Yale vs. LSU
|Date & Time||Thursday March 21, 2019, 12:40 PM (EDT)|
VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
LSU Tigers -7.5 -- O/U: 156.5
The Yale Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers meet in NCAA tournament first round action from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on Thursday afternoon.
The Yale Bulldogs come into the NCAA tournament as a #14 seed, finishing the year with an overall record of 22-7, which included non-conference wins over Cal and Miami as well as losses to fellow tournament teams like Duke and Vermont. The Bulldogs finished the conference portion of their schedule with a record of 10-4, finishing tied for the top spot in the conference, losing out on the top seed to Harvard after a tiebreaker. The Bulldogs defeated Princeton in the semis before taking down Harvard by a final score of 97-85 in the conference championship game. Miye Oni leads Yale in scoring and assists with 17.6 points and 3.5 assists per game while Alex Copeland came 2nd in scoring with 13.8 points per game and Blake Reynolds was 3rd with 11.4 points per game. Jordan Bruner finished 4th in team scoring with 10.2 points while leading Yale in rebounding with 8.2 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Yale is averaging 81.1 points per game on 49.8% shooting from the field, which is the 6th-best field goal percentage in D-I this season, as well as 37.2% from behind the 3-point line and 73.6% from the foul line this season.
The LSU Tigers come into the conference tournament as a #3 seed, finishing the regular season with an overall record of 26-6, including non-conference wins over St. Mary’s and Memphis as well as losses to Houston, Florida State and Oklahoma State. The Tigers then proceeded to go 16-2 in the SEC portion of their schedule, finishing the year as the SEC regular season champions and earning the top seed in the conference tournament. LSU’s stay in the SEC tournament was short-lived though, as LSU was upended in the quarterfinal by Florida by a final score of 76-73. Tremont Waters led LSU in scoring and assists with 15.1 points and 5.9 assists while Naz Reid came 2nd in scoring and tops in rebounding with 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season. Skylar Mays came right behind with 13.4 points per game while Ja’vonte Smart chipped in 11.5 points per game as LSU’s 4th double-digit scorer this season. As a team, LSU is averaging 81.4 points per game on 46.2% shooting from the field, 32.3% from behind the arc and 75.4% from the foul line this season.
Yale is 11-3 ATS in their last 14 neutral site games and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600 while the over is 5-0 in their last 5 games against the SEC. LSU is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record while the over is 4-0 in their last 4 neutral site games.
The LSU Tigers are definitely a solid team after winning the SEC regular season title and should be favored here, especially with this game being in Florida, a region that the Tigers are comfortable playing in. However, the Tigers will still be without head coach Will Wade who is in the midst of an NCAA-wide investigation. There’s something to be said for these guys being athletes, but as a team you still look for guidance from your head coach, a guy who is with you all season, and then in the biggest game of the year for the team, he isn’t there. The Bulldogs have their work cut out for them, but Yale is still a talented team that can flat out score the basketball. I personally have Yale advancing in my bracket, but as far as this game goes, I’d take a shot with Yale and the points in this one.