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Purdue vs. Arkansas-Little Rock - 3/17/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans (29-4) at Purdue Boilermakers (26-8)

College Basketball: Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm (Pepsi Arena)

The Line: Purdue Boilermakers -8 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: TBS

The Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans and Purdue Boilermakers will square up in the first round of the Midwest on Thursday afternoon.

The Arkansas-Little Rock used one of the best defenses in the country to help them win the Sun Belt Championship and earn a 12-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas-Little Rock defeated the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, 70-50, this past Sunday to earn the 12th seed in the Midwest region. On the season the Trojans have been led by Josh Hagins (13.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.4 spg), Marcus Johnson Jr. (12.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.7 apg), and Roger Woods (9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.6 apg). Offensively, Arkansas-Little Rock is averaging 70.9 ppg on 45.8% shooting from the field and 38.8% shooting from beyond the arc. The Trojans average 7.5 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.25. Defensively, Arkansas-Little Rock is holding their opponents to 59.6 ppg on 38.8% shooting. The Trojans have a rebound margin of 0.1 and a turnover ratio of 3.5.

Purdue vs. Arkansas-Little Rock - 3/17/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Purdue Boilmakers reached the Big-10 finals and although they weren’t able to defeat Michigan State, the Boilmakers earned a 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament after finishing the season with a 26-8 record. Purdue is one of the most well rounded teams in the tournament as they rank currently 21st in adjusted offensive and 18th in adjusted defense. On the season, the Boilermakers have been led by A.J. Hammons (15.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.5 bpg), Vince Edwards (10.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.0 apg), and Caleb Swanigan (10.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.9 apg). Offensively, Purdue is averaging 77.7 ppg on 47.2% shooting from the field and 36.8% shooting from beyond the arc. The Boilermakers average 7.6 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.4. Defensively, Arkansas-Little Rock is holding their opponents to an average of 64.6 ppg on 39.1% shooting. The Trojans have a rebound margin of 10.6 and a turnover margin of -2.5.

The Trojans are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games. The Boilermakers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.

Arkansas-Little Rock has one of the best defenses in the country as they rank 2nd in scoring defense and 9th defensive FG%, however, Purdue has the talent and ability on both sides of the court to make a deep run in the tournament and I think they’ll be able to pull away from Arkansas-Little Rock in the 2nd half to cover this spread. Take Purdue to cover. 

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Purdue Boilermakers -8

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