Vanderbilt to Upset is the NCAA Basketball Pick in NIT

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 3:17 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 Tuesday.



The underdogs may have the advantage with a trip to Madison Square Garden in New York next week on the line Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the NIT when those Vanderbilt Commodores (21-13, 5-7 away) pay a visit to the Stanford Cardinal (21-13, 15-3 home) at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, CA at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Bet365 has Vanderbilt as a modest road underdog for this contest with the current line at +3 with odds of -110.


Vanderbilt Ranked Higher on Pomeroy
Vanderbilt may have finished seventh in the SEC this season with only a 9-9 conference mark, but the Commodores played very well down the stretch and are actually currently ranked 35th in the country overall on the Pomeroy Ratings! The Commodores even had a couple of nice road wins at Tennessee and at Mississippi toward the end if the season so they should not be bothered too much by having to travel to Maples Pavilion here.

Stanford finished sixth in a Pac-12 Conference that is the lowest rated of the six major conferences as a whole on Pomeroy, and although the Cardinal remain ranked a commendable 42nd overall, that is still seven spots behind the underdogs from Vanderbilt. The Cardinal saw their NCAA Tournament hopes dashed by being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in blowout fashion 80-56 to the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.


Strong Finish for Commodores
Vanderbilt was once 1-7 in SEC play this year before a nice upset of the Florida Gators on February 3rd began a regular season closing stretch that saw the Commodores go 8-2 in their last 10 games to get to 9-9 in conference and 19-12 overall, including five straight wins to end the year. Unfortunately that momentum did not carry into the SEC Tournament where Tennessee got revenge on the Commodores for the Vanderbilt win in Knoxville during the hot streak.

Still, Vanderbilt has relished this NIT invite thus far while beating two Pomeroy Top 100 teams, first posting another impressive road win 75-64 here on the west coast while visiting the St. Mary’s Gaels and the returning home to handle a South Dakota State team that won 24 games this year rather easily 92-77. That makes it 10 wins in the last 13 games for the Commodores as they are playing their best basketball of the entire season right now.


Cardinal Blew NCAA Berth
Now Stanford appeared to be rather securely in the NCAA Tournament at the end of January, when it was sitting at 15-5 overall and 6-2 inside the Pac-12, but the Cardinal then started to slide down the rankings with four losses in the next five games and after recovering briefly with two straight wins, Stanford then lost its last three regular season games to end with a 3-7 skid to finish the regular season only 18-12 and 9-9 in conference.

That dropped the Cardinal to the NCAA Tournament bubble and their NIT fate was then sealed by that blowout loss to Utah after nipping the Washington Huskies 71-69 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. Granted they have now advanced to these quarterfinals, but the Cardinal have not impressed as much as Vanderbilt has, especially going back into the latter stages of the season.

Stanford had the good fortune to draw a UC Davis team in the first round whose record (25-7) probably outperformed its peripheral statistics more so than any other team in the country this year, and the Cardinal then beat Rhode Island in the second round despite shooting 18-for-53, 34.0 percent from the field, benefitting immensely by going 36-for-49 from the foul line compared to 12-for-21 for Rhode Island, as well as from 15 Rams’ turnovers.


Recent ATS Trends Favor Vandy Too
Finally, the recent ATS marks for each of these teams seems to accurately reflect just how they have been playing to close the year, as Vanderbilt is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games overall while Stanford is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games even with two straight fortunate covers in this NIT.

We do not expect another humongous free-throw shooting disparity in Stanford’s favor here, so we recommend backing a Vanderbilt team that is simply the better of these clubs right now as a small road underdog in the NIT on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Vanderbilt +3 (-110)