NCAA Basketball Pick on Stony Brook over Mercer in CBI

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 5:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2015 5:01 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 Wednesday. is possible that the wrong team is favored Wednesday night in the CBI Tournament when those Stony Brook Seawolves (23-11, 9-9 away) pay a visit to the Mercer Bears (18-15, 11-3 home) at Hawkins Arena in Macon, GA at 7:00 ET with live streaming available on WatchESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Stony Brook as a small underdog for this contest with the current line at +2 with odds of -106.

Single Elimination Until Best-of-Three Finals
The CBI began with one game last night as Loyola Chicago beat Rider, while the other 14 teams involved in this tournament are in action over seven games tonight. Just like the other post-season tournaments, the CBI has a single elimination format until the finals, where the CBI is unique in having a 2-out-of-3 championship series.

As for this contest, the combatants had very different finishes to the season as Stony Brook was the winning NCAA Basketball pick in eight straight games until the America East Tournament Championship Game while Mercer was rather inconsistent down the stretch before losing in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament.

Missed NCAA Tournament Berth by One Point
In fact, Stony Brook came within one point of being in the NCAA Tournament as the Seawolves’ eight-game winning streak ended with a 51-50 loss to Albany in that American East Championship Game on a three-point basket by the Great Danes’ Peter Hooley off of a long offensive rebound with two seconds left. That marked the third straight season that Stony Brook has lost to Albany for the championship and automatic NCAA berth.

That does not take away from the fine finish to the season the Seawolves had, and they did finish at 23-11 overall and 5-1 ATS on the rare occasions that they were on the betting board. The key to the Stony Brook success is defense as the Seawolves rank 74th in the country in defensive efficiency, which is very good for an America East team, and they are an excellent 23rd in the nation in two-point defense allowing just a 42.8 percent success rate!

Stony Brook is also a beast on the defensive glass ranking a fantastic ninth in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, so do not expect Mercer to get many second opportunities in this game. And while the America East is not a great conference ranking 29th as a whole on the Pomeroy Ratings, slightly behind the 25th ranked Southern Conference that Mercer hails from, the Seawolves do show a very nice road win over the Washington Huskies out of the Pac-12.

Erratic Ending to the Season
Mercer finished the year by going a nondescript 7-6 in its last 13 games overall and it ended with an unexpected upset loss to a then 10-21 Furman team in the Southern Conference Tournament as a 9½-point favorite. Furman did then lose to a good Wofford team in the Southern Championship Game, so at least the conference does have a worthy representative in the NCAA Tournament.

Now, Mercer is ranked 174th in the country in offensive efficiency and 160th in effective field goal percentage at 49.3 percent. That takes on added significance here because the Bears will need to hit a higher percentage of their initial shots given their expected lack of offensive rebounds while facing one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country, and we simply do not think that Mercer is capable of shooting much better.

Also, favored Mercer is only ranked 180th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings, which is 50 spots lower that the 130th ranked underdogs from Mercer. We are not so sure that simply being home is enough reason for the Bears to be small favorites here.

Mercer Burning Money as of Late
Finally, Mercer has been a terrible bet down the stretch going 1-8 ATS in its last nine games overall, dropping its season record to only 12-16-1 ATS. We do not expect that skid to end now as favorites over a seemingly better team.

The one risk here is that Stony Brook could be disheartened by the way it missed out on an NCAA berth, but if the Seawolves could put that behind them and come to play, they should win outright as small underdogs at Mercer in the CBI Tournament on Wednesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Stony Brook +2 (-106)

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