NCAA Basketball Pick: Loyola-Marymount -1½ over San Diego

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, February 4, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

In a game between two bad-shooting teams, the Loyola-Marymount edges in rebounding and free throws could make the difference vs. a San Diego team that has been bad in the road.

In a game between two teams on losing streaks, the home team may have the edge on Monday night when the San Diego Toreros (11-12, 3-6 away) pay a visit to those Loyola-Marymount Lions (8-13, 5-5 home) at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA at 10:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Loyola-Marymount as a small home favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ with odds of -106.

This West Coast Conference matchup pits a Loyola-Marymount team on a five-game losing streak against a San Diego team on a four-game losing streak, with each club losing to Gonzaga in its last game. The difference is that Marymount lost by 45 points to the Bulldogs while San Diego lost by two in a heartbreaker, but that may actually work against the Toreros here as they are the team more likely to have a letdown, especially going on the road.

Neither of these teams shoots the ball well, so this potentially close game can come down to little things such as offensive rebounding and foul shooting, and those are two areas where the home standing Lions have a clear advantage.

Yes, Marymount ranks only 148th in the county in points scored and 237th in offensive efficiency, but the Lions rank 98th in rebounding and 107th in offensive rebounding percentage at 33.8 percent, which is better than the national average of 32.0 percent. That should be good enough though to take advantage of a San Diego team that ranks a dismal 261st in defensive rebounding percentage, allowing second opportunities 34.1 percent of the time.

Besides all those second chances adding up in an otherwise close battle, the Lions can also get separation at the free throw line, where they rank 41st in the country at a good 73.8 percent while the Toreros are languishing in 201st at just 68.2 percent. The Lions should also be motivated by revenge here as they lost the first meeting between these schools 78-70 at San Diego three weeks ago.

That game did not really have lights-out shooting on either side despite the 148 combined points, as Marymount fouled constantly toward the end of the game while attempting to erase an 18-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining.

The Toreros left everything on the court vs. Gonzaga on Saturday, even holding a late lead before falling 65-63 when a game-winning three-point attempt was blocked at the final buzzer. That would be a tough game to bounce back from with normal rest, but the very quick turnaround only makes things worse for San Diego.

And that is not to mention the fact that the Toreros rank 192nd in offensive efficiency and 178th in effective field goal percentage, and that they have been at their worst offensively on the road averaging 57.7 points on a mere 40.0 percent shooting. Comparatively, Loyola-Marymount is averaging a decent 67.7 points at home.

With that in mind, look for the Lions to be the team snapping its losing streak at home on Monday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Loyola-Marymount -1½ (-106)

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