NCAA Basketball Picks: Stanford vs. Old Dominion in NIT Semifinals

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 2:17 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015 2:17 PM GMT

Our college basketball handicapper previews this NIT semi-final match between Stanford & Old Dominion. Stanford is currently the betting favorite, and this capper will let you know why.

Stanford (-2-) vs. Old Dominion 9:30 ET ESPN    
The Stanford Cardinal travel east for the first time this season to face ODU in this Semi-Final matchup in fabled Madison Square Garden.  Do not expect the Cardinal to be in awe.  This is a senior dominated team who won the NIT on this floor 3 years ago, played in the NIT 2 years ago and ascended to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season.  For ODU, this is their first trip to such a high-profile venue in the career of these players.  That provides a huge experience edge to the Cardinal, which is probably why they're listed as short favorites on the NCAA basketball odds board .

 

The ODU story is worth telling. Through the 2013 season, the Monarchs were led by veteran HC Blaine Taylor.  ODU was a perennial 20 win team who consistently challenged for the top rung in the Colonial Conference.  Two years ago, however, the bottom fell out of this program as a result of a blend of youth, injuries and a lack of cohesion. It ended in just 5 victories and the dismissal of Taylor.  Enter Jeff Jones, the former coach at both Virginia and American.  Jones, a former Virginia player, is best known for his defensive coaching prowess.  In 2 years at the helm, the Monarchs have responded to Jones. They made it to the CBI Semi-Finals last year and have now reached that same position in this Tourney. They have, however, been far from dominant in doing so and it has all been as a result of their play on their 20-0 SU home court.  The last 2 were nail-biters with a 1 point decision over Illinois St., followed by a running, one-hander from mid court at the buzzer by lead guard Freeman to beat Murray St.  They now must travel for only the 2nd time since February 28th.  In that lone game away from Norfolk, they lost in the opening round of CCT play to Mid-Tenn, which is the reason why they are in this event rather than the NCAA.

The NCAA Tournament will resume soon, so don't forget to stay up to date!

Stanford is coached by 7th year mentor Johnny Dawkins. As mentioned, this senior oriented team has been highly successful in post-season play.  There is little doubt that they plan on winning this event.  That would certainly add to the job security of Dawkins, who’s Cardinal limped home in the regular season on a 4-8 SU run.  Three home court victories in this event, however, have restored confidence and taken some of the heat away from Dawkins.  Stanford is led by the senior guard tandem of Brown and Randle.  Those two more than offset the perimeter depth of the Monarchs.  There is a huge advantage upfront for the Cardinal with senior 7 footer, Nastic, who should dominate the proceedings in the paint.  Must not ignore the record of Dawkins in this role as he is 57-37 ATS as road chalk and already coached his team to a victory at Texas this season!

 

Greater experience of the Cardinals, a far tougher strength of schedule and expectations of this senior oriented team gets Stanford the victory vs. an Old Dominion team who may have reached their Peter Principle. Back Stanford with your college basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Take Stanford -2.5 at 5Dimes


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