NCAA Basketball Pick on Savannah State in MEAC Tournament

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 9, 2015 2:11 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 9, 2015 2:11 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.


The MEAC Tournament kicks off Monday night and there appears to be an overlay in the very first opening round game when those 12th seeded Savannah State Tigers (9-21, 2-16 away/neutral) take on the fifth seeded Delaware State Hornets (15-16, 9-11 away/neutral) at Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA at 6:30 ET with live streaming available at

The point spread at Bet365 has Savannah State as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +7½ with odds of -110.

Is Delaware State Overvalued?
The MEAC is the conference that produced two of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history with the 15th seeded MEAC team upsetting a 2-seed in both cases, first with Hampton knocking off Iowa State in 2001 and more recently Norfolk State shocking Missouri in 2012. Neither of these teams figures to duplicate those feats, but was the same thing not said before those two stunners?

Delaware State was the winning NCAA Basketball pick in its last two games to wrap up the fifth seed while Savannah State lost its last two games to secure its 12th seeding, so the Hornets being favored here is no surprise. The issue we have however is has Delaware State really done enough to be favored by this much on a neutral court? And the Hornets did still finish with a losing 15-16 record overall.

Ranked 300th in Defensive Efficiency
Delaware State finished at 9-7 in conference play, but the Hornets often treat defense as an afterthought and that factor alone makes them vulnerable giving this many points. In fact, Delaware State has been out-scored vs. Division I competition this season, averaging 70.0 points vs. those foes but surrendering 73.8 points per game.

That shaky defense is ranked 300th in the country in defensive efficiency while applying hardly any pressure ranking 329th in defensive turnover percentage at 16.0 percent vs. a national average of 19.2 percent. That should allow Savannah State to slow the pace of this game as it pleases as the Tigers are 150th in the nation in tempo rating, which goes against Delaware State’s preferred style with the Hornets ranking 37th in tempo.

Even on the offensive end, Delaware State is only 234th in effective field goal percentage at 47.7 percent while making a woeful 44.9 percent of its two-point shots, and the Hornets are also very turnover-prone, which could be another huge factor here.

Savannah State Very Good at Forcing Turnovers
Now Savannah State joined the MEAC for the 2011-12 season and promptly won the regular season title its first season in the league and followed that up with a third place finish in 2012-13. However the Tigers dropped back to fifth last season and they have plummeted this year, but one thing that Savannah State has continued to do well is force turnovers.

Unbelievably, the Tigers are third in the entire country in defensive turnover percentage this season at 25.0 percent, with only West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky forcing a higher percentage nationally! And as we alluded to earlier, Delaware State is loose with the basketball ranking 225th in offensive turnover percentage, which is obviously a terrible trait for a decided favorite like this vs. a defense highly capable of taking advantage of that sloppiness.

Hornets Won by Nine Points at Home
Granted, Delaware State won the regular season meeting by nine points 59-50, but that was back home in Dover and despite Savannah forcing the Hornets into 18 turnovers.

Do not expect Delaware State to be so fortunate playing on a neutral court this time with a similarly sloppy effort, which unfortunately has been its norm this year, so take the points with Savannah State in the first game of the MEAC Tournament on Monday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Savannah State +7½ (-110)

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