NCAA Basketball Pick: James Madison Dukes -4 over Towson

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

James Madison is seeking revenge for a 26 point loss to Towson on the road and in a game between two surprising teams, the Dukes should get their revenge by winning the turnover war.

Two teams that have already exceeded preseason expectations in the Colonial Athletic Association square off on Tuesday night when the Towson Tigers (14-12, 8-7 away) pay a visit to the James Madison Dukes (14-12, 9-3 home) at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, VA at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has James Madison as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -4 with odds of -102.

Towson was picked to finish tenth in the CAA in the preseason coaches’ poll while the Dukes are coming off a season where they went 12-20 overall and 5-13 in conference play, and yet Towson is currently in second place in the conference with a 9-4 mark while James Madison is only one game behind at 8-5.

The Dukes will also have revenge in mind as they were embarrassed 73-47 at Towson on January 19th, with that 26-point margin being the worst conference loss for JMU this season. They have  bounced back nicely off of that blowout by going 5-2 since then, although they are coming off of a 60-48 loss at Drexel on Sunday.

Two things that stick out about the Dukes is that they do not turn the ball over much offensively and that they are adept at stealing the ball defensively. James Madison is ranked a good 57th in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 18.2 percent, and they are second in that category during CAA play at 16.9 percent, which compares extremely favorably to the national average of 20.3 percent.

On the defensive end, the Dukes are ranked 47th nationally in steal percentage, recording one on 11.9 percent of opponents’ possessions compared to a national average of 10.1 percent, and they are also and excellent 32nd in blocked shot percentage at 13.3 percent, smashing the national average of 9.4 percent. They rank second in blocked shots and third in steals during CAA play, as well as leading the conference in effective field goal percentage allowed.

Add that all up and the Dukes lead the CAA in defensive efficiency. One anomaly of the first meeting in Towson was that the Tigers had only one more turnover than the Dukes. Look for a larger turnover differential in favor of James Madison here in Harrisonburg, where the Dukes are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games while going 8-3 straight up in those contests.

Towson may be 13-7 ATS in all of its lined games this season, but this does not look like a good matchup for the Tigers as they rank 328th in defensive turnover percentage, as well as ranking 283rd in getting shots blocked and 269th in allowing steals on offense, all of which play directly into James Madison’s strengths!

The Tigers did have nine shots blocked despite the blowout win last time, but James Madison recorded an atypically low three steals in that game, helping keep Towson’s total turnovers at a reasonable 13 for the game.

Look for that turnover total to increase in Madison’s house and for the Dukes to come away with a safe win on Tuesday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: James Madison -4 (-102)

comment here