College Basketball NIT Odds & Picks for Long Beach State vs. BYU: Cougars to Dominate?

College Basketball NIT Odds & Picks for Long Beach State vs. BYU: Cougars to Dominate? article feature image

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  • BYU takes on Long Beach State in the first round of the NIT.
  • The Cougars are an elite 3-point shooting team, but missed out on the NCAA Tournament after losing in the WCC Tournament.
  • Here's how our staff is betting this NIT matchup.

Long Beach State vs. BYU Odds

Wednesday, March 16
9 p.m. ET
Long Beach State Odds
-110o / -110u
BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By D.J. James

After missing the cut for the NCAA Tournament, BYU found itself in the NIT playing Long Beach State. The Beach lost to Cal State Fullerton in the finals of the Big West Tournament, so since they won the regular season, they received an auto-bid for the NIT.

LBSU is an extremely fast-paced squad. It averages only 15.5 seconds per possession on offense, so it will push the ball. That said, it doesn’t dominate on either end of the court. The Beach have an average offense and defense, and BYU should be able to handle them.

The Cougars, meanwhile, dropped quickly in the West Coast Conference standings and could not make the NCAA Tournament. However, they do play well on both sides of the ball. They love to shoot the 3 — particularly Alex Barcello — and they defend outside shots well.

This is one of LBSU’s strengths. It shot 35.7% collectively this season from the outside. BYU limits opponents to around 30%. Since that’s the case, expect the Cougars to eliminate the most efficient part of the Beach’s offense and cover this double-digit spread.

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Long Beach State Beach

By Keg

The Beach won the Big West regular season title and fell just short in the conference tournament, losing by just one to Cal State Fullerton in the championship game.

It was a wild season for the Beach. After starting 4-9, they went on an 11-game win streak to secure their spot atop the Big West.

Motivation shouldn’t be a problem for LBSU, as no one on the team has truly ever experienced postseason college basketball. Regardless of the tournament they are playing in, I expect the Beach to put forth a strong effort.

All season Long Beach State has depended on a stout defense and a streaky offense to win games. It’s what won the team 11 games in a row, but also what cost it a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Remember, LBSU gave up a 17-2 run to CSF in the Big West final.

In conference play, no team played at a faster pace, or was better when it came to defensive efficiency. The Beach’s offense is driven by Joel Murray, who led the Big West with 16.5 points per game, and Colin Slater, who was ninth in scoring with 14.4 points per game.

The Beach can truly be one of the best teams in the NIT at either end of the court, but their problem is succeeding in both areas at the same time. They are one of the most inconsistent teams I have truly ever watched, but the potential is there if LBSU can live up to the moment.

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BYU Cougars

By D.J. James

BYU can hit its 3-pointers. It ranks 38th, per ShotQuality, in Open-3 Rate.

Barcello is a massive piece of the offense for this reason, as he shot 43.9% from deep on the year. Trevin Knell and Te’Jon Lucas are also efficient shooters from beyond the arc.

LBSU is horrid when it comes to defending the perimeter. It ranks 313th in Open-3 Rate on defense and 327th on off-the-dribble 3s (ShotQuality).

This says BYU will have a litany of opportunities to knock down some outside shots. Barcello should be poised for a strong performance.

The Cougars also boast a rebounding advantage. They rank 13th in defensive rebounding, per KenPom. Long Beach State does not excel in crashing the glass on either end of the floor. That means Fousseyni Traore should have multiple second chances throughout the game. Caleb Lohner should see similar opportunities.

Lastly, LBSU has manufactured 21.4% of its total points this year on fouls. This will be the one area BYU might have an issue. The Cougars have a tendency to foul on occasion, so if the Beach can drive to the hole and draw some contact, it could bring them within the spread.

That said, since BYU touts a significant advantage on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, it’s hard to envision that fouls will have much of an impact on its offense.

Long Beach State vs. BYU Betting Pick

By D.J. James

BYU is the better team here. It can defend the 3, which LBSU likes to shoot. It can also rebound at a far better clip on offense and defense, and shoot the 3 well itself.

Seeing as the Cougars have a competitive advantage in every metric except getting to the free-throw line, all they will have to do is limit fouling and they should be golden for a cover.

Take BYU here. It should dominate from deep to build a wide margin of victory.

Pick: BYU -11 (Play to -12)

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Jun 20, 2024 UTC