NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 20, 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 Thursday.

One of the more controversial selections to the NCAA Tournament field will look to prove that they belong on Thursday when those BYU Cougars (23-11, 8-10 away/neutral) take on the Oregon Ducks (23-9, 8-6 away/neutral) in the West Region from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI at 3:10 ET in a game televised nationally on truTV.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has BYU as a moderate underdog for this contest with the current line at +5 with odds of -105.

Many felt that BYU does not deserve an NCAA bid as the weak West Coast Conference should be a one-bid league with only conference champion Gonzaga getting in, and we ourselves went on the record on SBR Forum saying that snubbed SMU should have gotten this bid over BYU, especially with the Cougars’ star Kyle Collinsworth lost for the season to a torn ACL suffered in the WCC Championship Game loss to Gonzaga.

With that said, the Cougars have already shown that can compete with Oregon this season with Collinsworth having a sub-par game scoring wise, and the Oregon defense is more than “capable” of keeping BYU or any opponent for that matter in the game as it is ranked 278th in the country in points against and 203rd in field goal percentage allowed.

This is a rematch of a regular season game back on December 21st when BYU went on the road to Eugene and gave the Ducks all that they can handle taking them to overtime before falling 100-96. As we alluded to earlier, Collinsworth had just 15 points in that game as Tyler Haws led the way with 32 points and Matt Carlino and Eric Mika combined for 28. Collinsworth may be gone but those other three players have all continued to be leading contributors all year.

And the Cougars did make it all the way to the WCC Championship Game after all after finishing second in the conference with a 13-5 record during the season and then knocking off Loyola Marymount and third place San Francisco in the WCC Tournament to get to the final. So the Cougars are certainly a good basketball team, and just because we ultimately had them as the first team out of the tournament ourselves, it does not mean they cannot hang close with Oregon.

The Ducks were seeded seventh in the Pac-12 where they actually finished in a five-way tie for third with a modest 10-8 conference mark, and after getting by Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament they were eliminated by UCLA in the quarterfinals. There was probably no shame in losing to the Bruins though considering that UCLA went on to win the tournament by upsetting Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Still, is the fact that five teams tied at 10-8 in the conference a sign of a deep conference or a sign of mediocrity in the conference after the top two or Arizona and UCLA? Well, the performance of the Pac-12 in the other post-season tournament so far is certainly not encouraging.

The Pac-12 is 1-2 straight up and 0-3 ATS in the NIT, CIT and CBI combined, and that includes Utah losing to another WCC team in St. Mary’s, which finished two spots behind BYU in fourth. Then there was a huge upset with Oregon State losing outright at home to Radford on Wednesday, as well as a non-covering win by California over something called Utah Valley!

Thus while the Pac-12 is a major conference and the West Coast Conference is certainly not, when you combine those performance by Pac-12 teams the last two nights with how BYU played in a true road game at Oregon this season, we see no reason why the Cougars cannot take the Ducks right down to the wire again with an upset not impossible.

Thus, rather you feel BYU belongs in the NCAA Tournament or not, take the points with the Cougars on Thursday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: BYU +5 (-105)

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