2016-NCAAB-March Madness-Tuesday NIT games previews
**Saint Mary’s at Valparaiso**
– The Westgate SuperBook opened Valpo (28-6 straight up, 16-14 against the spread) as a five-point favorite with a total 129.5 points. As of late Monday night, however, the Crusaders were favored by 4.5 points with the total up to 131. The Gaels are +175 on the money line (risk $100 to win $175).
– Valpo is led by Alec Peters, who averages 18.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Peters is shooting at a 50.7 percent clip from the field, making 45.0 percent of his launches from downtown and 85.4 percent of his free throws. Keith Carter (10.2 PPG) has an excellent 148/50 assists-to-turnovers ratio.
– Valpo is ninth in the nation in scoring defense (62.7 PPG) and it ranks third in the country in field-goal percentage defense (38.4%).
– Valpo has won 16 of its 17 home games while going 8-6 ATS.
– Bryce Drew’s club has won back-to-back home games over Texas Southern (84-73) and Florida State (81-69) to get within one game of the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Valpo failed to cover against the Tigers as a 14.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Peters scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Carter tallied 17 points, five assists, four boards and two steals. Vashil Fernandez nearly recorded a triple-double, finishing with eight points, eight blocked shots and 10 rebounds.
– Valpo knocked off FSU on Thursday night as a 4.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Peters had 26 points and nine rebounds, while Carter finished with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds. Shane Hammink added 18 points against the Seminoles.
– Saint Mary’s (29-5 SU, 18-12 ATS) advanced to the NIT quarterfinals by beating Georgia 77-65 as a seven-point home ‘chalk’ Sunday night. The 142 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 134-point total. Emmett Naar had an outstanding game, producing 15 points, four rebounds, four steals and 11 assists compared to just one turnover. Evan Fitzner had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Joe Rahon finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Dane Pineau had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.
– In its first-round NIT game, Randy Bennett’s squad won a 58-56 decision over New Mexico St. as a 10.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Rahon was the catalyst with 14 points, seven boards and three assists.
– Saint Mary’s has won 10 of its last 11 games, but it is mired in a 6-12 ATS slump in its last 18 contests. The only outright defeats for the Gaels came to Gonzaga by an 85-75 score in the finals of the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas on March 8. That loss kept them out of the NCAA Tournament.
– Saint Mary’s has won seven of its 10 road games, going 6-4 ATS.
– Saint Mary’s has been an underdog four times, going 2-2 ATS with one outright victory.
– The ‘under’ is 18-11-1 overall for the Gaels, but the ‘over’ is 3-1 in their last four outings. They’ve watched the ‘under’ go 7-2-1 in their 10 road assignments.
– The ‘over’ has hit in three in a row for the Crusaders and six of their last seven to improve to 16-15 overall. They have seen the ‘over’ go 8-7 in their home outings.
– Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Creighton at BYU**
– The Westgate opened BYU (25-10 SU, 17-14-1 ATS) as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 163. Since then, the number for the side hasn’t budged, but the total has been adjusted up to 165.5 points. The Bluejays are +175 on the money line.
– Dave Rose’s squad has won 16 of 18 home games, going 9-5 ATS.
– BYU advanced with consecutive home victories over UAB (97-79) and Virginia Tech (80-77). The Cougars took the cash as 9.5-point favorites against the Blazers, while failing to cover as eight-point ‘chalk’ vs. the Hokies. Kyle Collinsworth added to his NCAA career record with his 12th tripe-double against UAB, tallying 19 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Chase Fischer hit seven treys en route to scoring a game-high 27 points. Nick Emery added 22 points, five assists and two steals.
– In the win over Virginia Tech, BYU was paced by Fischer again with his 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. Collinsworth contributed 18 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and two steals.
– Collinsworth averages 15.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Fischer averages 18.3 PPG and drains 37.1 percent of his 3-pointers. Emery (16.2 PPG) makes 38.5 percent from long distance and 84.3 percent at the charity stripe.
– Collinsworth is listed as ‘questionable’ tonight for the Cougars. He missed Monday’s practice battling the flu. With that said, my guess is that bettors should presume him to be ‘probable,’ although he could possibly be at less than full strength.
– Creighton (20-14 SU, 20-13 ATS) has lost eight of 12 road games while posting a 7-5 spread record.
– Creighton owns a 5-6 spread record with two outright wins.
– Creighton beat Alabama 72-54 as an 8.5-point home favorite in the first round of the NIT. Mo Watson Jr. scored a team-best 20 points, while Khyri Thomas finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Geoffrey Groselle added 12 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots.
– In the second round, Creighton cruised to an 87-54 win as a 14.5-point ‘chalk’ over Wagner. Groselle scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Zach Hanson scored 14 points, while Thomas and James Milliken had 13 and 12 points, respectively.
– The ‘over’ is 17-15-1 overall for the Cougars, but the ‘under’ is 8-7 in their home contests.
– The ‘over’ is 18-14-1 overall for the Bluejays, 6-6 in their road outings.