country in two-point defense allowing only a 46.7 percent success rate. That interior defense keyed the upset win at Kent in the first round on Monday as the Golden Flashes made just 12 of 33 attempts from inside the three-point arc for a mere 36.4 percent.

Conversely, the Falcons made an incredible 62.2 percent of their two-point attempts in that game (23-for-37) while shooting 54.0 percent for the contest overall. Then the hot-shooting closer to the basket continued yesterday vs. Central Michigan as the Falcons were 18-for-33, 54.5 percent from two-point range and shot an even 50.0 percent overall for the game.

This Bowling Green hot streak takes on added significance here because the Akron interior defense is rather ordinary ranking 154th in the country in two-point defense at 48.4 percent, compared to ranking an outstanding sixth in three-point defense at 30.0 percent, which is not a Falcons’ strength anyway. Thus, Bowling Green could very well continue its hot shooting closer to the basket, which could serve to make this another close game.


Pressure on Akron?
Akron was the best team in the MAC during the regular season, but even with 25 wins currently, the Zips will almost certainly need to win this tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. That is because based on the current Pomeroy Ratings, the two best wins for Akron this year came over Iona and Arkansas, which does not exactly sound like great ammunition to claim an at-large berth.

And do not forget that the Zips looked nothing like a top seed until the final eight minutes vs. Eastern Michigan yesterday, and they could come out tight again tonight in start contrast to Bowling Green, which figures to be very loose with nothing to lose. But even with that aside, this may not be the greatest of matchups for an Akron offense ranked 224th in the land in two-point shooting at 47.5 percent.

The Zips rely more on their three-point shooting than any other team in the country, as not only do they rank 18th in the land beyond the arc at 39.0 percent, but three-point baskets comprise 46.3 percent of their total point distribution, the highest such percentage in the country. However, that three-point percentage for Akron dips to 36.9 percent away from home and the Zips were just 9-for-33, 27.3 percent from downtown in the narrow escape vs. EMU yesterday.


First Time in 14 Years
Finally, once Bowling Green finished off its upset of Central Michigan on Thursday, it marked the first time in 14 years that the Falcons had won two games in the MAC Tournament! Can this be a team of destiny, much like the Holy Cross team that won the Patriot League this week with a 14-19 record by winning four straight true road games after not winning a single conference road game all year?

Well, we would say probably not as winning this game outright over the one-seeds from Akron may be a reach, but nonetheless look for Bowling Green to give another top effort good enough to hang inside this nearly double-digit point spread in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Bowling Green +9.5
Best Line Offered: at bet365

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