Utah vs. Stephen F. Austin - NCAA Tournament - 3/19/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (29-4) at Utah Utes (24-8)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Moda Center at the Rose Quarter)
The Line: Utah Utes -6.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The (12) Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and (5) Utah Utes will face off in the 2nd round this Thursday night at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks finished the regular season with a 29-4 record and cruised through the Southland Conference earing their automatic bid by defeating the Sam Houston St. Bearkats 83-70. The Lumberjacks are a high scoring team that made noise in the NCAA Tournament by defeating the VCU Rams in the 2nd round last year. On the season, Stephen F. Austin have been led by Thomas Walkup (15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.2 spg) and Jacob Parker (14.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.7 apg). The Lumberjacks are ranked 35th in the RPI Standings and 53rd in the BPI Rankings. Stephen F. Austin is averaging 79.5 ppg (ranked 9th) on 49.1% shooting (ranked 5th). The Lumberjacks average 17.8 apg (ranked 1st) and average 14.1 turnovers per game (ranked 46th). Defensively, Stephen F. Austin is holding their opponents to 64.6 ppg (ranked 126th) on 46.8% shooting (ranked 216th).
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The 17th ranked Utah Utes finished the regular season with a 24-8 (13-5 Pac-12) record and lost in the Semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament to the Oregon Ducks, 67-64. Utah has had a great season, but have been a bit shaky as of late as they are just 3-4 in their last 7 games including a 77-68 loss at Washington. On the season, Utah has been led by Delon Wright (14.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.1 spg) and Brandon Taylor (10.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.2 spg). The Utes are ranked 20th in the RPI Standings and 12th in the BPI Standings. Utah is averaging 72.1 ppg (ranked 58th) on 48.5% shooting (ranked 13th). Utah is shooting 40.4% from beyond the arc (ranked 7th) and has a 1.25 assist/turnover ratio (ranked 47th). Defensively, Utah is averaging 56.9 ppg (ranked 11th) on 38.3% shooting (ranked 10th).
The Utes are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a S.U. loss and 20-6-2 ATS in their last 28 non-conference games. Under is 7-1 in the Lumberjacks last 8 games following a ATS win.
Stephen F. Austin had another great season and was clearly the best team in the Southland conference with their high-scoring offense. Utah came into this season with high expectations and outside of their struggles towards the end of the season, has been one of the best teams in the country throughout the entire season. Stephen F. Austin did play Northern Iowa, Xavier, and Baylor in their non-conference schedule this season, however, went 0-3 in those games including two blowout losses. Utah is a very talented team on both sides of the ball and I think Delon Wright and the Utes pull away from the Lumberjacks in this one and cover this spread. Take Utah to cover.