NCAA Basketball Pick: Vermont +8½ over Santa Clara

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

This looks like a big spread for what seems like a fairly even matchup as Vermont has qualified for its ninth post-season in 11 years and Santa Clara has been off for nearly two weeks.

The favorite looks like an overlay on the first night of the CBI Tournament on Tuesday as the Vermont Catamounts (21-11, 9-6 away) pay a visit to the Santa Clara Broncos (21-11, 14-5 home) at the Leavey Event Center in Santa Clara, CA at 10:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Vermont as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -104.

Vermont is not a stranger to the post-season as this is the team’s ninth appearance in the last 11 years in one tournament or another. The Catamounts were in the Big Dance last season, even recording a win over the Lamar Cardinals in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament before losing in the second round to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Vermont seemed poised for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament as it reached the American East Conference Championship Game this past Saturday on its own home court in Burlington, but the Catamounts shot a disappointing 40.1 percent from the field and got upset by Albany, thus settling for this CBI berth.

Now a potential letdown would be more of a concern for a major conference school, but a solid team like Vermont from a small conference that does not get much national exposure like the American East probably relishes the chance to advance in any tournament, and the Catamounts did beat Harvard in a true road game this season, the same Harvard team that is making a return trip to the Big Dance.

Vermont is precisely the type of team that can give Santa Clara trouble, as it plays good defense allowing an effective field goal percentage of 46.3 percent, it is a good rebounding team ranking in the top 90 in both offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage, and it slows the pace down ranking 317th with a tempo rating of 61.7 possessions per game. The Catamounts will also not be intimidated after last year’s NCAA experience.

Santa Clara had a great bounce-back season after going 8-22 overall last year including going 0-16 in the West Coast Conference and losing its last 18 games overall. In fact the Broncos got off to a great start this year, going 11-3 in the early non-conference portion of the schedule while losing two of those games in overtime by a combined five points and throwing a scare into Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the other loss.

However the Broncos finished at just 9-7 inside a WCC that is very weak outside of Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, and they may need to shake off some rust as they have not played since losing the first game of the WCC tournament to a Loyola Marymount team ranked just 216th on the Pomeroy Ratings back on March 8th.

Santa Clara prefers to speed up the tempo, ranking 115th with a pace rating of 67.2 possessions, but it remains to be seen if it can do that successfully following a long layoff, especially vs. a slow-down team. We feel that make the Broncos an overlay giving this many points to a potentially underrated team, so take the points with Vermont in the CBI on Tuesday.

[gameodds]14/225045/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Vermont +8½ (-104)

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