NCAA Basketball Pick on New Hampshire in CIT Opener Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 16, 2015 3:57 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 16, 2015 3:57 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.


While most of the nation is anticipating the start of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, one of the other post-season tournaments begins play on Monday and the road underdogs look to have value when the New Hampshire Wildcats (19-12, 7-9 away) pay a visit to the NJIT Highlanders (18-11, 12-2 home) in the First Round of the CIT from the Fleisher Center in Newark, NJ at 7:00 ET with live streaming available at

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has New Hampshire as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ with odds of -106.

Major Turnaround for Both Teams
Not all the teams that were not selected by the NCAA Tournament Committee on Selection Sunday now get to go home, not with three other post-season tournaments going on in the NIT, CBI and CIT. Furthermore, two teams are right back on the hardwood tonight with the CIT being the first tournament to begin play with the only game on Monday.

And what an unlikely matchup this must have seemed like before this season as NJIT went 6-63 over its first three seasons at the Division I level including being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in every game of its 0-29 season in 2007-08. The Highlanders has shown some improvement since but still come off a losing 13-16 season last year. And New Hampshire comes off of a season where it went 6-24.

Great Defensive Rebounding by Wildcats
The Wildcats improved all the way to 19-12 this season and they even won a game in the America East Tournament beating Hartford before getting nipped by just two points 60-58 by the eventual conference champions from Albany, helping the Great Danes along to their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Still, after the struggles of last season, New Hampshire is probably happy to be in the CIT and should attempt to use this as a stepping stone.

Now granted the Wildcats are not a great shooting team with an effective field goal percentage of just 49.5 percent, but they can defend and they crash the defensive glass as well as any team in the country at any level, and that is a combination that could win you quite a few post-season tournament games.

New Hampshire is 47th in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed at only 45.6 percent, but most amazingly they are third in defensive rebounding percentage, with only Arizona and another NCAA Tournament team in North Dakota State ranked ahead of them! And considering that NJIT has not been good on the offensive glass, look for the Wildcats to allow hardly any second opportunities in this game as they again dominate the defensive glass.

Highlanders Beat Michigan
Now, the New Jersey Institute of Technology is another nice story going from the depths it was at soon after joining Division I to going 18-11 this year and making some noise nationally back in December by going into Ann Arbor and shocking the Michigan Wolverines 72-20 as 23½-poing underdogs in what may be the biggest upset of this NCAA Basketball season.

NJIT is an Independent and it also posted some other good wins over Duquesne out of the highly regarded Atlantic 10 and over a Yale team that came within two points of winning the Ivy League and going to the NCAA Tournament, as that was how many points the Bulldogs lost to Harvard by on Saturday.

As great a story as the Highlanders have become, culminating with this first even post-season tournament of any kind at the NCAA level, the expected huge rebounding disadvantage here makes them almost impossible to back as decided favorites. You see, NJIT is 262nd in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 28.6 percent vs. a national average of 31.1 percent, and the Highlander figure to do next to nothing on the glass here given the opponent.

The news is not any better for the Highlanders on the defensive glass either, where they are ranked 271st in defensive rebounding percentage.

First Time NJIT Has Ever Been Favored!
Finally, in a rather fun oddity, this is the first time since NJIT joined Division I eight years ago that it has ever been favored in a game! Yes that deserves an asterisk as the Highlanders have only been on the betting board five times in their history, and the stunner over Michigan makes them 4-1 ATS lifetime. But this could be a different mindset for them here with the Highlanders now suddenly being expected to win in their first tournament game ever.

Add this all up and New Hampshire seems to provide nice underdog value getting this many points at NJIT in the First Round of the CIT on Monday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: New Hampshire +5½ (-106)

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