NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 13, 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 Thursday.

The Atlantic 10 Tournament picks up today and there is one small favorite that still has a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament with deep run here beginning Thursday when those Richmond Spiders (18-13, 6-9 away/neutral) take on the Duquesne Dukes (13-16, 7-8 away/neutral) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY at 6:30 ET in a game televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.

The point spread at Ber365 has Richmond as a small favorite for this contest with the current line at -2 with odds of -110.

There was one game in this tournament last night with last place Fordham upsetting disappointing George Mason after winning just two conference games all season. The Rams join the five-seeds through 11-seeds in action today with the top four seeds Saint Louis, VCU, George Washington and St. Joseph’s all on a bye until tomorrow. All four of those teams are virtually assured of being in the NCAA Tournament, as is fifth seeded Massachusetts.

Now, the Atlantic 10 is the highest ranked mid-major conference and with one bubble team in Georgetown out getting knocked out of the AAC Tournament last night, it seems a near certainty that this conference will get six teams in the Big Dance. That sixth team appears to be Dayton at this point, but if there is one team that could steal that bid with a deep run in this tournament, it is seventh seeded Richmond, especially if Dayton gets upset early.

Richmond may be 18-13, but the Spiders did lose to the likes of North Carolina, top-ranked Florida and Minnesota during non-conference play, and they do own a head-to-head win over Dayton this season, albeit at home. The bad news is that the Spiders lost the rematch at Dayton in the regular season finale with a chance to make the statement and they enter this tournament on a four-game losing streak.

That would be forgotten though if the Spiders make a run to the Atlantic 10 Semifinals at the very least, and even with their losing streak, their 93rd overall ranking on the Pomeroy Ratings is 40 spots higher than the 133rd ranking of their opponents this evening from Duquesne. The losing streak may also be giving us nice line value at this cheap number.

After all, the Spiders did handle the Dukes easily in their lone regular season meeting 75-58, and that was on the road in Pittsburgh. The Richmond defense is 41st in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed, and it held to Duquesne to just 38.6 percent shooting in that runaway win.

Duquesne is not going to a post-season tournament of any kind unless it wins this tournament, which realistically is just not going to happen. That is not to say that the Dukes will not be motivated and they should be the looser team with nothing to lose.

Still, while that is all well and good, this is remains a cheap number as Duquesne might possibly be getting too much credit for winning in Saint Louis in the third to last game of the season to snap the Billikens’ 19-game winning streak, as Saint Louis simply got caught looking ahead to a huge game vs. VCU just two days later.

Richmond is simply the better team with more to gain with a deep conference tournament run, and at this small number, we recommend giving the small spot with the Spiders on Thursday.

[gameodds]14/261466/?r-1=43-238-92-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Richmond -2 (-110)