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NIT Final Four

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Editor's note: Brian Edwards went 3-0 with his Elite Eight picks and is 7-2 since last Thursday for six units of profit. Since Feb. 21, Brian is 53-34 (61%, +1680) in college hoops. Don't miss out on tonight's pick package

**Baylor vs. Brigham Young**

--In the first game of a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Baylor and BYU will collide in the NIT semifinals with a berth in Thursday’s championship game at stake.

--As of early this morning, most betting shops had Baylor (21-14 straight up, 15-15 against the spread) installed as a three-point favorite with a total of 153. Gamblers can take the Cougars on the money line for a +135 return (risk $100 to win $135).

--Scott Drew’s team advanced with three consecutive home wins over Long Beach State (112-66), Arizona St. (89-86) and Providence (79-68). The Bears covered the spread in two of the three games with the win over the Sun Devils as 8.5-point favorites serving as the lone exception.

--Baylor used a late 7-0 run ignited by a Pierre Jackson 3-pointer with 3:57 remaining to pull away from Providence to capture a 79-68 win as an eight-point home ‘chalk.’ The 147 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 150-point total. Cory Jefferson scored a career-high 26 points by making 10-of-14 shots from the field, while Jackson finished with 20 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds without committing a turnover.

--Baylor has won at least three postseason games in four of the last five seasons. The Bears went to the NIT finals in 2009 and the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012, losing to the eventual champion each time.

--BYU (24-11 SU, 16-17-1 ATS) is led by senior center Brandon Davies and sophomore guard Tyler Haws. Davies averages 17.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He also averages team-highs in field-goal percentage (52.6%) and blocked shots (1.0 BPG). Haws, a sophomore guard who returned this season after a two-year Mormon mission, averages a team-high 21.6 PPG.

--Dave Rose’s squad made it to the Big Apple with three straight wins both SU and ATS. BYU beat Washington (90-79) and Mercer (90-71) at home before cruising to a 79-62 victory at So. Miss. as a 5.5-point road underdog. Senior guard Brock Zylstra buried five treys in the first half on his way to a season-high 23 points for the Cougars, who got a game-high 25 points from Haws. Davis produced 12 points and 13 rebounds.

--BYU has been an underdog eight times this season, compiling a 3-4-1 spread record. Meanwhile, Baylor has posted a 6-7 spread ledger in 13 games as a single-digit favorite.

--These schools met in Waco on Dec. 21 with Baylor winning a 79-64 decision as a seven-point home favorite. Jackson led the way with 16 points, nine assists and four steals. Jefferson posted a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. In the losing effort, Davies finished with 26 points, 17 boards, three assists and three steals. The 143 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 151.5-point total.

--The ‘under’ is 15-11 overall for BYU.

--The ‘over’ is 16-13 overall for the Bears, going 3-1 in their last four games.

--ESPN will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

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**Iowa vs. Maryland**

--Most spots have installed Iowa (24-12 SU, ATS) as a three-point favorite with a total of 136. The Terrapins are +135 on the money line (risk $100 to win $135).

--Iowa has hooked up its backers by taking the cash in nine straight games. The Hawkeyes have won outright in six of their last seven games with the only defeat coming in a 59-56 loss to Michigan St. (a Sweet 16 team) at the Big Ten Tournament.

--Fran McCaffery’s team earned a trip to NYC with victories vs. Indiana St. (68-52), vs. Stony Brook (75-63) and at Virginia (57-49). The Hawkeyes are led by junior guard/forward Roy-Devyn Marble, the son of Iowa legend Roy Marble. The younger Marble led his team to the win at UVA by producing 24 points, five assists, three rebounds and three assists.

--Marble leads the Hawks in scoring (15.1 PPG) and assists (3.0 APG). Marble has averaged 25.3 PPG in the NIT, including a 28-point effort vs. Stony Brook.

--Iowa has thrived as a single-digit ‘chalk’ this year, compiling a lucrative 8-2 spread record.

--Maryland (25-12 SU, 17-12-1 ATS) has covered the spread in seven consecutive games, including NIT wins vs. Niagara (86-70) vs. Denver (62-52) and at Alabama (58-67). The Terrapins won in Tuscaloosa in large part due to back-to-back 3-pointers from freshman forward Jake Layman, who finished with 13 points off the bench. Layman’s treys extended Maryland’s lead to 57-49 with 3:47 remaining. ‘Bama’s Trevor Lacey missed a would-be winning jumper at the buzzer.

--Maryland sophomore center Alex Len torched the Crimson Tide with 15 points, 13 boards and five blocked shots, including a key rejection of Rodney Cooper in the lane with 3.1 ticks left. Dezmine Wells added 13 points for the Terps.

--Mark Turgeon’s squad cashed tickets at an 8-4 ATS clip in 12 games as an underdog.

--Maryland will be without freshman guard, Seth Allen who broke his hand at practice before the win at Alabama. Allen was averaging 7.8 points, 2.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game.

--The ‘under’ is 18-13-1 overall for Iowa.

--Totals have been an overall wash (14-14) for Maryland.

--ESPN2 will have the tip 30 minutes after the conclusion of BYU-Baylor.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Baylor’s Pierre Jackson is currently listed as the 60th and final pick of the most recent 2013 mock draft at nbadraft.net. The same website has Baylor’s Jefferson, who will be a senior next season, as the 49th pick in its 2014 mock.

--NBADraft.net currently has Maryland’s Len listed as the seventh pick in its latest mock of this summer’s draft.

--Southern Cal announced late Monday night that it has hired Florida Gulf Coast’s Andy Enfield as its next head coach. I’ll take a wait-and-see approach to my analysis of this hire. Obviously, Enfield was a hot name after leading the Eagles to the Sweet 16, so he deserves some time before being judged. With that said, there were many other candidates with more sustained success on their resume.

--As for UCLA’s hire of Steve Alford, as I tweeted on Saturday, I think it was a shaky decision by AD Dan Guerrero. I gave it a C- at best.

--Tubby Smith has agreed to become the next head coach at Texas Tech. Like I wrote a few weeks ago, Auburn could’ve had Tubby had it made the no-brainer decision to get rid of Tony Barbee.

  
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