NCAA Basketball Pick: Presbyterian +2½ over Campbell

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Campbell was unable to replace leading scorer Darren White, going 7-9 in the Big South, and while Presbyterian went 4-12 in the conference, the Blue Hose are the better shooting team.

The underdog has a nice upset chance in the first round of the Big South Tournament on Tuesday when those Presbyterian Blue Hose (8-23, 1-15 away) take on the Campbell Fighting Camels (12-19, 4-9 away) at the HTC Center in Conway, SC at 6:00 ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Presbyterian as a small underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with odds of -105.

This conference sent UNC Asheville to the NCAA Tournament as the winner of this tournament last season, where the Bulldogs promptly gave Syracuse all that it can handle before the Orange prevailed 72-65. So who will represent the Big South in the Big Dance this season?

Well, the truth is that it is unlikely to be either of these two teams, as Campbell finished fourth in the North Division with a 7-9 conference mark and Presbyterian finished sixth and last in the South Division at 4-12. Despite those records, this looks like a very winnable game for Presbyterian.

You see, Campbell averaged 69.2 points per game overall during the regular season, but the team was just never the same after losing leading scorer and senior leader Darren White for the season to a knee injury way back in the conference opener vs. Gardner-Webb. White was averaging 21.8 points per game on an outstanding 51.4 percent shooting, and the Fighting Camels have simply been unable to replace his production.

Playing virtually the entire conference schedule without White, the Camels ranked 10th out of 12 Big South teams in effective field goal percentage during league play, ranking 10th in two-point shooting at just 46.9 percent and eighth in three-point shooting at 34.8 percent. They also have no momentum coming into this tournament, blowing their chance at a higher seed and falling below .500 inside the conference by losing their last three games.

Even though Presbyterian brought up the rear in the South, it is not as if the Blue Hose did not have any highlights as they did beat Gardner-Webb, currently the second choice to win this tournament behind only Charleston Southern, on February 6th. They even scored some style points for the conference by beating The Citadel out of the Southern Conference on BracketBuster Saturday.

More significantly in regards to this contest is that in a game with two equally bad defenses, the Blue Hose have been the better shooting team vs. conference opponents, ranking sixth in the Big South in effective field goal percentage while hitting on 47.3 percent of their two-point attempts and 35.9 percent of their three-pointers.

With this in mind, look for last-place Presbyterian to advance in the Big South Tournament with a mild upset on Tuesday.

[gameodds]14/223683/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Presbyterian +2½ (-105)