NCAA Basketball Picks: Mount St. Mary's vs. Robert Morris

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 12:09 PM GMT

The Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers have been known to play their best basketball late in the season under their young head coach, as they prepare to try and land a spot in the NCAA Tournament by upsetting the Robert Morris Colonials. What do the NCAA Basketball odds makers have to say?

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds for this NEC Championship Game matchup at the Sewall Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

That time of year 

Mount St. Mary’s has compiled an impressive 17-6 SU record in the months of February and March under second year head coach Jamion Christian, including a solid 8-5 mark when playing on the road. 

The Mountaineers are one of eight teams in the country with three active 1,000 point scorers, with senior guard Julian Norfleet leading that group with 1,581 points. He tallied 16 points and seven assists in a 77-72 semifinal win over Wagner last Saturday. 

Winning on the defensive end 

Robert Morris enters the 2014 NEC Tournament final in the midst of its best stretch defensively of the season, as it has held each of its last 10 opponents to 70 or fewer points—holding opponents to an average of 59.4 points in winning nine of those affairs. 

The Colonials have held foes to 39.7 percent shooting from the floor overall and 28.1 percent from beyond the arc over that span. 

College basketball handicappers will find that the program is 12-5 SU and 10-7 ATS in all tournament games versus lined competition since the start of the 2011-12 campaign. 

From way downtown 

The Mountaineers are dangerous road underdogs on the SBR Odds page, considering they rank 10th in the country in knocking down 8.9 three-pointers made per game, which has been made possible by attempting 779 shots from beyond the arc on the season.

Mount St. Mary’s has five players averaging more than one three-pointer made per game, but it’s important to point out that Robert Morris limits foes to 32.9 percent shooting from long distance. 

Key factors 

The Colonials seem to hold all the cards in this matchup, as they’ve won all five NEC finals when playing at home, while they’ve posted a +23 rebounding margin in winning both regular-season meetings against the Mountaineers. 

Robert Morris is 59-13 SU when winning the battle on the glass under fourth-year head coach Andrew Toole, including a 15-2 mark this season.

[gameodds]14/261249/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Mountaineers as one of their college basketball picks, as I was waiting to see if any line movement was to occur overnight in the market. 

I think it’s significant that the point spread has held steady at its opening number despite the fact that Robert Morris won both earlier meetings by eight points. 

Free NCAA Basketball Pick:  Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers +5