Wichita State the NCAA Basketball Pick to Get to Elite Eight

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 26, 2015 3:57 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015 3:57 PM UTC

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 Thursday.


After seventh seeded Connecticut won the national title last season, look for another seven-seed to continue its march Thursday night in the Sweet 16 of the 2015 NCAA Tournament when those Wichita State Shockers (30-4, 15-4 away/neutral) take on the third seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish (31-5, 14-3 away/neutral) in Midwest Region action from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH at 7:15 ET in a game televised nationally on CBS.

The point spread at Bet365 has Wichita State as a tiny favorite for this contest with the current line at -2 with odds of -105.

Most Under-Seeded Team in Tournament?
Wichita State won the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title but it was upset by Illinois State in the conference tournament, possibly resulting in the Shockers being the most under-seeded team in this tournament as seven-seeds despite coming in with a 28-4 record. Well, the oddsmakers were not fooled by the seeding as Wichita State actually closed as a one-point favorite when beating second-seeded Kansas rather handily 78-65 on Sunday.

Notre Dame has 31 wins itself this year and it had an impressive run while winning then ACC Tournament by being the winning NCAA Basketball picks over Duke and North Carolina in consecutive nights, but the Irish have been far from impressive in this Big Dance, barely getting by 14th seeded Northeastern 69-65 and then needing overtime to knock of Butler 67-64. A similar effort here would almost certainly prove fatal.

Shockers Have No Weaknesses
The winner of this contest will almost certainly draw undefeated Kentucky on Saturday barring what would probably be the Upset of the Year if West Virginia were to knock off the Wildcats tonight, and that would set up an interesting scenario should Wichita State emerge victorious here.

If you flash back to last season, Wichita State was undefeated before losing by two points to Kentucky in the Round of 32, and the Shockers would love the opportunity to turn the tables this year with the Wildcats this time being the undefeated team!

But first things first, and there is a good reason why Wichita State is again a small favorite vs. a higher seed here as the Shockers remain a team that does not have any weaknesses. They are 16th in the country in offensive efficiency and 13th in defensive efficiency while being strong in each of the components that make up those efficiency numbers.

Offensively, Wichita State has a 50.6 percent effective field goal percentage and its simply does not turn the ball over, ranking seventh in the country in offensive turnover percentage at just 15.1 percent vs. a national average of 19.1 percent. Defensively, the Shockers are 27th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 45.2 percent and 37th in defensive turnover percentage at 21.5 percent.

Teams are Not Close Defensively
Now, scoring points is usually not an issue for Notre Dame as it is ranked third in offensive efficiency and second in effective field goal percentage at a robust 58.4 percent. Furthermore, the Fighting Irish have even been a little better than Wichita State in ball protection, ranking third in offensive turnover percentage at 14.5 percent. With that said, the offense has not been as good vs. a couple of good defenses in this tournament.

And perhaps the biggest key to this contest could be the vast superiority of Wichita State on the defensive end. You see, Notre Dame is only 103rd in defensive efficiency and it does not apply much pressure either, ranking 274th in defensive turnover percentage at 17.4 percent. The Irish may have lucked out vs. a couple of mediocre offenses to get here, but the Shockers can make them pay for their lax defense.

And speaking of “luck”, Notre Dame is ranked 25th in the country in Luck Rating on the Pomeroy Ratings, making them the “luckiest” team in the tournament that is still alive right now. That could have the Irish a tad overrated while Wichita State is 121st in Luck Rating, suggesting that its numbers are more legitimate.

One of Best ATS Bets in Country
Finally, the Shockers have been one of the better bets in the country ATS-wise for several years now, and that has been especially been true when coming off of a straight up win as Wichita State is a spectacular 45-18-2 ATS in its last 65 games in this circumstance!

Don’t expect that to change now even with the lower seeds giving a couple of points, so give the small spot with Wichita State and look for the Shockers to advance to the Elite Eight for a probably rematch with Kentucky by beating Notre Dame on Thursday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Wichita State -2 (-105)

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