NCAA Basketball Pick: Tulane Green Wave vs. UAB Blazers

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, February 15, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

There could be some value in a matchup of two bottom-level Conference USA teams when the Tulane Green Wave pay a visit to the UAB Blazers on Saturday night.

The double-digit underdog appears to hold some value in Conference USA play Saturday night when those Tulane Green Wave (13-12, 3-5 away) pay a visit to the UAB Blazers (15-9, 12-2 home) at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, AL at 8:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has Tulane as a large road underdog for this contest with the current line at +11½ with odds of -110.

UAB may be 15-9 overall but the Blazers took advantage of a non-conference schedule that was rated 291st in SOS and they are just in 11th place in Conference USA with a 4-6 mark since the start of conference play. The Blazers are a terrible shooting team ranked 301st in the country in effective field goal percentage at 46.3 percent, and they rank a dismal 12th in that category during conference play.

Meanwhile, the 13-12 Green Wave are double-digit underdogs here despite actually being one game ahead of UAB in the conference standings, as Tulane is part of a four-team logjam tied for seventh at 5-5. Their defense is ranked fourth in Conference USA in effective field goal percentage against, which has us questioning if UAB will have the ability to score enough points here to merit such prohibitive favoritism.

Yes, the Blazers are averaging 74.5 points vs. Division I opponents this season, but they are doing that on just 42.2 percent shooting as many of their points have come on second chances. UAB is fourth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 40.5 percent, substantially above the national average of 31.6 percent, and the Blazers have also padded their scoring by playing at a fairly quick pace, ranking 70th in the country in tempo rating.

However, this game may not be played to the Blazers’ liking as Tulane is only 304th in tempo rating and UAB does not apply enough defensive pressure to force the Green Wave to quicken things up, as the Blazers rank a dismal 345th out of 351 Division I teams in defensive turnover percentage at a measly 14.1 percent compared to a national average of 18.5 percent.

Now Tulane is not offensively gifted either ranking 258th in offensive efficiency and dead last in Conference USA in that category, but two areas where the Green Wave can do some damage are from beyond the three-point arc and from the foul line, which are commendable traits for a double-digit dog.

You see, Tulane is a respectable fifth in the conference in three-point shooting and the Green Wave can take advantage of a suspect UAB perimeter defense that is 14th in the 16-team conference in three-point defense.

Furthermore, Tulane is third in the conference and an impressive 17th in the country in FTA/FGA percentage, and that volume of foul shots can offset the fact that the Green Wave shoot 70.1 percent from the line, which is still above the national average (69.8 percent).

Thus, while it may not be pretty, Tulane should be able to scrape together enough points to hang within single-digits in this contest on Saturday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Tulane +11½ (-110)

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