By Greg Dempson
This game tips at 9:10 ET at the Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio and one of the four play-in games. The winner of this contest will face will the #6 seeded Arizona Wildcats on Thursday in Providence, Rhode Island.
Wichita State started the season at 5–5, as star guard Fred VanVleet was injured, but after their sluggish start the Shockers went on a 19–2 run before losing to Northern Iowa, (57–52,) as 9 point tournament favorites. That loss was against the same Panthers team that defeated the Shockers on their home court, ending Wichita State’s 43 home game winning streak on February 13, (53–50.) Wichita State had a solid 24–8 record but were only 1–4 in neutral site games losing to USC, Alabama and Iowa, (without VanVleet,) while winning their tournament game vs. Loyola Chicago before falling to Northern Iowa.
Their strength of schedule is #104 and they went 0–1 vs. teams in the top 25 and 1–3 vs. teams in the top 50. They had one quality win vs. Utah at home when the Utes were not ranked. They also had road loses to Tulsa, and Seton Hall, (in OT,) and did defeat Northern Iowa on the road.
As for Vanderbilt, they’re playing this write-in game due to a, (67–65,) loss vs. Tennessee on Thursday, the same Vols team they crushed on March 1 by a score of (86–69.) The Commodores were only 19–13 on the season, (strength of schedule #44,) while going 2–2 in neutral site games.
They went 2–5 vs. top 25 teams and 4–7 against teams in the top 50. Vandy had quality wins at home vs. Kentucky and Texas A&M as well as the Gators, who were on the bubble of making the tournament. The biggest advantage in this game is the size advantage that Vandy has over Wichita State. Luke Kornet, at 7’ 1,” is among the national leaders with three blocks per contest.
· This line has jumped around, opening at –4, dropping to –3 then up to –3.5, down to –3 and back to –3½ in favor of the Shockers as I send this report out. I make this line at pick ’em.
· Vanderbilt is 46–27 ATS and +16.30-units after a loss by 6 points or less.
· Wichita State is 2–11 ATS in their last 13 tournament games.
· Play on any major division 1–A team off an upset loss to a conference foe as a favorite, (applies to Vandy,) when playing against a team from a second tier conference. This system is 63–27 = 70% ATS and +33.30-units since 1997, including 7–0 ATS the past three seasons and 12–4 or 75% ATS the past five seasons.
Vanderbilt vs Wichita State Pick
My Every Edge game of the night is on the Vanderbilt Commodores getting +3.5 points.