NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, April 5, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 5, 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 Saturday.

We have reached the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament and defense should rule the day in the first matchup Saturday when the Connecticut Huskies (30-8, 16-5 away/neutral) take on the Florida Gators (36-2, 18-2 away/neutral) at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX at 6:09 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 126½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -108.

The Gators are the only one-seed in the Final Four and they are on a 30-game winning streak that has them as the top ranked team in the country. Their trademark this season has been a smothering defense that is third in the country in points against at a mere 57.6 per game, and that has continued in this tournament with only UCLA getting out of the 50s in Florida’s four wins.

And who was the last team to beat Florida before the 30-game winning streak? Well, that would be this Connecticut team on a last second shot by Shabazz Napier. In case you have not been paying attention, Napier has done his best Kemba Walker impersonation during this tournament by carrying the seventh seeded Huskies to this point, and remember that Walker’s Huskies kept right on going to a national title three years ago.

But we feel that the theme of this contest will be defense. The Gators advanced to this point with a 62-52 win over Dayton in the Elite Eight while holding the Flyers to 19 total field goals in the game on 48 attempts (39.6 percent). And that was not an anomaly for a Florida team that leads the country in defensive efficiency while ranking 22nd in field goal percentage allowed and 25th in defensive turnover percentage.

If there is one knock on the Gators it is that they sometimes go on long scoring droughts, and they even did so in the final nine minutes of the win over Dayton while scoring just five total points. However, they have overcome those droughts with their defense, as a one-point win over fellow Final Four participant Kentucky in the SEC Championship Game was the closest the offense came to costing them a game.

But Florida is not the only team in this game that plays defense! Granted the Huskies are not in the Gators’ class defensively but they are still excellent ranking 10th in the nation in efficiency, and they actually rank ahead of Florida in effective field goal percentage allowed in 17th at 44.7 percent vs. a good schedule ranked 26th in SOS.

Connecticut may have been underseeded as a seven-seed as the fledging AAC did not get much respect from the selection committee, but the Huskies are probably coming off of their best win of the tournament when they beat Michigan State 60-54, a Spartans’ team now at full strength that many considered to be one of the favorites to win this entire tournament.

Thus, look for points to be at a premium as this Final Four matchup stays ‘under’ on Saturday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Connecticut, Florida ‘under’ 126½ (-108)

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