NCAA Basketball Pick: San Francisco Dons -1 over Portland Pilots

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, January 24, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Portland Pilots are one of the country’s worst shooting teams and they are 8-12 despite a pretty easy schedule. The San Francisco Dons have faced a tougher slate and shoot better.

Terrible shooting should prove costly to the home team Thursday night in the West Coast Conference when the San Francisco Dons (8-11, 1-4 away) pay a visit to those Portland Pilots (8-12, 6-4 home) at the Chiles Center in Portland, OR at 10:00 ET.

The point spread at Bookmaker Sportsbook has San Francisco as a tiny road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1 with odds of -110.

The WCC is a strongly tiered conference consisting of Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, BYU and then everybody else, and this game pits two teams from that final category with Portland clearly looking like the worse of the two. The Pilots rank 319th in the country in points scored at 59.9 per game, and it is easy to see why when looking at their Pomeroy profile.

Portland ranks 326th out of 347 Division I teams in offensive efficiency, and it is not as if the Pilots are weak in one or two components of that figure as they are terrible across the board. The Pilots rank 323rd in effective field goal percentage, 298th in two-point shooting, 330th in three-point shooting, and 319th in turnover percentage. And for good measure, they rank 270th in foul shooting  too at 65.6 percent!

The worst part is that the Pilots do not have the excuse of facing a particularly tough schedule to fall back on. Sure Portland had a couple of tough non-conference games such as at Kentucky, but for the most part its already modest 8-12 record is still better than it should be.

That is because two of the eight wins came vs. a couple of non-Division I teams called Lewis & Clark and Portland Bible, and only one win came vs. a team ranked in the top 200 on the Pomeroy Ratings, and that win was by just two points vs. 154th ranked Bradley on a neutral floor in Las Vegas.

Yes, San Francisco is only one-half game better at 8-11 overall, but at least the Dons have faced a schedule ranked 44th in SOS and their 81-65 win over St. John’s out of the Big East is the best win for either of these clubs this season.

Now the Dons are hardly an outstanding shooting team, but they seem like Indiana compared to Portland as they rank 76th in effective field goal percentage, and they do rank a very good 35th in the entire country in three-point shooting at 37.7 percent.

The Dons are 1-5 in WCC play, but they gave a fine account of themselves vs. a couple of the conference heavyweights, losing by only four points to BYU and by six points to Saint Mary’s before finally breaking through for that elusive first conference win 62-53 vs. Loyola-Marymount last time out.

Now look for San Francisco to make it back-to-back wins vs. this weak opponent at a cheap line on the road on Thursday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: San Francisco -1 (-110)

comment here