Stanford is the NCAA Basketball Pick out West Hosting DePaul

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:06 PM GMT

In an interesting cross-sectional battle, the home standing Stanford Cardinal appear to have a decided advantage out west hosting the DePaul Blue Demons after a flight from Chicago.

 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Stanford -8.5 (-102)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

The home favorite looks to have a nice advantage out west in a cross-sectional NCAA Basketball matchup Tuesday night when the DePaul Blue Demons (5-4, 3-5 ATS) out of the Big East make the long trip to pay a visit to those Stanford Cardinal (4-3, 3-3 ATS) of the Pac-12 at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, CA at 10:00 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.

The point spread at Pinnacle has Stanford as a sizable home favorite for this contest with the current NCAA Basketball odds at -8.5 (-102).

 

Two Straight Wins After Three Straight Losses
Neither of these teams is expected to compete for its respective conference championship this season, but at least both teams enter this contest with winning records with each one game over .500. It has been a streaky season for Stanford as the Cardinal opened up with two wins before losing three straight, albeit vs. excellent competition in SMU, Saint Mary’s and Villanova, and have since won two straight beating Arkansas and Dartmouth.

DePaul was riding a four-game winning streak before being the upset losing NCAA Basketball pick at home 66-44 to Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday. The Blue Demons shot a woeful 38.6 percent in their own building with those 44 points easily being a season low. It is also worth noting that the highest ranked team currently on the Pomeroy Ratings that DePaul has beaten was 155th ranked Western Michigan on opening day, so its 5-4 mark may be deceptive.

 

Free-Throws Will Be Key
Stanford at least owns one Pomeroy 100 win over Arkansas, and that came on a neutral floor in Brooklyn. The Cardinal are 3-1 here at Maples Pavilion so far with the loss coming to 20th ranked SMU, and they may have finally found the go-to scorer that they were seeking in senior forward Rosco Allen, who has averaged 21 points over the last two wins. Still, the ultimate key to this contest could very well be free throws.

No, that is not because either team shoots a very high rate from the charity stripe, but rather because no team in the country has done a better job of getting to the foul line than Stanford. You see, the Cardinal have been very aggressive in driving to the basket, especially with Allen taking on an expanded offensive role in recent games, and as a result they are drawing lots of foul and lead the country in FTA/FGA ratio at 56.2 percent!

In other words, Stanford has more than half as many free throw attempts than field goal attempts, and to give you an idea of how outrageous that 56.2 percent figure is, the national average for FTA/FGA ratio is 36.5 percent! Thus that heavy volume from the line makes up for the lackluster 63.3 percent free throw percentage. And expect another large free throw discrepancy here vs. a DePaul team that fouls a lot, ranking 270th in FTA/FGA allowed at 42.3 percent.

 

Long Trip After Playing Saturday
So did DePaul get caught looking ahead when it lost to Arkansas-Little Rock? Well, maybe or maybe not, but regardless this is a treacherous scheduling spot with that loss coming on Saturday and now having to play just three days later on the West Coast following the long flight from Chicago. And the fact that the four DePaul losses this season have come to the four highest ranked Pomeroy teams it has faced is not a good sign here either.

Besides the terrible shooting on Saturday, the Blue Demons also committed 20 turnovers and unfortunately that was not really much of an anomaly, as DePaul is ranked 257th in the nation in offensive turnover percentage at 20.2 percent vs. a national average of 18.7 percent.

Granted DePaul may boast the biggest offensive threat for either team in Billy Garnett, but the preseason second-team all Big East selection that averaged 17.5 points during the four-game winning streak cannot do it alone, and even Garnett was held to just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in the loss to Little Rock that ended the win streak.

 

Cardinal Seeking Revenge
Finally, do not forget that last season it was Stanford that made the long trip to Chicago and the Cardinal were upset by the Blue Demons handily 87-72 as 7½-point road favorites, with DePaul uncharacteristically shooting 54.4 percent in that contest.

Do not expect a repeat performance here by DePaul now that the Blue Demons are the team that made the long trip, so look for Stanford to gets its revenge handily by double-digits in Palo Alto on Tuesday.