NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland Terrapins +3½ over Iowa Hawkeyes

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Maryland and Iowa both caught fire at the end of the season, but Iowa may have trouble scoring on the Maryland defense and the Terrapins have the rebounding edge, so take the points.

The underdog looks to have value in the nightcap of the NIT semifinals on Tuesday night as those Maryland Terrapins (25-12, 4-7 away) take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (24-12, 3-8 home) at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Maryland as a modest underdog for this contest with the current line at +3½ with odds of -108.

The Terrapins were rather erratic this season as far as wins and losses goes, but they are on a nice post season run that began with beating Duke for the second time this season in the ACC Tournament before losing by only three points to North Carolina, and it has continued through knocking out the number one seed in the NIT in Alabama on the road last Tuesday to get to Madison Square Garden.

Not much was expected from Maryland this season, but it has shown vast improvement in its second season under Coach Mark Turgeon, and even though the Terrapins have had some questionable losses such as getting swept by Florida State and losing to the likes of Georgia Tech and Boston College, the bottom line is that they are now at 25 wins after going just 17-15 last year.

Maryland plays excellent defense and it rebounds the ball well, which is a combination that translates well to the post-season. The Terps held the Crimson Tide to 40.0 percent shooting in Tuscaloosa last Tuesday while outrebounding them 31-23, and that is how they have been winning games all season.

You see, Maryland is ranked 12th in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed defensively, ranking 19th in two-point defense at 42.6 percent and 26th in three-point defense at 30.2 percent. Also, the Terrapins rebound well on both sides of the court, ranking 33rd in offensive rebounding percentage and 38th in defensive rebounding percentage.

Because Maryland’ fine offensive rebounding often leads to easy put-backs, the Terps also rank 23rd in the land in two-point shooting at 52.2 percent, and they could potentially dominate in the “garbage points” department here vs. an Iowa team that is only ranked 109th in defensive rebounding percentage.

Now the Hawkeyes also closed put the season well, although they did get nipped 59-56 by Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. In fact Iowa is 10-3 in its last 13 games overall, and considering that the Hawkeyes start four underclassmen they could be a team to watch next season.

However Iowa is still not a good shooting team as it ranks only 237th in effective shooting percentage, 173rd in two-point shooting at 47.6 percent and a dismal 297th in three-point shooting at 30.9 percent. Yes, the Big Ten is clearly superior to the ACC, but we still question Iowa being favored in this spot as they figure to struggle to score vs. a stiff Maryland defense and they look vulnerable to allowing second chances due to the Terrapins’ edge on their offensive glass.

With that in mind, take the points with Maryland in the second semifinal of the NIT on Tuesday.

[gameodds]14/225662/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland +3½ (-108)