NCAA Tournament First Round Betting Preview: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders – March 15, 2018

by | Mar 12, 2018 | NCAA Basketball

Matchup at a Glance

Where: American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
Date & Time: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:57 PM ET
Spread: Texas Tech Red Raiders -11.5
Over/Under Total: 138
Quick Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders -11 (Buy it down)

The 14 seed Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks will take on the 3 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday Evening. This game is being played as part of the East Bracket and will take place at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.  The game can be watched on TRU TV and will tip off at approximately 9:57 PM ET.

BetOnline has made the  Red Raiders the 11.5 point favorites in the game and have set the total for the over under at 138 points.

Lumberjacks The Best In NCAA At Forcing Turnovers

The Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks were a very unique team this year.  They competed with some top level schools this year and showed that they can be competitive against the NCAA’s elite.  The Lumberjacks went 28-6 overall on the year and went 14-4 in Southland. They recorded a win over LSU back in December by the score of 83-82 and lost to Missouri by just one point 82-81 and Mississippi State by 5 points 80-75.  

The Lumberjacks were competitive this year by playing tough defense!  They have the best defensive unit, as far as turnovers are concerned, in the country. They play very aggressive and force their opponents into turning the ball over on a regular basis.

Let us not forget that in 2016, a team that was the 14 seed upset the West Virginia Mountaineers in the NCAA Tournament by forcing turnovers and maintaining constant pressure.  That team also ranked #1 in defensive turnover percentage, which is the same as SF Austin ranks this year. The team that beat the West Virginia Mountaineers…….were the Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks.  Can history repeat itself?

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Red Raiders Success Leans On Keenan Evans Health

The Texas Tech Red Raiders enter the NCAA Tournament with a ton of hype and potential. This is a team that can create some real headaches for opposing coaches as they try to prepare gameplans to beat this tough defense.  This team could of been very special this year but injuries have hampered them throughout the past 3 months.

The Red Raiders went 24-9 on the year and finished in 2nd place in the BIG 12 regular season standings with a 11-7 record. They are ranked 23rd in the RPI and have the 17th ranked defense in the NCAA.  There defense is all around really good! At one point, their defense ranked 4th in the NCAA this year but when they lost players like Zach Smith and Keenan Evans, their defense went south.

The key element for the Red Raiders is Keenan Evans.  When Evans is healthy, this team can compete with any team in the country. But Evans has been sort of fragile and battling a toe/foot injury that kept him on the sidelines at various times towards the end of February. This team needs Evans to come out firing on all cylinders and if he is not playing well, they will struggle.   

Red Raiders Send Lumberjacks Home in 1st Round

The Lumberjacks are great at forcing their opponents into turning the ball over and most websites that you open up will tell you the same.  What they may not tell you is the fact that they turn the ball over nearly as much as force their opponents and when they get the ball, they don’t turn the turnovers into points.  That will not end well for them against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who also play a very tough style of defense.

The Lumberjacks will without a doubt put a ton of pressure on Evans in this game.  I’m sure they are aware that when teams hold Evans to 14 points or less, the Red Raiders are 0-7 overall (In BIG 12 Conference Play).  The thing is…many teams have tried, and most failed. Evans is special and has that March Madness heroic player persona and abilities.  I think he will carry the Red Raiders in this game and into the second round.

The line for this game is sitting at 11.5 points.  I would much prefer this line down around 10 but I feel safe playing it at 11.  Buy down the half point and roll with the Red Raiders for 2 units in the first round blowout win over SF Austin by double digits.  

Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders -11 for 2 units

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