William & Mary the NCAA Basketball Pick at Richmond

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 6:16 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 Wednesday.

 

The underdogs look to hold nice value in the 200th renewal of a longtime in-state Virginia rivalry Wednesday night when the William & Mary Tribe (5-1, 1-1 away) make the short trek to pay a visit to the Richmond Spiders (2-3, 2-0 home) at the Robins Center in Richmond, VA at 7:00 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - DC+.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has William & Mary as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -105.


Won Five Straight since Loss to Florida
William & Mary comes off of a 20-12 season last year after being well below .500 each of the previous three seasons, and the Tribe finished 10-6 inside the CAA. Well, they may be on their way to surpassing that win total this season as since opening up the season with a loss to nationally ranked Florida in Gainesville, which is certainly forgivable, the Tribe have since reeled off five straight victories to improve to 5-1.

Richmond was 19-14 last season in year that ended with being the losing NCAA Basketball pick to nationally ranked VCU in the Atlantic 10 Tournament after finishing seventh in the conference during the regular season at 8-8. Unfortunately it has not been a good start for the Spiders this year as they have just two cupcake home wins sandwiched around three road losses.

Yes they are back at home tonight, but William & Mary is a notch above Radford and High Point, the two teams the Spiders have beaten thus far.


Great Shooting from the Field
William & Mary comes off of a 66-62 win over Wofford, and while that may not seem like much on the surface, the Terriers are currently ranked 94th on the Pomeroy Ratings and thus represent the Tribe’s first win this season over a Pomeroy Top 100 team. And they did it in typical Tribe fashion, with great shooting, going an unbelievable 65.6 percent from the field overall including 5-for-11, 45.5 percent beyond the three-point arc!

Remember that William & Mary ranked fifth in the entire country last season in three-point shooting at 40.1 percent, helping lead to a 55.9 percent effective field goal percentage which ranked sixth in the land. The Tribe returned their leading scorer Marcus Thornton, who was voted the preseason player of the year in the CAA before this season, and sophomore Omar Prewitt has continued his progression after being named CAA Rookie of the Year.

Prewitt is averaging 12.2 points on an excellent 51.9 percent shooting, which is remarkable considering he is a 6-foot-6 perimeter player. That is not to say that William & Mary has not shot well closer to the basket also, as it is 21st in the country this year in two-point shooting at 55.9 percent.


2-3 Record without Beating Much
Richmond was hoping to take the next step this season after being the first team out last year in an Atlantic 10 that sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament. However, one drawback was losing Cedrick Lindsay to graduation, and even with Lindsay for 21 games last year before he was lost with a knee injury, the Spiders ranked last in the A-10 in scoring (66.5 points per game), assists (10.6) and rebounds (32.5).

Thus the 2-3 start with wins over two teams ranked 167th and 184th respectively on Pomeroy could be considered part of the growing process. One thing that Richmond did well last season was protect the basketball, and that has continued this year as the Spiders are 17th in the land through five games in offensive turnover percentage at 15.4 percent vs. a national average of 20.2 percent.

They are still usually getting just one shot at the basket though as the rebounding has not improved ranking 343rd out of 351 Division I teams in offensive rebounding percentage and 267th in defensive rebounding percentage. So while the effective shooting percentage has actually been good at 54.3 percent, Richmond is still just 244th in the nation in points scored with 64.6 per game.


Perimeter Defense Put to the Test
More distressing has been the seeming regression of the perimeter defense this season as the Spiders are a dismal 304th in three-point defense while generously allowing a 39.1 percent success rate. That is after ranking ninth in the entire country in three-point defense last year allowing just 30.0 percent.

William & Mary certainly has the shooters to shoot over that disappointing defense, so take the points with the Tribe as they go into Richmond to renew this rivalry on Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: William & Mary +8½ (-105)