NCAA Basketball Pick on South Dakota to Shoot Its Way to Cover

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 17, 2015 7:37 PM GMT

Milwaukee received some notoriety recently with a road win at Wisconsin, but that win loses its luster with the Badgers’ 7-5 record and South Dakota has the shooters to stay close.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: South Dakota +8.5 (-105)

Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

The road team has shown that it can shoot the ball extremely well and that could help make this game closer than the point spread may suggest Thursday night as the South Dakota Coyotes (6-4, 4-3 ATS) of the Summit League pay a visit to the Milwaukee Panthers (8-3, 5-4 ATS) of the Horizon League at UWM Panther Arena in Milwaukee, WI at 8:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at bet365 has South Dakota as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with NCAA Basketball odds of -110.

 

Is Win at Wisconsin Meaningful?
Milwaukee made national headlines last week beating the defending national finalists, the Wisconsin Badgers, on the road in Madison 68-67 as a 13-point underdog at most spots, but remember that the Coyotes beat a shell of last year’s veteran Wisconsin team with the Badgers only being 7-5 this year and Bo Ryan retiring yesterday. Milwaukee then had a meaningless 125-74 romp over a sub-division team called Judson Saturday for its fourth straight win to get to 8-3.

South Dakota had been the winning NCAA Basketball pick in five straight games, a winning streak that included an 85-81 road win at Minnesota out of the Big Ten, before an unexpected setback Saturday in a 77-67 home loss to CS Bakersfield in a non-lined game. Perhaps the Coyotes took that game for granted as the 67 points scored were their fewest since scoring 65 at Northern Illinois in the second game of the season.

 

Sharp-Shooting Coyotes
Despite losing and having their second lowest point output of the season, the Coyotes still shot 48.0 percent from the field overall at 24-for-50, which has become par for the course for a South Dakota team ranked 40th in the country in field goal percentage at 48.5 percent. Furthermore the Coyotes shot 50.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc (7-for-14), improving its three-point percentage for the season to a nice 39.4 percent.

That shooting has led to the Coyotes ranking 45th in the land in effective field goal percentage, and they are a nightmare for opposing teams to defend because they do not really have that one go-to guy for defenses to key on. Tre Burnette leads the team with his rather modest 13.5 points per game, but he is just one of five South Dakota players averaging double-digits!

Four of those double-digit scorers are starters while the fifth, Dan Jech, has provided instant offense off the bench on more than a few occasions when the situation called for it.

A major weakness for South Dakota is getting second chances, as it is 316th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 23.6 percent vs. a national average of 30.4 percent. However, this is one game where that may not matter much because Milwaukee is almost as bad on its offensive glass, so the superior South Dakota shooting does not figure to get offset by a large discrepancy in second chances as it oftentimes is.

 

Who Else Have Panthers Beaten?
Yes, even though Wisconsin lost a ton of talent from the team that lost to Duke in the National Championship Game back in April, that win by Milwaukee in Madison is still the best win for either of these teams. But still, as mentioned, that win is not as good as it may have seemed at first glance, and if you take it away the schedules these teams have faced are not that vastly different.

The second highest team on the Pomeroy Ratings currently that Milwaukee has beaten is 192nd ranked Central Michigan, while the win over Judson Saturday was the second for the Panthers over a non-Division I school. South Dakota has one win over a sub-level school and it does have that nice win in Minnesota.

We also alluded to Milwaukee not being good offensive rebounding team either, ranking an even 300th in offensive rebounding percentage at 24.7 percent, but the difference is that the Panthers are not hitting as many of their initial shots as South Dakota, shooting only 43.3 percent overall and 35.2 percent from three-point land.

 

Not Intimidated in Hostile Territory
Finally, South Dakota has not backed down when playing on the road vs. good competition, going a sparkling 14-5 ATS in its last 19 road games vs. teams with winning home records. Additionally, Milwaukee is just 1-8-1 ATS in its last 10 games following a win by more than 20 points.

If you take away the win at Wisconsin by Milwaukee, a win that was not as good as it would have been in recent years, there teams grade out pretty evenly except for South Dakota being a better shooting team, so take the points with the Coyotes on Thursday.