Trio Of Tuesday NCAA Basketball Conference Tournament Total Picks

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 1:48 PM GMT

As the conference tournaments continue, our handicapper finds a trio of mismatches that lead to O/U wagering value and makes his NCAA basketball picks.

Pennsylvania vs. Princeton 
The Princeton Tigers (21-6, 11-2) have lost their bid for the NCAA tournament to Yale, and now have to host the Pennsylvania Quakers (11-16, 5-8) as their season ends with a whimper. These teams met in early January at Penn, with the Quakers able to push Princeton to overtime but eventually succumb to the Tigers 73-71. Regardless of the outcome of that game, Princeton has been instilled as a heavy favorite here at 16-points at Pinnacle. The O/U total has opened at 147 at BookMaker.

Even though Princeton is likely done after this game it will still be senior night so expect a decent effort from Princeton at home. They had a bad shooting night against Penn the first time around, hitting 38.3% from the floor on only 60 attempts including overtime. Some regression to the mean is due for Princeton, who averages 84.7 points per game at home.

Pennsylvania has struggled all year on offense on the road though, so even if Princeton gets halfway back to average it may not be enough to take this game over the listed total. Penn averages 64.3 points per game on the road this season on 39.8% shooting from the floor. On senior night in Princeton I expect they will struggle even more on offense. These teams were 66-66 at the end of regulation in their matchup before, and I don’t think Penn will score as much in this game, which makes under 147 the value Tuesday NCAAB Pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 145
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Northern Colorado vs. Portland State 
In the first round of the Big Sky Conference tournament, we have an 8th and 9th seed matchup between unlikely NCAA tournament bid winners in the Northern Colorado Bears (10-20, 7-11) and the Portland State Vikings (12-17, 8-10). These teams met earlier this year in a high scoring game that Portland State won on the road, 89-86 as a 1-point road favorite. That score took the game over the consensus total of 160. For this game, the Vikings are 3.5-point favorites at 5Dimes, while the O/U total has opened up at 164 on the NCAA basketball odds.

These teams both converted field goal attempts at nearly 10% higher than their season average in the first matchup, with Portland State shooting 57.1% from the floor and Northern Colorado shooting 54.5%. Both teams also shot way better than their average from 3-point range as well. Northern Colorado hit 55.6% of their shots from outside the arc, way better than their 37.6% season average. Portland State also shot 43.7% from deep, another big improvement from their 32.7% season average.

With this game having a weird 12:05 PST start time and being on a neutral court, I like our chances here of seeing an offensive performance below season averages. The first game’s total has inflated the line here as well, which gives extra value to under 164 here as another Tuesday NCAAB Pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 163
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Northern Arizona vs. Eastern Washington 
In another first round matchup in the Big Sky Conference tournament, we have the 6th seeded Eastern Washington Eagles (16-14, 11-7) taking on the last place and 11th seeded Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (5-24, 3-15). My alma mater will be glad to see the Lumberjacks again after coming into this game losers of four straight. The Eagles took both games in the season series thus far SU and ATS, and have averaged 90 points in those two games. The Eagles are favored by 12.5-points in this game, while the O/U total has opened up at 159.5 at BookMaker.

With Northern Arizona short-handed due to a string of injuries this year, look for Eastern to jump on the Lumberjacks early in this game. The Lumberjacks allow an average of 84.8 points per game on 51.1% shooting, and also allow an average of 61 attempts per game which suggests they are fine playing at a higher tempo. Eastern made 3-point shots in the double digits in both meetings, so expect them to let it fly from outside the arc in this game as well. The bad rebounding matchup for Northern Arizona should lead to easy second chance scoring for the Eagles, so take over 159.5 at BookMaker as one of your NCAA basketball picks

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 158.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline