Virginia Tech & BYU To Go 'Over' In NIT As Our NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, March 18, 2016 3:56 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 18, 2016 3:56 PM UTC

The BYU Cougars have been accustomed to playing high scoring games this year and they played another one in the first round of this NIT, as did Virginia Tech, so go ‘Over’ Friday. 


While we totally get that there is a full card of NCAA Tournament action going on, there could be a hidden gem in the NIT Friday night in what figures to be a very high scoring game when the Virginia Tech Hokies (20-14, 19-9 ATS) of the ACC pay a visit to the BYU Cougars (24-10, 17-13-1 ATS) of the West Coast Conference at the Marriott Center in Provo, UT at 9:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 163½ for this contest with the current NCAA Basketball odds on the ‘over’ set at -105.


Everybody Lighting Up Scoreboard
Both of these teams were involved in high scoring games to open up this NIT on Wednesday. BYU got the pace to its liking and proceeded to have an easier time than expected with a formerly 26-6 UAB team, just missing reaching the century mark in the decisive 97-79 victory. The Cougars shot a blistering 38-for-69, 55.1 percent from the floor in that contest, including going 13-for-30, 43.3 percent beyond the three-point arc.

Virginia Tech was also involved in a relatively high scoring affair Wednesday with the Hokies coming out as the winning NCAA Basketball picks 86-81 over Princeton in a game involving two teams not exactly known for playing at a quick tempo. Granted Virginia Tech scored 26 of its points at the foul line, but that is nothing new for a team that leads the entire country in FTA/FGA ratio at an even 50.0 percent vs. a national average of 36.7 percent!


Cougars Love to Run
Remember that BYU was one of only five teams to beat Saint Mary’s this season, and the Cougars finished third in the WCC during the regular season behind those Gaels and Gonzaga. However, it was pretty obvious that BYU would be NIT bound once it lost to those Zags in the semifinals of the West Coast Tournament as this was not a banner year for the conference, which was a key reason Saint Mary’s did not make the NCAA Tournament field.

Still, the Cougars look like a very dangerous team in this tournament as a team that can score a ton of points in a hurry. And when we say “in a hurry” we mean it literally as BYU is fourth in the country in adjusted tempo rating grading out at 74.3 possessions per game. The opening round game vs. UAB fell right on 74 possessions, and the end result was 97 points!

Then again, the BYU defense ranked 192nd in the land in points against at 72.4 per game, in fact finishing in a virtual tie with the Virginia Tech defense it faces today. Granted the Cougars are not really a bad defensive team, as they are actually only allowing a 41.3 percent field goal percentage, so all of those points allowed are a by-product of their pace. The problem with that here though is that this also figures to be a fast-paced games, so BYU will again allow points.


Virginia Tech Improving Offensively
Virginia Tech improved rapidly this season in its second season under Coach Buzz Williams, going from 11-22 overall including a mere 2-16 in ACC play last season to 20 wins this year at 20-14 and a 10-8 record in the conference. The Hokies also upset Florida State in the first round of the ACC Tournament before losing to the Miami Hurricanes in a competitive game 88-82.

The Hokies may not have overwhelming offensive numbers overall averaging 74.9 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting, but the offense seems to be peaking at the right time as Virginia Tech scored 96 and 82 points respectively in its two ACC Tournament contests prior to putting up the 86 vs. Princeton Wednesday. We could easily see another output of around 80 points here if the Hokies get caught up in the Cougars’ pace which could easily happen in Provo.


Non-Conference Game Especially High Scoring
Finally, games are particularly high scoring when BYU faces teams outside of the West Coast Conference that are not used to facing teams that play at the Cougars’ pace, which is a key reason why the ‘over’ is now 6-0 in their last six non-conference games. Also, while Virginia Tech may not favor as quite a phrenetic pace as BYU enjoys, the ‘over’ is still now 3-0 in all of the Hokies’ post-season games so far this year beginning with the ACC Tournament.

Add this all up and we see a boatload of points in this contest, resulting in an ‘over’ when Virginia Tech visits BYU for the second round of the NIT on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 163
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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