NCAA Basketball Pick: Santa Clara, Wright State ‘under’ 132½

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

In a contrast in styles, Wright State should continue to do a nice job of slowing the pace at home and its defense should cause Santa Clara some problems, so go ‘under’ on Wednesday.

Look for the home team to win the tempo war and to slow the pace of this game to its liking in the CBI Tournament on Wednesday as the Santa Clara Broncos (23-11, 8-5 away) pay a visit to the Wright State Raiders (23-12, 13-4 home) at the Nutter Center in Dayton OH at 9:00 ET.

The posted total at Bookmaker Sportsbook is 132½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

Wright State was one game shy of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament as it lost in the Horizon League Championship Game 62-54 to Valparaiso. Still, this has been a very successful season for the Raiders as a team that was picked to finish dead last in the Horizon League before the year is now at 23 wins and hopefully still counting.

The reason for the pessimism before the season was because of Wright State’s youth, as it was the 11th youngest team in all of NCAA Basketball and it currently does not have a single senior on its active roster. But these youngsters have become adept at staying in games by slowing the pace down and playing stiff defense, and that has served them well much more often than not.

The Raiders rank 290th in the country with a tempo rating of 63.0 possessions per game, and although they are not a disgraceful shooting team ranking 128th in effective filed goal percentage at 49.3 percent, they have gotten this far because of a defense that is ranked 30th in the nation in defensive efficiency and 11th in defensive turnover percentage.

That stiff defense held Tulsa to 52 points and Richmond to 51 in the first two rounds of this CBI Tournament and it is the key reason why the Wright State ‘under’ is on a 4-0 run. Furthermore, the last 13 consecutive Raiders’ games have all had less than 130 total points scored during regulation time, as the only game to exceed 130 points was a 70-68 double overtime win at Green Bay that was only at 104 points (52-52) after regulation.

Now Santa Clara is more of an up-tempo team that is ranked 86th in tempo rating with 67.8 possessions per game, and it put up 77 points at home vs. Vermont and more impressively 86 points on the road at Purdue in the first two rounds of this tournament.

It should be noted though that the 86-83 win over the Boilermakers had a whopping 78 possessions, which was the most possession in any game by the Broncos all year. Wright State will probably not allow that kind of pace to occur on its own building, and do not overlook the fact that the Raiders’ 30th ranking in defensive efficiency makes them the highest ranked team in that category that Santa Clara has faced all season.

Thus, do not look for the Broncos to have as easy a go of it offensively as they have most of this season while playing in the WCC, and the fact that they are only 94th in offensive turnover percentage could make them vulnerable to the Wright State pressure.

Now that is not to say that Santa Clara cannot win this game, but we do feel that it will be played at Wright State’s pace so go ‘under’ in Dayton on Wednesday.

[gameodds]14/225603/93-238-19-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Santa Clara, Wright State ‘under’ 132½ (-110)