This is Day 1 of my daily "Picking The Lines" posts. Remember, I am not pretending to guarantee success, and I pick each game simply as a blogging gimmick to discuss each game. Betting a few dollars on a game to add interest is fun, but betting a large sum of money is probably a bad idea. Don't gamble, kids.
As always, the Vegas lines used will be the VegasInsider consensus line at the time the post goes live on the blog.
Anyway, it's time to get this tournament started. Join in
the comments section on these posts daily to talk about the games as
they happen, or tweet at me.
Let's get to the games:
2015 Tournament ATS: 39-28-0 (58%)
2010-14 ATS: 181-139-11 (57%)
Florida Gulf Coast (-6) over Fairleigh Dickinson: Because I'm picking every game, I have to pick the 16/16 games, but come on guys. Don't bet real money on a 16/16 play-in game. Don't be that kind of degenerate. Anyway... FGCU is by any metric you choose the better team, and the 6 point spread is basically in line with the computer ratings. They're not just better, but more athletic, and they have the chance to run Fairleigh Dickinson off the court.
Wichita State (-3.5) over Vanderbilt: Wichita State's great computer numbers are due in large part to destroying the competition in the Missouri Valley. Their non-conference computer numbers were basically identical to Vanderbilt. That said, destroying a conference has value, even if the Missouri Valley was not particularly strong this year. And second of all, Wichita State was badly shorthanded in non-conference play, and did not look at all like themselves until mid-December. They don't really have anybody who can defend Vanderbilt's 7-footers, but the reality is that this Commodores team doesn't do a lot of their scoring in the paint. They have a perimeter-focused offense, which is where Wichita State's defense is strongest. One final concern is that Vanderbilt went just 5-11 in road/neutral games, including just 1-10 in road/neutral games against the Pomeroy Top 100.
It's completely unfair that two teams this good have to play in a play-in game, but since we're stuck here, give Wichita State the edge.