Fairleigh Dickinson-Prairie View A&M Betting Guide: Free Throws Decide NCAA Tournament Play-In Game
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jahlil Jenkins
NCAA Tournament Betting Odds: Prairie View A&M-Fairleigh Dickinson
- Spread: Fairleigh Dickinson -2
- Over/Under: 149.5
- Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
- TV: truTV
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Fairleigh Dickinson (18-13 against the spread) last had a loss on Feb. 14 against a team they beat in the Northeast Conference finals, St. Francis (PA).
Prairie View A&M (18-14-2 ATS) has suffered just one defeat in 2019, a Feb. 9 trip to Texas Southern — after starting 1-11, the Panthers went 21-1 to finish the year. Both of these teams have combined to cover nine of their past 10 games.
Both teams have a big day of travel to Dayton, with the Knights coming from New Jersey while the Panthers come from South Texas. The more rested team will be Fairleigh Dickinson, last playing in their conference tournament victory on March 12. The Northeast Tournament spaces out the season ending tournament, making this opening NCAA Tournament game for the Knights just their fourth game in the last 13 days. This will be Prairie View’s fourth in a week.
The winner of this play-in game in Dayton snags a No. 16 seed, squaring off against No. 1 Gonzaga in Salt Lake City, Utah. Which one can get it done?
Mismatches when Fairleigh Dickinson Has the Ball
The Knights are one of the best shooting teams in the country, ranking top 30 in offensive effective field goal percentage. Specifically, the Knights are No 5 in 3-point percentage. While they are prone to turnovers, Fairleigh Dickinson is decent on offensive glass and make their free throws at a high enough clip to rank 54th.
One note to keep in mind is depth. Fairleigh Dickinson is 345th in Bench Minutes — it has a thin rotation. But the NEC Tournament, unlike many others, isn’t packed into a few days. The Knights should be well rested.
If there is an issue with the style of play, it will be Fairleigh Dickinson’s rank of 237th in turnovers 334th offensive rebounds. It is safe to say the Panthers offense is the focal point of this team, in lieu of a defense that ranks 294th in defensive efficiency.
Mismatches when Prairie View A&M Has the Ball
Prairie View A&M is at its best when it does not have the ball. A rank of second in turnovers, 12th in defensive steals and 25th against opponent 3-point shot make the Panthers have the best defense of the No. 16 seeds playing in the opening round. This will be an offense vs. defense showdown.
Offense can be a challenge for Prairie View A&M, though. The Panthers have a 3-point point distribution of 332nd in the nation, mostly due to their shooting percentage rank of 304th from deep. They do a lot of other things well enough on offense to compensate, but against a hot-shooting FDU, we’ll see if they can keep pace.
Despite the shooting issues, Prairie View A&M has scored at least 80 points in each of their last six conference games, with the exception of Southern.
Free throws are a big deal in the postseason. Fairleigh Dickinson has an above average rank of 54th when getting to the charity stripe, while Prairie View A&M shot at a clip bad enough to earn 271th.
Both teams can get to the line, but I trust FDU and its offense more than Prairie View’s in this game.
THE PICK: Fairleigh Dickinson -2, up until FDU -3.5