NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, March 14, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Every day this NCAA post-season, LT Profits Sports seeks one single tournament play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Tournament Play of the Day Friday.

We are staying in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament again on Friday in a battle of 20-win teams when the Dayton Flyers (23-9, 10-5 away/neutral) take on the St. Joseph’s Hawks (21-9, 10-5 away/neutral) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY at 2:30 ET in a game televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has St. Joseph’s as the tiniest of favorites for this contest with the current line at -1 with odds of -107.

We correctly predicted the easy win by Richmond in this Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on Thursday and we are staying in the same tournament for this quarterfinal round. The Atlantic 10 is the highest ranked mid-major conference and it is a near certainty that six of the eight teams in action today will make the NCAA Tournament, and four of them are probably already in, with those being Saint Louis, VCU, George Washington, and Massachusetts.

There are three teams in contention for the other two at-large bids, and if the season ended right now, these two teams would fill them. However, seventh seeded Richmond is still in the picture, and if those Spiders make a deeper run, they could snatch up the spot of the loser of this game, which in a way makes this the biggest game of the tournament.

With that said, this game may mean a touch more to St. Joseph’s because the Hawks ended the regular season with two straight losses, the last of which could be a damaging one to La Salle. If the Hawks were to lose their third straight game here while Richmond wins today and tomorrow, that loss to La Salle, which came at home in Philadelphia, could be enough for the selection committee to favor the Spiders over these Hawks.

On the other hand, the winner of this game probably punches its ticket to the Big Dance regardless of which team it is, and if that team is St. Joseph’s, the home loss to a La Salle team that finished 15-16 after getting knocked out by St. Bonaventure yesterday will be quickly forgotten.

And don’t forget that the Hawks had won eight of their last nine games prior to the two season-ending losses, and that streak included sweeping both meetings with this Dayton team with the most recent triumph being a 79-53 blowout, as well as impressive wins over VCU and Massachusetts.

Dayton finished the season strong winning nine of its last 10 regular season games, and then the Flyers made 10 wins out of 11 by beating Fordham yesterday. However, the one loss during this span was the blowout loss at St. Joseph’s, against whom the Flyers simply do not match up well.

You see, the Hawks led the Atlantic 10 in effective field goal percentage during conference play, thanks to leading the conference in two-point shooting at a blazing 54.7 percent and ranking third in three-point shooting at 37.0 percent. Unfortunately, Dayton is ninth in the conference in effective field goal percentage allowed, as well as an identical ninth in both two-point defense and three-point defense.

Thus, it is not surprising that St. Joseph’s swept the season series and was the only team to beat Dayton in the last 11 games, and when you add in that this game might mean a touch more to the Hawks after losing their last two games, look for St. Joseph’s to make it 3-0 vs. Dayton this year on Friday in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.


NCAA Basketball Pick: St. Joseph’s -1 (-107)

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