NCAA Basketball Pick: Central Michigan +8½ over Buffalo

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 11, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Central Michigan ended the season by playing well in its last three games, winning twice and losing by only three at Western Michigan. Buffalo meanwhile lost four of its last five.

The underdog seemed to be playing better basketball at the end of the year, so the fairly big points seem worth taking Monday night when those Central Michigan Chippewas (11-19, 2-11 away) pay a visit to the Buffalo Bulls (12-19, 8-7 home) at Alumni Arena in Buffalo, NY at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Central Michigan as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -105.

The opening round games of the Mid American Conference Tournament are played on the home court of the higher seed, which is why the game is in Buffalo, and although Central Michigan went just 2-11 on the road, it closed the season by playing well in its last three games following a 10-game losing streak, and two of those three season-ending games were on the road.

Conversely, Buffalo does not come in with much momentum having lost four of its last five games, and it is not as if the Bulls have some dominant home court advantage after finishing just a modest 8-7 in this arena this season.

The Chippewas snapped that 10-game losing streak with a 19-point road win at Northern Illinois, and followed that up with a home win over Eastern Michigan. The regular season finale though was one of Western Michigan’s better efforts of the year, albeit in defeat, and it should give them confidence while visiting a lesser opponent tonight.

You see, the Chippewas went on the road to visit the West Division champion of the MAC in Western Michigan, and they gave the Broncos all that they can handle before falling just short 71-68 as 11-point underdogs. Leading scorer Kyle Randall went off for 33 points in that contest including hitting 6-of-10 beyond the three-point arc.

Randall had a fine year in his first season in Mount Pleasant after transferring from NC Greensboro, and the Chippewas can ride his coattails to a possible upset, or at the very least, take this game down to the wire.

Amazingly, while Buffalo lost four of its last five as mentioned, the one win came over top-seeded Akron to snap the Zips’ 19-game winning streak! That seems like a one-time aberration though as the Bulls immediately regressed and lost their final two games following that stunner.

The key to this game is the Buffalo turnover situation, and the news has been bad on both sides of the ball in that regard as the Bulls have been extremely sloppy with the basketball while not turning teams over much on the defensive end. To wit, Buffalo is ranked 338th out of 347 Division I teams in offensive turnover percentage and 318th in defensive turnover percentage.

That does not bode well for giving this many points and when you add in the Chippewas’ nice close to the season Western Michigan looks like the play catching this many points on Monday.

[gameodds]14/224331/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Central Michigan +8½ (-105)

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