Undervalued Mississippi is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, December 7, 2014 2:46 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Sunday.

 

There could be an inflated line Sunday due to an anomalously bad effort by the underdogs last time out when those Mississippi Rebels (5-2, 1-0 away) pay a visit to the Oregon Ducks (5-0, 5-0 home) at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, OR at 4:00 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.

The point spread at Bet365 has Mississippi as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7½ with odds of -110.


Ugly Home Loss to TCU
This line may be skewed due to Mississippi coming off of a nationally televised 66-54 home loss to TCU where the Rebels shot an abysmal 17-for-57, 29.8 percent from the field. However, the Rebels may have taken the Horned Frogs a bit lightly with this more marquee game on the west coast coming up next, and that proved fatal vs. a TCU team that looks much improved and remains undefeated at 8-0 while playing great defense in the early going.

Oregon meanwhile had been the winning NCAA Basketball Pick by impressive margins here at home the last two games, but Mississippi of the SEC represents a big jump in class after beating Portland State 81-59 and then Concordia out of Division II by a 94-63 count. The Ducks shot 52.5 percent in that game (42-for-80), but that probably does not mean much given the competition and they are still shooting just 45.9 percent this season vs. Division I competition.


Rebels Still Good Defensively
The hiccup vs. TCU aside, Mississippi has been fine defensively while allowing only 61.4 points per game as the Rebels are 11th in the country in field goal percentage allowed overall at 34.9 percent, 23rd in effective field goal percentage allowed at 41.3 percent and 16th in two-point defense at 38.8 percent while also allowing just a 29.8 percentage from beyond the three-point arc. That probably makes Mississippi the second best defense Oregon will have faced this young season to this point after VCU, against whom the Ducks struggled in a 77-63 loss in Brooklyn.

The Rebels are also seeking revenge here after Oregon went into Oxford last season and won an overtime shootout 115-105 as the Ducks shot an incredible 58.8 percent from the field overall including going an unconscious 11-for-18, 61.1 percent from three-point land! Do not expect Oregon to duplicate that offensive display here even now playing at home in Oregon, at least not the way the Rebels are playing defense this season.


Unbeaten at Home vs. Lesser
Granted Oregon is 5-0 here in Eugene, but besides the win over Concordia out of the NAIA, none of the four Division I home wins have come to a team ranked higher than 104th on the current Pomeroy Rankings. Meanwhile the two losses for the Ducks have come to the two best teams they have faced in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, and the first of those two losses to Michigan lost some luster when the Wolverines lost at Ann Arbor to NJIT on Saturday!

Now, Oregon prefers to run the floor while ranking 51st in the country in tempo rating, but Mississippi should be able to slow the pace more to its liking here because the Oregon defense has not applied much pressure so far ranking a dismal 280th in defensive turnover percentage at 17.8 percent vs. a national average of 20.2 percent.

Another edge that Mississippi may have here that you would not normally associate with road teams is free throw shooting, not only because the Rebels are 10th in the nation in foul shooting at 78.2 percent but also because Oregon has had difficulty just getting to the charity stripe, ranking 322nd in the land in FTA/FGA percentage.


Won Only Road Game
Mississippi has played one true road game to this point and the Rebels were victorious in that contest at Troy, a victory that began a five-game winning streak that was rather surprisingly snapped with the home loss to TCU Thursday.

We expect Mississippi to get back on track here and give the Ducks all that they can handle when they visit Oregon on Sunday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Mississippi +7½ (-110)