NCAA Basketball Pick: UAB Blazers vs. Florida International Panthers

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, February 6, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Two lower tier Conference USA foes tied at 3-4 in the conference square off when the UAB Blazers pay a visit to the Florida International Golden Panthers Thursday.

The home underdog could easily bark in Conference USA action Thursday night when the UAB Blazers (14-7, 2-3 away) pay a visit to the Florida International Golden Panthers (11-11, 7-3 home) at US Century Bank Arena in Miami, FL at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has Florida International as a small home underdog for this contest with the current line at +2 with odds of -110.

UAB has the better record of these two teams overall at 14-7 compared to 11-11 for FIU, but the teams are tied for eighth in the Conference USA standings at 3-4. UAB is having a similar season to last year when it had a winning record vs. a weak non-conference schedule only to go just 7-9 inside Conference USA. This year the Blazers went 11-3 out of conference but that was vs. a non-conference schedule ranked 281st in the country in SOS.

Florida International has actually exceeded expectations being at .500 this last in the season in its first year in the conference after coming over from the Sun Belt Conference. FIU has remained in the conference hunt by protecting its home court well, going a nice 7-3 in Miami.

FIU even has a win over a team currently ranked in the Pomeroy Top 100 when it beat 77th ranked Georgia State here at home out of conference, and it comes in having won two straight conference home games over defending CIT Champion East Carolina and vs. another former Sun Belt team in Florida Atlantic.

The Panthers have played much better defense at home than on the road, limiting their opponents to 40.5 percent shooting in this building, and that has a good chance of continuing tonight as UAB is only shooting 40.0 percent on the road. In fact, the Blazers are a poor shooting team regardless of the venue, which is yet another reason why FIU offers vale as a home underdog.

UAB is ranked a dreadful 310th in the country in effective field goal percentage at 45.8 percent, as the Blazers are hitting on only 30.6 percent of their three-point shots and on just 45.8 percent of their two-pointers. The Blazers are also loose with the basketball turning it over 19.4 percent of the time vs. a national average of 18.5 percent. Just about the only thing the Blazers are good at offensively is creating second chances, ranking fourth in the nation in offensive rebounding.

The Blazers have also struggled in the road in recent years, and the have played just five true road games so far this season going 2-3 straight up. UAB is now 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games stretching back to the tail end of last season.

Finally, neither of these teams shoot free throws well but at least FIU is better at drawing fouls to get to the line more often with a 44.4 percent FTA/FGA percentage, compared to just 41.0 percent for UAB.

Add this all up and FIU should win this game outright on Thursday.

[gameodds]14/256914/?r-1=43-238-92-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida International +2 (-110)