NCAA Basketball Pick: Northeastern Huskies vs. Towson Tigers

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

The Towson Tigers are 3-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play to improve to 12-6 overall, and they look to remain unbeaten in conference hosting Northeastern Wednesday.

It could be a closer game than the moderate spread indicates on Wednesday night when the Northeastern Huskies (5-14, 1-6 away) pay a visit to the Towson Tigers (12-6, 9-0 home) at SECU Arena in Towson, MD at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Northeastern as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +6½ with odds of -113.

Northeastern was the regular season CAA Champion last year when it went 20-13 overall and 14-4 in conference play, but the two leading scorers from that team Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith have both moved on following graduation and the Huskies have felt those losses by ranking 248th in the country in offensive efficiency while beginning the year 5-14. However, two of those wins have come since the start of CAA play as the defense has kept them in games.

Towson meanwhile was one of the preseason favorites to win the conference this season after finishing one game behind Northeastern in the CAA last year at 13-5 while going 18-13 overall, and the Tigers have not disappointed yet with their 3-0 conference start. They have also won five straight games overall to improve to 12-6 overall and they remain perfect in their brand new home gymnasium at 9-0.

Still, the Huskies seem capable of taking this game down to the wire if their defense continues to perform as it has since the start of conference play. Sure Northeastern is ranked 168th in the country in defensive efficiency overall but it is second in that category in CAA games, second to these Tigers. Thus, this could potentially be a low scoring game where every point is precious, therefore making getting this many points with the underdog seem valuable.

Now the offensive issues of Northeastern could certainly be a problem, but one area where the Huskies should have an edge is in offensive rebounding, which could either lead to some easy put-backs or some prolonged possessions, both of which would favor the underdog. Northeastern is grabbing its own missed shots 33.1 percent of the time vs. a national average of 31.7 percent, and Towson is having some serious issues on the defensive glass.

You see, the Tigers do not have a player taller than 6-foot-8, and as a result they are 201st in the country in defensive rebounding percentage overall and dead last during CAA play in that category, allowing opposing conference teams to grab their own offensive rebounds a disgusting 40.2 percent of the time!

Yes the Tigers have won five straight games since getting swept in a two-game western trek to Oregon State and North Dakota State, but they have gotten away with their rebounding issues during the winning streak vs. two weak non-conference opponents in New Hampshire and Coppin State and vs. three CAA opponents that have not rebounded as well or played defense as well as Northeastern has during conference play.

Now winning outright in a building where Towson has yet to lose could be a tall order, but we do see Northeastern hanging inside this moderate point spread from start to finish Wednesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Northeastern +6½ (-113)

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