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NIT Tournament Betting Preview – Valparaiso vs. BYU

Both the BYU Cougars and Valparaiso Crusaders have enjoyed some “home cooking” thus far, and that has undoubtedly helped them get to the “final four” of the National Invitational Tournament. Now they will meet up in one of the two semi-final games of the NIT that will be starting at 7 PM ET at Madison Square Garden.

Both the BYU Cougars and Valparaiso Crusaders have enjoyed some “home cooking” thus far, and that has undoubtedly helped them get to the “final four” of the National Invitational Tournament. Now they will meet up in one of the two semi-final games of the NIT that will be starting at 7 PM ET at Madison Square Garden. Of course, if you are really looking for action, you can get it at BetAnySports, as you engage in real time wagering through the facilities provided by Live Betting Extra.

BYU (26-10 straight-up, 18-13-2 against the basketball pointspread) is a team that has come on with contributions from people outside of their main cog, Kyle Collingsworth, who can fill up a stat sheet like few others (15.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 7.5 apg) and has an NCAA-record twelve career triple-doubles. This is a team that can attack the opponent in a number of different ways, and they are very offensive-minded, averaging 84 points on the season and even more than that (88 ppg) in turning away three opponents in this tournament (UAB, Virginia Tech, Creighton).

The Cougars will have their hands full with the defensive scheme employed by Valparaiso (29-6 SU, 17-14-1 ATS), which has limited opponents to just 38% shooting, making them one of the national leaders. Valpo is ranked eighth in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency by the metrics site KenPom.com, but it hasn’t been that often that they have faced an attack as balanced as this one.

In the March Madness basketball betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Crusaders are a slight favorite:

Valparaiso Crusaders  -2

BYU Cougars  +2

Over 147 points  -110

Under 147 points  -110

Valparaiso clearly didn’t get here through offensive explosiveness. They have shot only 44.5% as a team this season, but it should be mentioned that they have exceeded that in their three NIT victories, which have happened at home against Texas Southern, Florida State and Saint Mary’s (like BYU, a West Coast Conference team). They are fortunate to have found a very hot hand. Alec Peters, who has averaged 25 points over his last eight games. Since we don’t necessarily expect BYU to play “shutdown” defense on him, let’s assume that he will get his shots.

BYU has only hit 69% free throws as a team, but two of their principal scorers – freshman Nick Emery, who spent a couple of years on a mission, and Chase Fischer, who leads the team with 18.2 ppg – are over 80% from the charity stripe. BetAnySports patrons should also know that they can show some muscle as well, with 6-11 Nate Austin, 6-10 Corbin Kaufusi and 6-8 Kyle Davis.

But if we are talking about imposing figures in the middle, there are very few like Valpo’s Vashil Fernandez, who has blocked more shots than anybody in the country, and also leads the nation in “block rate.” His presence could have the effect of forcing BYU to the outside, and they’re not in horrible shape from that standpoint, as they are hitting 38% from the arc.

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