NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 26, 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 Wednesday.

The most notable snub from the NCAA Tournament may not have an easy time in the NIT Wednesday night when the California Golden Bears (21-13, 5-6 away) out of the Pac-12 pay a visit to those SMU Mustangs (25-9, 15-1 home) at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, TX at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Bet365 has California as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +8 with odds of -105.

The Mustangs were rather easily the most notable snubs by the Big Dance as they were actually ranked 25th on the AP Poll as of Selection Sunday and they remain ranked 29th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings today after finishing third in the AAC this season, ahead of NCAA Tournament participants Connecticut and Memphis, with the former still in action in the Sweet 16!

Still, SMU should have its hands full with the Golden Bears tonight, as without the same controversy that surrounded the Mustangs, California did also finish ahead of two NCAA Tournament teams in the Pac-12 in Stanford and Oregon, and again the former is still in action this week and actually favored to advance to the Elite Eight.

Remember also that it was the Golden Bears that handed the top seeds in the NCAA West Region the Arizona Wildcats their first loss when Arizona was ranked number one in the country at 21-0 on February 1st, so California obviously has good talent.

The reason there was not much of an uproar over the Bears not making the Big Dance was their bad finish that saw them lose three of their last four regular season games and then get knocked out of the Pac-12 Tournament by Colorado after receiving a bye to the quarterfinal round with their fourth seeding.

While California rightfully had no beef with not going Dancing, the Golden Bears have looked good while winning their two NIT games by double-digits. Granted they beat little Utah Valley in the first round, but the 75-64 win over Arkansas out of the SEC Monday was more impressive, especially with leading rebounder Richard Solomon still being out with a concussion.

There is some talk that Solomon could be back tonight, but even if that is not the case the Golden Bears still have three other players averaging double figures in points and a fourth, Jabari Bird, has come on strong in this NIT with back-to-back double-digit scoring games including actually leading the way with 19 points in the win over the Razorbacks, the most points he has scored in a game since November.

The main reason that the NCAA selection committee gave for omitting SMU was its schedule, and indeed the Mustangs did face an SOS ranked only 104th by Pomeroy. The main reason for that is because the Mustangs faces a weak non-conference SOS ranked just 297th, unlike Connecticut and Memphis below them in the AAC that faced strong schedules out of conference and were thus rewarded by the committee with at-large invites.

The significance of that is that is that California just may be the best non-conference opponent that SMU has hosted at home all season, as to this point the best team they have faced at home was Louisville in conference, and that resulted on the Mustangs only home loss this season (15-1)!

So will California follow in the footsteps of Louisville? Well, that is debatable but regardless, we do like the Golden Bears to fight SMU right down to the wire here, making the rather inflated points worth taking in the NIT Wednesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: California +8 (-105)

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