March 20, 2017
There is one pick today.
Take Illinois St -4 spread (buy the half point) against Central Florida for 3% of the bankroll.
The Illinois State Redbirds are a team that arguably should have made the NCAA Tournament this season. They only lost six games all year, two of which were to No. 8 Wichita State. In addition, they defeated Wichita State once and were 17-1 in the MVC. Their strength of scheduled was deemed to be the deciding factor in them being left out of the round of 64 by the selection committee and instead were given a #1 seed in this year's NIT Tournament. The Redbirds didn't take their snub lightly as they went right to work, dominating the Big West conference champion UC Irvine 85-71 in their tournament opener.
Illinois State is an outstanding defensive team as they are 6th in defensive efficiency, holding teams to just 61.3 points per game on average. They also rank 5th in the nation in 2-point defense, holding teams to just 41.2% shooting from the field. While their defense has been the stars of the show this season, they have proven to be a competent team on the offensive side of the ball as well. Deontae Hawkins lead Illinois St. with 14 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Paris Lee adds 13.1 points per game and 5.1 assists per contest. MiKyle McIntosh adds 12.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds.
The Central Florida Knights are another quality team from the AAC that was snubber by the selection committee this season. Like their opponents, they have been a strong defensive team all season long, holding teams to just 64.7 points per game this season. They have not been a strong offensive team this season, averaging just 67 points per game and we believe that is going to hurt them in this contest. They have shown their struggles on the road, going 8-8 this season and now have to travel to a hostile environment against a team that is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.
The Redbirds are still seething after being snubbed by the committee and we believe they will continue to state their case that they should have been included in the tournament by knocking off another quality opponent tonight. This game will likely be close throughout, but the homecourt advantage will be too much to overcome as the Redbirds go on to notch a convincing victory.
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