NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 10, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

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 Monday.

In the MAC Tournament, the small favorite should prevail while playing on its home court Monday night when the Kent State Golden Flashes (16-15, 5-8 away) pay a visit to those Miami-Ohio RedHawks (12-17, 7-6 home) at John D. Millett Hall in Miami, OH at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Miami-Ohio as a modest home favorite for this contest with the current line at -2½ with odds of -117.

The fourth and fifth place teams in the East Division square off Monday in the opening round, and this round of the MAC Tournament is played on the campuses of the higher seeded team, so Miami-Ohio gets to be home for this contest. These teams hope to carry on the recent tradition of the East Division dominating this tournament, as this division has given us each of the last nine MAC Champions!

Of course most of the dominance was by Akron and Ohio, who finished second and third this season behind a new face at the top in the Buffalo Bulls. So while these two teams are underdogs to advance past the next round, they will certainly give it their all tonight, and while the RedHawks only went a mediocre 7-6 at home, playing in Miami should still give them a bit of an edge as that is still better then Kent’s 5-8 road mark.

With that said, Miami-Ohio actually went on the road and handled Kent State rather easily in a 73-61 win last Tuesday, so that does not bode well for the Golden Flashes here. Neither of these teams is offensively gifted, but the RedHawks are adept at forcing turnovers defensively, which could help the offense along by leading to quite a few transition points.

Miami is 21st in the entire country in defensive turnover percentage at 21.8 percent, substantially above the national average of 18.4 percent, and that percentage has even climbed further to 22.9 percent when facing MAC opponents. Kent State is vulnerable to that pressure as it turns the ball over 19.6 percent of the time in conference, and the Golden Flashes committed 15 turnovers in the loss to Miami back in Kent last week.

Now you may notice that the RedHawks finished with a losing 12-17 record overall, but that is because they went 4-7 vs. a tough non-conference schedule that ranked 46th in the county in SOS, as they lost to the likes of Arizona State, Massachusetts and Xavier. Miami did finish one game ahead of Kent during MAC play, thus earning this home contest.

Kent appeared heading for a much better seeding, but the Golden Flashes stumbled down the stretch losing four of their last five games to fall to 7-11 in the conference. The Flashes finished 212th in the country in scoring this regular season at 69.8 points per game and 254th in field goal percentage at 42.8 percent, and those figures have drooped to 65.0 points and a woeful 39.9 percent during the current five-game swoon, including just 33.7 percent for three-point land.

In fact Kent State has just two players that are averaging double-figures this year, as Kris Brewer leads the club with a modest 11.7 points per game followed closely by Derek Jackson with an even 11.0 points. That duo combined for a mere seven points in the home loss to Miami last week, as an unexpected 27 points off the bench prevented that final losing margin from being bigger than the actual 12 points, and do not expect that kind of bench scoring again.

Thus, look for Miami-Ohio to take advantage by prevailing at home in the MAC Tournament on Monday.

[gameodds]14/261280/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Miami-Ohio -2½ (-117)