Take Maryland -9.5 With Your NCAA Tournament Picks vs. South Dakota State

Doug Upstone

Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:42 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 17, 2016 7:42 PM UTC

Our final stop in the South Region for the first round of the NCAA Tournament has us with a classic 5 vs. 12 matchup, which almost always has the same storyline with an unpredictable element involved.

Doug's Record: 2-0 sides and 1-1 totals

Rarely is a 5-seed on the rise, instead they almost always have fallen from a higher perch, which is the case for Maryland, who is 3-5 (4-4 ATS) since Feb. 13th. For 12 seeds, they typically are from smaller conferences and usually have built up confidence by winning their league tournament to earn automatic bid. Though it does not happen every year, despite our knowledge, we are always caught a bit off guard when a 12 takes down an 5 in the small school versus big university matchup.

At 4:30 Eastern on TBS, Maryland is a 9.5-point favorite with total of 143. Will the Terrapins avoid the dreaded defeat for NCAA Tournament picks?


The Betting Numbers
SU and ATS Records - 25-8, 15-15-2 ATS

Away Record - 9-7 and 8-6-2 ATS

Favorite Record - 24-3 and 13-13-1 ATS

3 or More Days Rest - 12-4 and 9-7 ATS

Off a SU Loss - 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS


South Dakota State
SU and ATS Record - 26-7, 16-13 ATS

Away Record - 14-7 and 8-10 ATS

Underdog Record - 3-2 and 3-2 ATS

3 or More Days Rest - 12-3 and 7-6 ATS

Off a SU Win - 18-7 SU and 12-12 ATS


The Game Scoop
When Maryland was sitting pretty at 22-3, the only real question was at the time were the Terps a one or two seed when the bids came out? That seems like a very long time ago now as Maryland lost their way. What happened? You can begin with former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon (11.1 PPG), who has always been a player who lead you to victory or defeat.

In the Where's Waldo vernacular, that is what every associated with the Maryland program is thinking a guard Melo Trimble (14.4 PPG, 5.1 APG). After playing like an All-American for two-thirds the season, this sophomore turtle went into a shell and has not reemerged. Whether it became a confidence issue or something with teammates, Trimble is not the leader on the floor with the ball like he has been most of the season and the only answers are pure speculation. Freshman big man freshman Diamond Stone (12.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG) looks pooped from a rugged Big Ten campaign.

If you take South Dakota's numbers at face value, you can make a case for them competing with Maryland. The Bison score 76.3 PPG compared to the Terps 76.1 and are slightly better on the boards at +5 to the Maryland +4 rebound differential.

South Dakota State has a large freshman of their own in 6-9 Mike Daum, who he leads the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game. The Bison have a couple of smallish (6-1) senior guards in George Marshall (14.9 ppg, 2.7 apg) and Deondre Parks (14.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg). There is nothing small about their contributions and both are gritty performers, something Maryland is certainly not thought of as for the NCAA Tournament.

Sagarin Spread - Maryland -8.85


Spread Winner and Totals Lean
Trying to determine how hard coach Mark Turgeon's team might play is a crapshoot, but impossible to overlook the size different, with the 6-11 Diamond and 6-9 pair of Jake Leyman and Robert Carter. If South Dakota's Mike Daum has to miss much time with foul trouble, the Terrapins would not only dominate the boards, but likely score at will in the paint.

While not sold on Maryland's long term projections for this event, they are 17-4 ATS in a neutral court game where the total is 140 to 144.5 and I will forecast double digit triumph and choose the OVER for totals play against the NCAA Tournament odds.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Maryland -9.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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