2018 First Four College Basketball Betting Pick: TS Tigers vs. NCC Eagles

2018 First Four College Pick: TS Tigers vs. NCC Eagles

Written by on March 13, 2018

Neither Texas Southern nor North Carolina Central has ever won a game in the NCAA Tournament. That will change in the First Four on Wednesday night from Daytona, with the winner then getting the opportunity to lose to West Region No. 1 Xavier on Friday. According to the latest NCAAB odds, the Tigers come in as the College Basketball betting favorite at -5, but let’s check out if the Eagles can pull off the upset.

Texas Southern vs. North Carolina Central & Expert College Basketball Betting Pick

  • When: Wednesday, 6:40 PM ET
  • Where: University of Dayton Arena
  • TV: truTV
  • Stream: March Madness Live
  • Radio: TuneIn
  • College Basketball Betting Lines: Texas Southern Tigers -5

Team Records

  • All: Texas Southern 15-9 / North Carolina Central 19-15
  • Home: Texas Southern 8-2 / North Carolina Central 14-2
  • Away: Texas Southern 7-17 / North Carolina Central 5-13
  • ATS: Texas Southern 6-1 / North Carolina Central 5-1
  • Over/Under: Texas Southern 4-3 / North Carolina Central 3-3

Why Consider the Tigers as your College Basketball Betting Pick?

Texas Southern (15-19) is the only team in the field with a losing record, but that’s misleading. The Tigers might have had the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation in facing several ranked teams – all on the road. The team’s first 13 games were away from home and it lost them all before starting conference play. TSU enters a seven-game winning streak and beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 84-69 for the SWAC Tournament title. Trayvon Reed had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Demontrae Jefferson added 15 points and Texas Southern downed the No. 1 seed. This is the Tigers’ fourth appearance in the last five years. They’re the only team since 1985 to reach the NCAA Tournament after starting 0-13. Last season, Texas Southern was ousted in the first round by eventual national champion North Carolina. Texas Southern will try and be the first team from the SWAC to win an NCAA Tournament game since 2010 when Arkansas-Pine Bluff beat Winthrop in the opening round. Texas Southern is coached by Mike Davis, who led Indiana to the 2002 Final Four when it was the Hoosiers’ coach. Auburn transfer and 7-2 center Reed can be a difference-maker when he’s right. Reed averages 9.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game acting as a quintessential rim protector and glass cleaner. As evidenced by their overall defensive efficiency (315th) the Tigers really struggle to defend on most nights. TSU ranks just 293rd in 3-point defense and 304th in turnover percentage defense; A reasonably poised team that takes care of the ball should be able to score against the Tigers as they give up an average of 80.1 points (330th).

Likely Starters

  • Demontrae Jefferson, 5-7, So. (23.7 ppg, 4.5 apg, 81% FT)
  • Donte Clark, 6-4, Sr. (18.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
  • Derrick Bruce, 6-3, Jr. (13.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 84% FT)
  • Marquis Salmon, 6-8, Sr. (5.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 61% FG)
  • Cainan McClelland, 6-4, Fr. (2.6 ppg)

Why Consider the Eagles as your College Basketball Betting Pick?

The Eagles are on a five-game winning streak, upsetting Hampton 71-63 for the MEAC Tournament title. UNC Central used a late 11-0 run to break a 58-all tie. Pablo Rivas had 22 points and the Eagles took command after neither team scored for more than two minutes. The championship — and automatic NCAA Tournament berth — is the second in a row and third in five years for the Eagles (19-15). North Carolina Central head coach LeVelle Moton received a phone call from Texas Southern coach Mike Davis, a good friend of his, last Saturday night. The Eagles are a strong rebounding team and possess the leadership and experience from upperclassmen who will be looking to break through after a close loss in the First Four last year. North Carolina Central is not a safe College Basketball Betting Pick against Texas Southern. This is N.C. Central’s third trip to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles lost to Iowa State, 93-75, in San Antonio in 2014, their first trip to the NCAA tournament. Last season in Dayton, N.C. Central fell to UC-Davis, 67-63. The Eagles are 5-2 all-time against the SWAC. This will be their first meeting with Texas Southern, which captured the SWAC title with an 84-69 win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the title game. Forty-one percent of NC Central’s scoring comes from its bench, one of the highest figures in the country. Twelve different Eagles players average at least 10 minutes per game, and their abundance of fresh legs often weighs on opponents late in games. A Kent State transfer, Raasean Davis leads NC Central in scoring (15.3 PPG) and rebounding (7.9 RPG) and ranks in the top five nationally in field goal percentage (66.4). The Eagles lost both games he fouled out of this season.

Likely Starters

  • Jordan Perkins, 6-1, Fr. (8.4 ppg, 5.4 apg, 40.4 3FG%)
  • Reggie Gardner Jr., 6-3, Fr. (11.2 ppg, 76.0 FT%)
  • Pablo Rivas, 6-6, Sr. (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 50.2 FG%)
  • Zacarry Douglas, 6-8, Jr. (4.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 48.0 FG%)
  • Raasean Davis, 6-9, Jr. (15.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 66.7 FG%)

Game Trends & Expert Prediction

  • Texas Southern is 4-0 ATS in its last 4 games overall.
  • Texas Southern is 4-9-1 ATS in its last 14 games following a straight up win.
  • Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
  • Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
  • Eagles are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Eagles are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
  • North Carolina Central is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games following an ATS win
Texas Southern played much better competition so it’s the right College Basketball Betting Pick for this contest.