Two Mid-Major Tournament Battles For Your NCAA Basketball Picks

Mark Lathrop

Monday, March 7, 2016 5:06 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 7, 2016 5:06 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper spots significant totals value in two of the mid-major conference tournament games. Read on as he gives his insight and provides his free picks.

BYU vs. Gonzaga 
In this West Coast Conference tournament semifinal, we get the third meeting this year between the BYU Cougars (23-9, 13-5) and the Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-7, 15-3) in Las Vegas. This game has a late 8:30 PST start time and can be seen on ESPN2. The Bulldogs are favored by just 3 points in this game, and the O/U total has settled in at 150.

These two teams have met home-and-home already this year, with each game decided by 3-points or less. Those games both went under totals that were higher than this game. First there was a 69-68 game that BYU won in Spokane that went under the listed total of 162.5, then there was a 71-68 game that Gonzaga won at BYY that went under the listed total of 155.5. In each of those games the losing team shot less than 40% from the floor.

Those two straight unders have this game listed well below the average scoring output of each team. BYU averages 83.6 points per game and 80.6 points per game on the road. Gonzaga scores 79.3 points per game and 77.9 points per game on the road. This being on a neutral site, both teams are playing at an away court.

This game will likely have a different outcome because of the absence of junior 7-1 center, Ryan Edwards. Edwards was injured in Gonzaga’s last game against Portland, and is an important defensive force on the inside for the Bulldogs. Because senior center, Przemek Karnowski, was already lost earlier this season the Bulldogs don’t have much to fall back on for depth. In fact, 6-11 forward, Domantis Sabonis, was quoted after the game with Portland that he will “have to be careful with fouls” against BYU. Being careful about fouling doesn’t signal strong defense, and I’m sure the BYU folks heard Sabonis make the same quote.

Look for some mismatches down low for BYU to take advantage of in this game, as they try to draw fouls against the Bulldogs. That should lead to some untimed scoring at the charity stripe to put this game over 150, which makes the over one solid NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 150
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


Iona vs. Monmouth 
In this destined match between the two top teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Iona Gaels (21-10, 16-4) and Monmouth Hawks (27-6, 17-3) get together for the third time this season in the MAAC tournament championship game. The winner of this game gets a bid to the NCAA tournament, with Monmouth on the bubble for an at-large bid if they lose this game. Monmouth is favored by just one point in this one, while the O/U total has been steadily dropping and can currently be found at 154 on the NCAA basketball odds board.

Both of these team’s average nearly the same offensive output, with Iona averaging 79.6 points per game and Monmouth averaging 79.5 points per game. They exploded for 212 combined points in the first meeting, well above the 161 O/U listed. Then in the second game, Iona held Monmouth to just 30.7% shooting in an 83-67 win. That game went well under the listed total of 167.

The poor shooting performance in the second game for Monmouth was the first time that they had converted less than 50% from the field in the last four meetings, and as a reference, the field goal attempts in the second game were actually higher than the game that ended 110-102. These teams play at a high tempo when they get together and it will take an absolute putrid shooting night for one of the teams for them not to go over this total. An average night will get it done so take over 154 at 5Dimes as another Monday night NCAAB Pick. 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 154.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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