NCAA Basketball Pick: Penn State -3½ over La Salle

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Penn State has its top scorer Tim Frazier back this season, and his firepower should be enough to overcome the experienced guards of La Salle at University Park Tuesday.

The home team should have revenge on its mind Tuesday and could very well get it with its leading scorer back when the La Salle Explorers (2-1, 0-0 away) pay a visit to those Penn State Nittany Lions (2-1, 1-1 home) at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, PA at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Penn State as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -3½ with odds of -122.

After not facing each other for many years, this Pennsylvania rivalry was renewed with La Salle destroying Penn State 82-57 in a blowout last season at the Palestra. That game could be seen as a precursor of things to come, as the Explorers went on not only to end a 20-year absence to the NCAA Tournament, but to also ride their four-guard offense to a surprising Sweet 16 run.

Meanwhile Penn State went on to go 10-21 overall including an atrocious 2-16 inside the Big Ten. Things are different this year though as the Nittany Lions lost leading scorer Tim Frazier after just four games last year to an Achilles Heel injury, and they are already getting a glimpse of what may have been in the early going this year.

In addition to being a scorer, the senior guard is also a steadying influence in the backcourt and is a major reason why Penn State is 15th in the country through three games in offensive turnover percentage at just 12.8 percent, helping lead to a good current ranking of 56th in offensive efficiency. The return of Frazier should lead to more highlights this year such as Penn State’s upset of the eventual national finalists from Michigan last season.

His impact has already been felt by Penn State scoring 74, 80 and 83 points respectively in its three games so far after scoring 74 points or more just four times all of last season. Frazier poured in 29 points in an 83-71 win at Penn on Saturday and is now averaging 22.3 points on a blistering 52.5 percent shooting from the field to go along with 6.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He goes beyond being the great equalizer vs. the experienced La Salle guards.

The Cinderella run for La Salle ended with a 72-58 loss to another surprising team in Wichita State in the Sweet 16, but despite that and three of the four guards used predominantly during that run back for more this season, the Explorers are actually currently only 107th on the early Pomeroy Ratings, 15 spots behind 92nd ranked Penn State, with Frazier having a lot to do with that.

The other part of that equation though is that the Explorers have not really been that impressive despite the 2-1 record as they are 0-3 ATS, losing outright to Manhattan and just barely beating Quinnipiac by six points and Siena by four. Penn State with Frazier represents a big leap in class over all three of those opponents, so La Salle’s 43.0 percent effective field goal percentage to this point despite the weak competition should hurt a lot more in this game.

Penn State has probably not forgotten about losing by 25 points to La Salle without Frazier last season and the Nittany Lions appear to be in an excellent position to extract some nice revenge at home on Tuesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Penn State -3½ (-122)

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