NCAA Basketball Pick: Tournament Play of the Day Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 2, 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 CBI Championship Series could potentially end Wednesday night, but do not be surprised if the series gets extended to the maximum of three games when the Fresno State Bulldogs (20-17, 6-10 away) pay a visit to the Siena Saints (19-17, 13-4 home) at the Alumni Recreation Center in Loudonville, NY at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Fresno State as a tiny road underdog for this contest with the current line at +1 with odds of -106.

Unlike other NCAA Basketball post-season tournaments that have a single elimination format from start to finish, the CBI is single elimination until the 2-out-of-3 championship series, and Siena is in line to be crowned the CBI champion after going on the road and knocking off Fresno State 51-57 Monday. If the Bulldogs return that favor on the road in Game 2 tonight, which we feel is likely, Game 3 would be back here in Loudonville Saturday at 11:30am ET.

The Bulldogs blew a 12-point second half lead at home as 8½-point home favorites in Game 1, a “feat” made more unbelievable by the fact that the Saints are an offensively challenged team this is not really built to come from behind. However, it was Fresno State that did Siena the favor of scoring a total of 10 points in the last 10 minutes of that series opener.

Thus, Siena somehow came back and emerged victorious despite shooting just 33.3 percent (21-for-63) for the game compared to a seemingly nice 47.8 percent for Fresno State. The difference in that game was that Siena won the rebounding and turnover battles, and while the former was to be expected, the latter was an anomaly based on the play of these teams during the season.

You see, the Saints are 10th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 38.6 percent, smashing the national average of 31.4 percent, so the fact that they out-rebounded the Bulldogs on the offensive glass was not at all surprising, although final 15-4 margin in that department could be considered a bit extreme, so perhaps Fresno State can close that gap tonight.

The big surprise though was that Siena committed only eight turnover in Game 1 compared to 16 turnovers for Fresno. You see, part of the reason that the Saints are 253rd in the country in offensive efficiency is because they are 300th in offensive turnover percentage at 20.3 percent vs. a national average of 18.3 percent, and they finished second to last inside the MAAC in that statistic during conference play.

Meanwhile the Bulldogs are normally excellent at ball protection ranking an outstanding 11th in the nation in offensive turnover percentage at just 14.7 percent, and they led the Mountain West Conference in that category during league play. And yet it seems Siena played possibly its cleanest game all year while Fresno State simultaneously played its sloppiest on Monday. What made those results more surprising is that Siena is just 148th in defensive turnover percentage.

We look for more “normal” performances from both offenses tonight, which would obviously favor Fresno State, and we feel we are getting the added benefit of good line value with around a 10-point line swing from Game 1, as we do not think that the Siena home court advantage is worth five points.

Add this all up and look for Fresno State to force a Game 3 by returning the favor to Siena with a road win of its own in Game 2 of the CBI Championship on Wednesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Fresno State +1 (-106)

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