NCAA Basketball Picks: Add Oakland To Hang Tough With Valparaiso

Charles Stark

Friday, February 19, 2016 1:14 PM GMT

Oakland visits Valparaiso. Earlier in the season Valparaiso handled the Grizzlies by 17 at Oakland, so will this game be a repeat of that earlier season matchup, let's review the NCCAB odds.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Oakland +8.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

NCAA basketball odds makers have come out making Oakland a +8.5 underdog and the total around 152.5. This is an interesting number considering they got beat by double-digit at home against this same Valparaiso team. Rematches can be pretty tough in NCAA hoops so for my selection I will back the Grizzlies plus the points to hang in with a Crusaders.

 

Oakland Grizzlies
Oakland is averaging 87.2 points per game while shooting 45.7% from the field and allowing 79.3 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the field. On the season they are stellar 17-5-1 overall against the spread, and an incredible 12-1-1 on the road. This is a very good basketball team that loves to shoot the three and has traveled well all season. In league, they are undefeated on the road with a perfect 6-0 record, and although I don't expect that to continue tonight, and they should come into this game with some confidence. As usual, offensively they rank among the best scoring teams in the country ranking first in scoring offense, 10th in field goals made per game, and 15th hitting 39.6% from beyond the arc. They push tempo as much as anybody in the country, but tonight will be a difficult task against a very good Valparaiso defense. Speaking of defense, Oakland doesn't play a lot of it but their overall defensive statistics are not horrible. As mentioned, they like to push tempo and with that they allow a lot of tempo. However, even with all the shots they allow they rank in the middle of the country or better in opponent overall and two point shooting percentage, opponent shooting efficiency, and opponent effective  field-goal percentage. It is never easy to beat a team, especially a good one, twice in one season, and Oakland should give Valparaiso all they want tonight and hang within the number.

 

Valparaiso Crusaders
Valpo is averaging 73.6 points per game while shooting 43.8% from the field, and allowing 60.3 points per game on 37.9% shooting from the field. On the season they are 14-9-1 overall against the spread, and 6-4-1 at home. They lead the Horizon league with Oakland right on their tails, and for the most part have been playing solid basketball all season. The last time they faced Oakland they played one of their best games of the year shooting 49%, and 45% from beyond the arc, conversely Oakland had one of their worst shooting nights of the season. Offensively they are good, not great, and have decent statistics across the board ranking in the middle of the country in most categories highlighted by averaging 41.5 rebounds per game which ranks eighth in the country. Defense is what this team is all about and they're one of the best in the nation. Valparaiso ranks first, fifth, and seventh in the country in opponent two point shooting percentage, opponent shooting efficiency, and opponent field goals made per game respectively. Across the board they play great defense from the inside out and facing Oakland for the second time will be a challenge for them on this side of the floor.

There is a reason why odds makers have set this number less than double digits than what Valparaiso beat Oakland earlier in the season at Oakland. These two teams usually play tightly contested games and in the past two seasons they have split at 1-1 during the year, and in their one game three years ago Valparaiso won by two points. The game earlier this season seemed like an anomaly to me and I don't expect that same type of performance from either team tonight. For one of your NCAA basketball picks I recommend backing Oakland plus the points to keep this game a lot closer than people may anticipate.