NCAA Basketball Pick on Stanford to Win Big in the NIT

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 4:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2015 4:31 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 Tuesday.


The visiting team with the gaudy record may get a reality check Tuesday night in the NIT while stepping up in class to face a Pac-12 opponent as those UC Davis Aggies (25-6, 10-5 away) pay a visit to the Stanford Cardinal (19-13, 13-3 home) at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, CA at 11:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Stanford as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -8½ with odds of -106.

Major Conference vs. Non-Major
This is an interesting battle between a middle tier team in a major conference and a regular season champion from a lesser conference. Stanford finished in fifth place in the Pac-12 with a 9-9 conference mark and it then won a game in the Pac-12 Tournament beating Washington before getting crushed by a very good Utah team in the tournament quarterfinals.

The Cardinal went 9-3 out of conference with nice wins over Texas, Connecticut and Wofford, all Pomeroy Top 100 teams.

UC Davis meanwhile was the regular season champion of the Big West Conference at 14-2, but the Aggies could not solve Hawaii as one of their two conference losses was to the Rainbow Warriors and they were the losing NCAA Basketball picks to them again in the Big West Tournament 65-58, forcing Davis to settle for the NIT. The Aggies have no non- conference Pomeroy 100 wins and they lost their only game vs. a Pac-12 team at Washington State.

UC Davis Shoots Threes Well, but What Else?
Now, UC Davis certainly shoots three-pointers well, in fact leading the entire nation at 44.4 percent from beyond the arc! However, that shooting was able to mask quite a few weaknesses and there is no guarantee that the three-point stroke will be there tonight like it usually is now playing on the road in Pac-12 territory.

Take away the three-pointers and there is not much else the Aggies do very well. They are sloppy with the basketball ranking 302nd in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 21.2 percent vs. a national average of 19.1 percent, and they do not force many turnovers defensively ranking 250th at 17.9 percent. They are also a weak rebounding team on both ends of the floor, ranking 263rd in offensive rebounding percentage and 285th in defensive rebounding percentage.

And UC Davis is not particularly strong defensively in general, ranking 206th in defensive efficiency. To make matters worse, those bad numbers were vs. a schedule ranked 238th in SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings. So at 25-6, a case can be made that no team in the country outperformed its statistics as much as the Aggies did, and that is usually a bad omen come tournament time.

Cardinal Looked NCAA Bound Until Weak Finish
Stanford appeared to be NCAA Tournament bound when it was sitting at 15-5 overall with the aforementioned nice non-conference wins and 6-2 inside the Pac-12, but almost inexplicably and without warning the Cardinal struggled while going 4-8 the rest of the way and the 80-56 thumping at the hands of Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament sealed their fate and sent them NIT bound.

Still, just based on talent and competition alone Stanford seems capable of winning this game easily, especially if UC Davis does not shoot its three-pointers as well as usual with its rise in class on the road. Stanford is 36th in the country in offensive efficiency and, unlike the Aggies, it protects the ball well ranking 26th in offensive turnover percentage at 16.1 percent as it is safely above average in offensive rebounding percentage at 33.6 percent vs. a national norm of 31.1.

And remember that the Cardinal did that vs. a schedule ranked 38th in SOS.

Troubles vs. Pac-12
Moreover, when UC Davis lost its only game vs. a Pac-12 team this year both straight up and ATS vs. the Cougars, it continued a pattern that now has the Aggies at 0-6 ATS in their last six games vs. the Pac-12.

Do not expect anything different here in Stanford, so look for the Cardinal to win by double-digits at home over UC Davis in the NIT on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Stanford -8½ (-106)

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