NCAA Betting Picks - St. John's Red Storm vs Tulane Green Wave

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, December 2, 2016 8:12 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 8:12 PM UTC

Big East member, St. Johns, travels to New Orleans to take on the Tulane Green Wave of the AAC.  It is a non-conference affair and Joe Gavazzi has the NCAA Basketball pick for you. 

St. John’s (-4) at Tulane 8:00 ET

Unfortunately, neither has gotten untracked to begin the season. St. Johns enters at 2-5 SU with home wins against only lowly Beth-Cook and Binghamton. Since that victory on November 14th, five losses have ensued. Defeats to Minnesota, Michigan St., VCU and ODU were acceptable. But the 79-72 loss to Delaware St. on November 29th as 21 point home favorite is simply unacceptable. In dropping their last 4 pointspread decisions, St. Johns has failed to the number by 42 points.  

When St. John’s alum, Chris Mullen, returned to the Queens Campus last year, he was met with a daunting rebuilding task. The program was in a downward spiral with the leadership of Steve Lavin. The Red Men bolted to a 7-3 SU start, highlighted by a victory at MSG vs. Syracuse on December 13th. But, the bottom fell out. St. John’s finished the year 1-24 SU, defeating only lowly DePaul.  Eight of the next 17 losses were by 17 points or more. Mullen is hoping his young team matured through the hardship and that he laid the foundation for a program he wants to rebuild. In other words, what doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger!  The beginning of the season implies there is a long road ahead. There are no seniors on the roster and there are only 3 returning players (none of them with starting experience).  The games of December provide the best chances for St. John’s victories this season.  A rare road win tonight will do wonders for the confidence of the Red Men.

The Tulane Green Wave is another rebuilding program under a heralded HC. This time, it is Mike Dunleavy Sr., who takes over a program led by Ed Conroy.  In the last 2 seasons, the Green Wave combined for just 27 wins.The record in AAC competition last year is 3-15 SU. The experience of Dunleavy, as NBA player, coach, GM and broadcaster, is what stands out on the resume. That does not include any previous college coaching experience. Though Dunleavy is saying all the right things and brings instant credibility to the program, much like St. John’s, the Green Wave is at the beginning of a rebuild.  Tulane is ticketed for the lower echelon of the AAC. With a 1-6 SU record to begin the season, there is a win against non-lined SELA in their only home game.  A rugged slate against N. Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona St., Missouri and Georgia Tech, all resulted in losses of between 5 and 20 points.

Handicapping December College Hoops is a unique challenge. I draw an analogy to the CFB season, in which one can profit from a team’s early season momentum. But, once the teams create a pattern of success or failure, the linemaker adjusts giving the handicapper value of playing bounce backs or letdowns. On the basis of the performance of each team, there is a bit more bounce back potential for St. John’s.  

The other vital tool used in early December handicapping is my initial defensive ratings, pointing out Defensive Dandies, who allow 65 or fewer points, 40% or less from the field and 32% or less from the arc. The corollary is my Defensive Duds, who allow 75 or more points, 46% or higher from the field and 37% or higher from the arc.  Only Tulane, which allows 80/48/40 and features a negative rebound margin and negative A/TO ratio, qualifies in this regard.  It is clearly an issue for any offensive team when their HC is the best shooter in the gym.  With offensive numbers virtually identical for the 2 teams, along with a comparable strength of schedule, it is an easy leap for this bureau to fade Defensive Dud, Tulane, in tonight’s contest. I invite you to put the NCAA Basketball ODDS in your favor and join me in my NCAA Basketball PICK on St. John’s tonight.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: St. John's -4½Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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