Pilots to Crash and Burn vs. San Diego 3-Point Defense

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Mark Lathrop

Thursday, January 4, 2018 1:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 1:21 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, spots a West Coast Conference matchup with a statistical disparity that we can take advantage of. Read on as he breaks down San Diego vs. Portland and makes his NCAAB pick.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 23-11 (+11.25 Units)

San Diego Toreros at Portland PilotsFree NCAAB Pick: USD -7.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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It’s a family affair for the Portland Pilots right now, as former NBA player and second-year head coach Terry Porter has sons Franklin and Malcolm playing for him. They play a lot, too, with both 6’ 4” guards touching the ball on more than 20% of the team’s possessions. While Coach Porter has put together a nice recruiting class for next year, he still has to play out the string with one of the youngest rotations in the country until reinforcements arrive. Portland currently starts 2 freshmen and 2 redshirt sophomores in the last versions of their depth chart and has 8 freshmen on the roster overall.

Portland comes into this game against San Diego at 6-9 SU and 4-6 ATS. The Pilots lost their first two conference games by more 20 points with both of those being easy ATS losers. San Diego is the surprising team in this matchup, coming in 11-3 SU and 4-1 SU on the road this season. With that record, they are favored on the road in this spot by 7.5 points basically across the board, with the O/U total sitting at 134 at books such as BookMaker.

There is a significant strength on strength component to this game, as the Pilots shoot 40.2% from 3-point range, while the Toreros limit their opponents to just 24.5% from beyond the arc. That defensive mark for San Diego is No. 1 in the country. Unfortunately for the Pilots, they don’t have another strength to fall back upon as they rank 319th in the NCAA for 2-point percentage and 331st in free-throw percentage. San Diego defends in the paint to a 42.7 field-goal percentage, good for 14th in the country. With nearly 41% of Portland’s points coming from the three, I don’t know where they will make up the offense in this game.

When looking at Portland’s last two conference games against BYU and San Francisco, both 20-point plus losses, one common thread prevails in that those teams were good at defending beyond the arc. In the PK80 Tournament, the Pilots went up against some stiff competition and went 2-1 ATS – and all three of those teams do not defend the 3 very well.

Looking through the Toreros' record, I am finding that they have beaten whom they should have compared to their power ranking throughout the year. Any team ranked below 300th they have beaten by 8 points or more so far on the season. The Pilots are ranked 308th in overall efficiency thus far. With Portland playing directly into San Diego’s strength on defense I don’t see this changing here, and I will lay the 7.5 points with the Toreros as one of my Thursday NCAAB picks.

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