NCAA Tournament Picks: SF Austin vs. Utah

Ross Benjamin

Monday, March 16, 2015 6:29 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 16, 2015 6:29 PM GMT

Join this sports handicapper in examining the NCAA Tournament 2nd round game on Thursday between Stephen F. Austin and Utah. Read this article in order to give yourself the ultimate betting edge.

Intriguing NCAA Tournament Clash in Portland
The #12 seed Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks will face #5 seed Utah on Thursday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This will be a South Regional game played in Portland, Oregon with an opening tip time of 7:27 PM ET. According to the NCAA Tournament odds, Utah is a 6.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 131.5.

 

Lumberjacks back for an Encore
This will be the second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. In their second round game a season ago they were able to spring a 77-75 upset of VCU. They then were eliminated in the next round during a 77-60 loss at the hands of UCLA. The Lumberjacks enter this season’s “Big Dance” having gone a combined 61-7 the last two seasons. They began the 2014-2015 campaign by going 1-3. However, the losses came at the hands of #10 ranked Northern Iowa by a narrow 2-point margin, at #16 Baylor, and on the road versus Xavier who just lost in the Big East Conference title game to #4 Villanova. Since the uneven start, the Lumberjacks have gone a sparkling 28-1 in their last twenty-nine games. They won both the Southland Conference regular season and postseason tournament championships.

 

Utes Shaky of Late
After getting off to a terrific 20-4 start to the season, the Utah Utes have gone 4-4 in their last eight games. The Utes finished tied for second in the PAC-12 regular season standings, and lost in the conference tournament semifinals 67-64 to the Oregon Ducks. The Utes have posted very good defensive numbers this season, allowing a paltry 56.9 points per game, and holding opponents to just 38.3% shooting from the field. However, those numbers have taken a bit of a hit in recent outings. During the past five contests, Utah allowed an average of 64.4 points per game, and opponents shot 41.9% from the field. Although those defensive statistics during that time are far from awful, it’s still concerning considering the escalation of opponents offensive production.

 

Final Analysis
These are two premier three-point shooting teams. Stephen F. Austin is converting on a stellar 38.6% of their attempts, and Utah is even a tad better at 40.4%. The Lumberjacks are also averaging a robust 79.5 points per game, and are shooting an impressive 49.1% from the field. Utah comes in averaging 72.1 points per contest, and has made 48.5% of their field goal attempts this season. My personal numbers had this total at 138.0, and that’s a rare sizable difference compared to the actual number posted by the major sportsbooks. I like this game to play on the high side of the totals ledger for one of my NCAA Tournament picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Play on Stephen F. Austin and Utah to go over the total of 131.5 at Pinnacle

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