NCAA Basketball Pick: Northeastern +12½ over Florida State

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, November 24, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The Northeastern Huskies have the frontcourt to be able to hang close to major conference teams, so the double-digit points are worth taking vs. Florida State Sunday.

It could be a much closer game than the big point spread suggests Sunday when the Northeastern Huskies (2-3, 0-1 away) take on the Florida State Seminoles (4-1, 1-0 away) in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off from Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, PR at 4:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Northeastern as a double-digit underdog for this contest with the current line at +12½ with odds of -113.

Northeastern comes off of a 20-13 season that included a 14-4 record inside the CAA, but a second round loss to James Madison in the CAA Tournament kept the Huskies out of the NCAA Tournament, and they were eliminated in the first round of the NIT by Alabama. The addition of 6-foor-8 transfer Scott Eatherton could make them more formidable vs. stiffer competition this year however.

Florida State was a disappointing 18-16 last year while uncharacteristically going just 9-9 in the ACC, and the Noles may have simply been disinterested when they met the same fate as Northeastern with a first round loss in the NIT, except they were upset at home by Louisiana Tech.

Eatherton transferred to Northeaster from little St. Francis (Pa.), and he is already making his presence felt by leading his new team in scoring with 15.2 points per game and rebounding with 10.2 boards per contest while shooting a sizzling 60.8 percent from the field! Just the presence of Eatherton has already created an upset in this tournament when the Huskies beat the Georgetown Hoyas in the opening round 63-56 as 13½-point underdogs.

Eatherton finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds that game despite the Hoyas doubling him much of the time, but that freed up the Huskies’ best returnee from last season Reggie Spencer to finish with 18 points and nine rebounds. That potent one-two punch in the frontcourt could create a few more upsets this season and it should again make Northeastern a major player once CAA conference play begins.

Florida State seems on the verge of a nice bounce-back year following the disappointment of last year as the Noles got off to a 4-0 start before suffering their first defeat here in overtime Friday to defending national finalists Michigan 82-80 in overtime. But even with that said, the Seminoles are still playing a natural 6-foot-7 small forward at the point guard position in Montay Brandon.

On the one hand, that creates matchup problems for the opposition, but on the other hand, because of the lack of a true point guard, Florida State’s Achilles Heel last season of turning the ball over too often is resurfacing this year, as despite the 4-1 record the Seminoles are ranked 340th in the country out of 351 Division I teams in offensive turnover percentage, losing the ball on a whopping 24.3 percent of their possessions vs. a national average of 18.4 percent.

That statistic alone could allow an underrated Northeastern team to hang within single-digits, which is all that is required to cover this big number on Sunday.

[gameodds]14/250950/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Northeastern +12½ (-113)

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