NCAA Tournament Picks: UAB vs. Iowa State | Valuable Totals on Offer

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 5:08 PM GMT

Iowa State will look to carry over the momentum from their exciting championship run during the Big 12 Tournament, when they meet upstart UAB on Thursday. We have the entire breakdown on this matchup including a selection on the total.

NCAA Tournament South Region 2nd Round: UAB vs. Iowa State
The #3 seed Iowa State Cyclones (25-8) will meet the #14 UAB Blazers (19-15) in the second round of the South Regional. The game will take place on Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky with the opening tip slated for 12:40 PM ET. According to the NCAA Tournament odds at Heritage, Iowa State is a 13.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 145.5.

 

Playing with House Money
I expect UAB to be a loose bunch in this second round matchup versus the prohibitive favorite Iowa State Cyclones. After all, this is a Blazers team that entered the Conference USA Tournament with a less than impressive 16-15 record. Much to their credit, they proceeded to win three games in as many days over Western Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, and Middle Tennessee State to capture the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Nonconference Slate raises Red Flags
The UAB Blazers were able to go 12-6 in the Conference USA regular season slate. However, they went just 4-9 versus nonconference opponents, and one of those four wins came versus a team (Young Harris) that doesn’t compete at the Division 1 level. The Blazers lost by 29 versus Wisconsin on a neutral floor, were routed by 31 at North Carolina, and by 12 at UCLA. They also suffered home defeats versus South Florida, Illinois State, and UL-Monroe. Those results hardly bode well in terms of their chances versus the champion (Iowa State) of the strongest conference (BIG 12) in the nation.

 

Dynamic Offensive Team
The Iowa State Cyclones enters the NCAA Tournament averaging a robust 78.4 points per game and have shot a terrific 48.0% from the field this season. They won the Big 12 Conference Tournament with three wins coming in dramatic fashion. They overcame a 15-point deficit to beat Texas by 2, defeated Oklahoma by 2, and came back from a 17-point second half hole to knock off Kansas 70-66 in the title game. It marked the second consecutive conference tournament championship for the Cyclones.

 

Final Analysis
I’m not crazy about wagering on a double-digit favorite in the NCAA Tournament, and especially in light of the fact that better than 90% of public money has sided with Iowa State thus far. I’m also not convinced that UAB will be able to hang with a quality opponent from a major conference based on what I alluded to earlier. I do believe this contest will top the 150-point barrier, and that’s where my lean will be for one of my NCAA Tournament picks

Free NCAA Tournament Pick: UAB and Iowa State to go over the total of 145 at 5Dimes.