NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 25, 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 Tuesday.

The ACC team may have the advantage in the NIT Tuesday night when the Belmont Bruins (26-9, 10-7 away) out of the Ohio Valley Conference pay a visit to those Clemson Tigers (22-12, 15-3 home) at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, SC at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Clemson as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -7 with odds of -111.

Belmont won the Ohio Valley Conference last season resulting in a trip to the NCAA Tournament where the Bruins were thumped by the Arizona Wildcats. The Bruins just missed making a return trip to the Big Dance this season as they again advanced to the Ohio Valley Tournament Championship Game, only to fall in a semi-home game in Nashville 79-73 to Eastern Kentucky.

Clemson finished sixth in the ACC this season while obviously keeping better company than Belmont did on a regular basis, and at 10-8 in conference play, the Tigers actually finished ahead of 9-9 NC State, yet watched the Wolfpack get invited to the Big Dance while Clemson landed here in the NIT. The Tigers have not seemed disheartened though, beating Georgia State by double-digits and nipping Illinois out of the Big Ten 50-49 to get to this third round.

Belmont can shoot the basketball as it is ranked 17th in the country in scoring at 80.2 points per game and second in field goal percentage overall at 50.2 percent! The Bruins also made some national headlines way back in November by travelling to Chapel Hill and upsetting the North Carolina Tar Heels 83-80.

Still, the Bruins have faced a weak schedule that ranks just 178th in SOS, and only two games prevent that SOS from being worse as Belmont had a double-digit loss to Kentucky to go along with the North Carolina shocker. The Bruins are now stepping up to meet just not a major-conference team but also one of the best defenses in the country, so do not count on Belmont to reach its usual lofty heights offensively tonight.

And that is a big problem for a team that struggles defensively! As mentioned, Belmont faced a weak schedule while playing in the lightly regarded Ohio Valley, and that only makes its defensive numbers that much more disconcerting as the Bruins are ranked 182nd in the country in defensive efficiency and a dreadful 271st in effective field goal percentage allowed, mainly due to ranking 304th in two-point defense at a generous 52.2 percent.

Clemson is actually ranked 45th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings, again ahead of 53rd ranked NC State and considerably ahead of 91st ranked Belmont. The Tigers are all about defense as Clemson is ranked 15th in the country in defensive efficiency and fourth in effective field goal percentage allowed at a mere 43.5 percent. The Tigers lead the entire country in three-point defense at a tiny 27.9 percent and they are also 38th in two-point defense at 44.3 percent.

The biggest issue for Clemson is scoring, but the Tigers are not facing an ACC defense this time around, or even a Big Ten defense like Illinois that they ultimately managed to get by in the second round. This is obviously a huge drop in class for the Tigers as Illinois was the top seed in this region of the NIT.

Despite that class drop, do not expect Clemson to sleep on Belmont after seeing what the Bruins did at North Carolina, so look for the Tigers to get some nice revenge for the ACC with a handy victory at home in the NIT on Tuesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Clemson -7 (-111)

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