NCAA Basketball Picks: Liberty vs. North Carolina A&T

Joe Freda

Monday, March 18, 2013 1:10 PM GMT

Which of these hot No. 16 seeds looks best to back in Dayton as “The Big Dance” gets underway? Should bettors add the North Carolina A&T Aggies or the Liberty Flames to their sports picks in this matchup?


The North Carolina A&T Aggies and Liberty Flames both ran the table in their conference tourneys, earning the right to square off in Tuesday’s “First Four” matchup. From a NCAA Basketball betting point of vew, both squads head into the matchup with a 5-0 spread record in their last 10 ‘board’ battles combined, while the OVER collected at a 6-4 mark.

Let SBR be your 2013 NCAA Tournament Betting headquarters.

Aggies edge out Morgan State

North Carolina A&T captured the MEAC title with Saturday’s 57-54 victory over the Morgan State Bears, cashing as a four-point underdog. The Aggies held Morgan State to 34.4 percent field shooting, while both sides united to sparsely hit 16-of-37 free throws.

Aggies forward Adrian Powell led his squad’s scoring with 14 points, while mate Austin Witter logged team-highs of nine boards and five blocks. Powell added three steals, drilling 2-of-5 buckets from three-point land as part of a 5-for-12 day on the floor.

The contest’s combined 111 points ducked below the ‘total’ of 122, with North Carolina A&T outrebounded, 38-31. Aggies senior DaMetrius Upchurch came away with nine points and seven boards, playing 12 minutes off the bench.

Flames surge past Charleston Southern

Liberty has been out of action since March 10, defeating the Charleston Southern Buccaneers for the Big South championship. The Flames notched an 87-76 win as 7 ½-point underdogs, connecting beyond the arc at a 9-for-18 clip.

Flames mates John Caleb Sanders and Davon Marshall united for 47 points, knocking down a combined 13-of-22 shots from the floor. Liberty’s Tavares Speaks logged a team-high nine boards, while adding four of his squad’s 11 assists.

The duel’s 163 points soared above the ‘total’ of 139, with Sanders and Co. sinking 24-of-30 free throws. Liberty edged out the Buccaneers in rebounds, 38-29, while holding Charleston Southern to 41.7 percent field shooting.

[gameodds]14/224939/43/us[/gameodds]

Back the Aggies as short faves

The NCAA Basketball odds makers at 5Dimes.eu opened North Carolina A&T as a two-point favorite, with early wagers on Liberty dropping the number a ‘hook’ to 1 ½. The winning squad advances to Thursday’s meeting with the Louisville Cardinals as part of the NCAA’s Midwest bracket.

I am adding North Carolina A&T to the night’s sports picks, sensing the oddsmakers have listed too low of a premium here.

Aggies senior Austin Witter has led the MEAC in blocks (3 BPG), while being one of its top six rebounders (7.1 RPG). Adrian Powell has reached double figures in the team’s last four games, including a 23-point outing in Friday’s 84-78 win over Delaware State.

Liberty has given up a sizable 71.8 PPG in spots away from home, while its week of being idle hurts the team’s chances to keep its surging momentum going. The Flames spent most of their subpar season dropping contests, including losses in 10 of their first 11 games.

North Carolina A&T has been undervalued with a 4-1 ATS mark in its last five matchups against squads with losing records, while

Liberty has a 2-7 spread record in its last nine neutral-site affairs. The Aggies have held foes to 53.5 PPG in their last nine contests, with another spot looming here to show stinginess en route to a cashed ticket.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  North Carolina A&T Aggies -1 ½ (5Dimes.eu)