November 26, 2013
By David Schwab
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This week's Thanksgiving Holiday is filled with a number of exciting tournaments in men's college basketball and to wet your appetite for this Thursday's feast the following is a betting tip sheet for Wednesday night's semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
Drexel Dragons vs. No. 4 Arizona Wildcats (-10) -- 7 p.m. ESPNU
When the preliminary qualifying games for this tournament were first announced most people thought that Rutgers would be playing in the semifinals, but last Tuesday's stunning 70-59 victory over the Scarlet Knights as 1 ½-point road underdogs earned the Dragons a trip to Madison Square Garden. They are 3-1 straight-up overall with the lone loss coming against No. 19 UCLA in a 72-67 setback as 7 ½-point road 'dogs in their season opener.
Drexel is averaging 71.5 points a game while shooting 43 percent from the field as a team, but it still boasts some solid balance with four different players scoring in double figures. Chris Fouch has led the way with 17.3 points and Damion Lee is a close second with 14.8 points while adding 4.8 rebounds a game. Kazembe Abif and Dartaye Ruffin have been the main force under the boards with a combined 17.6 rebounds a game.
Arizona started the season ranked sixth in the AP preseason poll but has cracked the top five with a perfect 5-0 SU start. It has covered against the spread in its last four games while closing as a 20 point or better favorite in three of the contests. Its tightest game of the year so far was a 69-60 victory over San Diego State on Nov. 14 as a 3 ½-point road favorite. The total has been evenly split 2-2.
The Wildcats have five players posting double figures on the scoreboard as part of an 84 point scoring average. They are ranked sixth in the nation shooting the ball with a field goal percentage of 54.4 percent. Nick Johnson is averaging a team-high 16.8 points a game and shooting 58.8 percent from the floor and Aaron Gordon leads the team in rebounds with 9.0 while averaging 13 points a game.
Drexel has been a profitable team to wager on when it comes to Wednesday games with a 9-1 record ATS in its last 10 outings. The Wildcats are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games following a SU win of 20 points or more.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 6 Duke Blue Devils (-8) -- 9:30 ESPN2
Alabama stumbled out of the gate with an 82-73 loss to Oklahoma as a 3.5-point favorite, but since then it has won three straight including a 75-58 romp over Georgia State as a seven-point home favorite last Tuesday. The total stayed UNDER in both games with a posted line.
The Crimson Tide are averaging 81.5 points a game while shooting an effective 52.4 percent from the field. They have struggled from three-point range; hitting on 32.8 percent of 61 attempts, but they have done a decent job at the foul line with a conversion rate of 75.6 percent. Trevor Releford leads all scorers with 18 points a game while shooting 59.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Rodney Cooper is pulling down a team-high 6.8 rebounds, but the team as a whole is ranked 140th in the nation with an average of 38 rebounds a game.
Duke opened the season ranked No. 4 in both major polls but it dropped back after losing to then-No.5 Kansas 94-83 as a 5 ½-point favorite in the State Farm Classic earlier this month. The Blue Devils would have plummeted in the polls if they did not hold on to beat Vermont 91-90 this past Sunday as 26 ½-point favorites at home. They are 5-1 SU overall with a 2-2 record ATS. The total has gone OVER in three of the four games with a posted line.
There is little doubt that Duke is an offensive power this season with an average of 92.7 points a game while shooting 55 percent from the field. A good deal of their early success can be attributed to freshman forward Jabari Parker, who leads the team with 23 points and 8.8 rebounds a game, but you also have to credit Rodney Hood. He is second on the team in both categories with 21.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.
The Crimson Tide are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight neutral site games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games outside the SEC. Duke is just 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games against a team with a SU winning record. It has also failed to cover in four of its last five games against a team from the SEC.
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