Vanderbilt Is Our NCAA Basketball Pick As They Rise Up Over Texas A&M

Doug Upstone

Thursday, February 4, 2016 1:21 PM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 1:21 PM GMT

It is hard to believe for those placing daily NCAA basketball picks that Texas A&M sits atop the Southeastern Conference standings. How will they do against Vanderbilt?

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Vanderbilt -1
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Texas A&M is ranked 8th in the country and its only loss in SEC action (7-1, 3-4-1 ATS) was hardly a bad one, at Arkansas eight days ago by 74-71 score. Vanderbilt is only 5-6 in their last 11 contests and not performed well against better competition. Can the Commodores make some sweet music in the 'Music City' or do the Aggies continue to prove they are the best in the conference?

 

Texas A&M Defense & Maturity Keys Success
Coach Billy Kennedy has always been one to stress defense and it shows with this group, ranked first in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 64.1 per contest, with 39.8 percent accuracy. For fans of advanced statistics, the Aggies as of last night were listed third nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com.

Eight players for Kennedy see 18 or more minutes a contest and they are not just warm bodies. Each has a particular skill set which fills out this Texas A&M puzzle and a very important aspect is three players are seniors. One is leading scorer Jalen Jones at the forward, averaging 16.7 PPG, along with point guard Alex Caruso, who dishes out 5.2 assists a game and adds 7.8 PPG. The other fourth-year stud is forward Danuel House, who is the second-leading scorer and rebounder next to Jones (16.0) and who can mix it up on the defensive end.

This is rugged and tough-minded crew and it is no accident they are 18-3 (8-6-2 ATS) this season.

 

Vanderbilt A Disappointment Thus Far
Coming into the season, if a team was going to unseat Kentucky and win the SEC, Vanderbilt (12-9, 9-10 ATS) was supposed to be that club. With two 7'0 footers (plus another off the bench) and excellent three-point shooting, the Commodores were being thought of as Sweet 16 team come March.

In Maui just before Thanksgiving, they looked the part, having reached the finals before falling to Syracuse 74-67. In spite of the talented big men and being in the Top 15 in the country knocking down the three-ball at 40.1 percent, Vandy is already a bubble team and needs a victory in a contest like this.

A closer look finds despite their size and deep shooting threat, the Commodores really lack quickness and foot speed. When teams can attack them on the perimeter, they lack the ability to get to the rim with dribble penetration, which makes them just jump shooters. The 'Dores do not generate many easy baskets either, with only five steals a contest.

Wes Baldwin IV (14.3) and Damien Jones (13.6) are the leading scorers, with Frank Kornet and Riley LaChance being modest disappointments.

 

What Bettors Need To Know
The Aggies are 2-3 and 1-3-1 ATS on the road and are dicey choice for those making NCAA basketball picks, winning by 4.6 PPG. The oddsmakers opening number made them a very short underdog, which would be just the second time they would be in that role if it holds up. (1-0 SU & ATS). When playing with at least three days off, Kennedy's crew is 10-1 and 5-3-1 ATS.

Vanderbilt is 9-2 (5-4 ATS) at quirky Memorial Gym, but is only 3-8 ATS in their last 11 contests. Maybe because of their size, when the bigger guys are tired, they do not perform as well, but when playing with three days between games, they are 7-3 SU and ATS. Vandy is 42-25 ATS at home versus teams who score 77 or more points a game.

 

What To Expect & Spread Winner
The NCAA basketball odds have Vanderbilt at -1 with total of 136.5. The Commodores defense is troublesome also, nationally ranked 2nd in 3-point FG% defense (27.5%), 9th in FG% defense (38.1%), 14th in 2-point FG% (40.1%), and 18th in blocks (5.5). I definitely prefer the quickness edge Texas A&M has and wing players that can fly.

However, this is a desperation game for Vandy and I can see them rising up got a big effort, plus, the Aggies are only 6-15 ATS away after playing a game as a home favorite the last three years.

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