The St. Mary’s Gaels saw their West Coast Conference tourney hopes fall short in Monday’s championship battle, logging a 65-51 defeat as 6 ½-point underdogs to Gonzaga. Randy Bennett’s troops look to regroup in Tuesday’s “First Four” matchup against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, who head to Dayton with a 6-3-1 spread record in their most recent 10 games.
Let SBR be your 2013 NCAA Tournament Betting headquarters.
Gaels, Holt downed in Vegas
St. Mary’s was held to 35.7 percent field shooting in Monday’s setback with Gonzaga, while logging a subpar 4-for-9 night at the foul line. Gaels guard Stephen Holt was his squad’s sole member to reach double figures, finishing with team-highs of 19 points and seven boards.
Holt added two of his side’s four steals, while mate Matthew Dellavedova logged seven assists in 40 minutes of action. St. Mary’s was outrebounded, 35-28, while center Matt Hodgson recorded the Gaels’ sole blocked shot.
The battle’s 116 points plunged beneath the ‘total’ of 136, moving the UNDER to 5-3 in St. Mary’s last eight contests. Gaels mates Jorden Page and Jordan Giusti were held scoreless in a combined 0-for-7 outing from the floor, while forward Beau Levesque drained 3-of-5 buckets beyond the arc.
Blue Raiders outdueled by FIU
Middle Tennessee State has been idle since March 10, when the team’s 17-game winning streak ended in a 61-57 loss to the Florida International Golden Panthers. The Sun Belt Conference tourney’s semifinal round saw the Blue Raiders upset as 13-point favorites, despite holding FIU to 33.3 percent field shooting.
Blue Raiders forward Shawn Jones notched a team-high 17 points, hitting 7-of-13 shots from the floor. Middle Tennessee State’s Marcos Knight logged his first double-double in eight games, finishing with 13 points and 11 boards.
The matchup’s combined 118 points dipped below the ‘total’ of 133 ½, ending a 2-0 run for the OVER from the Blue Raiders’ prior pair of games. Middle Tennessee State sank 12-of-21 free throws, while outrebounding the Golden Panthers, 38-32.
Back the Blue Raiders as short dogs
The NCAA Basketball odds makers at Bookmaker.eu opened St. Mary’s as a two-point favorite, with early betting on the Gaels driving the number north to three. The battle will send the winning side to Auburn Hills for Thursday’s matchup against the No. 6-seeded Memphis Tigers.
I am taking the points here, adding a ticket on Middle Tennessee State as part of Tuesday’s NCAA Basketball picks. The Blue Raiders led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring (71.2 PPG) and field shooting (46.3 percent), while holding foes to 61.1 PPG in their last 12 spots away from home.
St. Mary’s is a step up in class, but heads east on short notice after nearly a week of not knowing its fate. The Gaels have gone 1-3-1 ATS in their last five contests outside of Moraga, while logging a 2-3 spread record in its five matchups this year as a 4 ½-point favorite or less.
Last year’s “Big Dance” saw St. Mary’s drop its opener in Omaha as two-point ‘chalk’ to the Purdue Boilermakers, shooting 4-for-25 from three-point land in a 72-69 loss. So when placing your sports picks, look for the Gaels to fall short again here, with Middle Tennessee State getting the money for its backers.
Free NCAA Tournament Picks: Middle Tennessee