Tournament Picks: A Lean Goes To Florida Gulf Coast -5.5 Over Farleigh Dickinson

Ross Benjamin

Monday, March 14, 2016 5:34 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 14, 2016 5:34 PM UTC

Our college basketball handicapping expert provides us with a betting preview article on Tuesday’s NCAA Tournament clash between Farleigh Dickinson and Florida Gulf Coast.

Farleigh Dickinson (18-14) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (20-13) 6:40 PM ET
These two teams hold the distinction of being two of the four lowest seeded teams in this 2016 NCAA Tournament. As a result, they’ll square off in a “First Four” matchup to be played on Tuesday at the Dayton University Arena, and the opening tip is slated for 6:40 PM ET. The current (Monday/12:50 PM ET) NCAA Tournament odds indicate that Florida Gulf Coast is a 6.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 152.5. This will be the first ever meeting between these two schools. It will also be the first NCAA Tourney appearance for Farleigh Dickinson since 2005. Florida Gulf Coast last went dancing in 2013 when they made an improbable run to the “Sweet 16”’. FGCU upset Georgetown and San Diego State in each of the first two rounds during that memorable run.

The winner of this game will be awarded the East Region’s #16 seed. They’ll then have the unenviable task of having to face top seeded North Carolina in Raleigh on Thursday. Considering that Raleigh is just a mere 28 miles from the Tar Heels campus, I’m not going out on a limb by saying that it will have a feel of a North Carolina home game. Tuesday will be both teams only realistic chance to win a game in this year’s tournament.


Small Sample Size of ATS Results
This will be just the fourth game this season where there’s been a line posted on a Farleigh Dickinson game. The other three came in their recently completed run to winning the Northeast Conference Tournament. They went 2-1 ATS in those contests, and went over the total on two occasions.

Florida Gulf Coast will be playing in a lined game for only the eighth time this season. They were 3-3-1 against the NCAA basketball odds during its previous seven, and went under the total in four of those contests.


Tale of the Tape
After going through a 1-4 five game stretch, Farleigh Dickinson has won its last five contests. They were able to knock off the #1 seed in their conference tournament on the road, defeating Wagner, and that earned them a trip to “The Big Dance” for the first time in eleven years. FDU doesn’t have any signature wins during the non-conference part of its schedule. The most noteworthy of their victories came during a 69-68 home win over Towson State from the Colonial Athletic Conference. They also sustained losses to 2016 NCAA Tournament participants Villanova by 37 and Temple by 9.

Florida Gulf Coast upset #1 seed North Florida in their conference tournament semifinals, and did so by a convincing 33 point margin. They went on to defeat Stetson 80-78 in overtime, and earn a trip to the NCAA Tourney party. They’ll enter Tuesday’s game on a modest three game win streak, and is 7-2 over its previous nine outings. Two of their non-conference wins this season came over Massachusetts and LaSalle who both play in the Atlantic 10 Conference.


Final Take 
Florida Gulf Coast will hold a sizable rebounding advantage in this contest. I also like the quality of completion that FGCU faced during the non-conference portion of their schedule. They clearly were more competitive when stepping up in class than what FDU proved to be. FGCU is a very good shooting team as well. They’ve shot 50% or better in seven of their last ten, and eleven of its previous eighteen games. I’m going to have a wagering lean on the favorite in this contest for one of my NCAA Tournament picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida Gulf Coast -5.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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