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LSU vs. Maryland Betting Guide: Will Tigers Turn This NCAA Tournament Game Into a Track Meet?

LSU vs. Maryland Betting Guide: Will Tigers Turn This NCAA Tournament Game Into a Track Meet? article feature image

Matt Stamey, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Naz Reid

#3 LSU vs. #6 Maryland: NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: LSU -2.5
  • Over/Under: 145.5
  • Date: Saturday, March 23
  • Time: 12:10 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Jacksonville, Fla.

>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAA Tournament odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

LSU and Maryland each took different paths to the Round of 32.

LSU had an up-and-down, athletically dominant win over Yale, which couldn’t make a 3 to save its life until the final minutes. Maryland, meanwhile, was in big trouble against Belmont but rallied to win a nail-biter.

Is there anything about those games that can help us when these teams play each other?

The Tigers Are A Blast to Watch

LSU is fun to watch.  Really fun. The Tigers’ athleticism is just off the charts. Their point guard can score in the paint with flair, and their big man can shoot 3s. Their malleability makes them very difficult to defend.

The paint will be fascinating because of the statistical profiles of each team. LSU is extremely good at crashing the offensive rebounds; in fact it was the best team in the SEC in that metric. But Maryland, because of its two big men, Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith (each 6-foot-10), was the best in the Big Ten at not allowing offensive rebounds. That battle will be critical.

It will also be interesting to see whether Fernando or Smith tracks Naz Reid around the perimeter, and if they can do so without needing help.

The point guard matchup between LSU’s Tremont Waters and Maryland’s Anthony Cowan is phenomenal, but Maryland has guys in both of those positions who can at least limit the Tigers’ most potent weapons.

Can Maryland Clean Up on the Offensive Glass?

The Terrapins can be a little tough to watch sometimes.

Against Belmont, the Terps got in real trouble because in the half-court because their 3s weren’t falling early. What brought them back into the game was their incredibly physical advantage inside with Smith and Fernando.

Belmont had absolutely no answer, and Maryland had 15 offensive rebounds, with each big man having a double-double. The two big men absolutely saved Maryland’s season, because somehow the team was able to win a game where it shot 6-for-22 from 3 and forced only five turnovers. Those extra possessions were critical.

Against LSU, you would think that physical advantage for Maryland would be gone, but not so fast.
LSU basically plays four smaller players around Reid most of the time, and despite the fact we think of the Tigers as very athletic, they were miserable at keeping teams off the offensive glass this year — 263rd in the country.

It got a little better in conference play, but not by much. The way Maryland won the Belmont game, the Terps can absolutely win this game, too.

For Maryland, getting those extra possessions with offensive rebounds will be critical, but the Terps need to limit their turnovers, something they’ve had a really hard time doing this year.

LSU likes to get up and down the court (as we just saw against Yale) and the Terps were dead-last in the Big Ten in turnover percentage. That’s really bad news, and along with offensive rebounds, is the area that may decide the game.

Analysis, Bet to Watch

We all just watched LSU run back and forth for two hours the other day, and I think there’s an expectation that the same thing can just happen again. But that was against Yale, who likes to play really fast anyway, and can’t stop anyone at the basket.

Maryland would be crazy to want any kind of pace in this game. I would expect the strategy (as it has been a lot of the year) for the Terps is to be very deliberate, take open 3s when they come, and have their bigs try to get offensive rebounds.

LSU doesn’t force a lot of turnovers, so it’s possible Maryland could have a clean game there (much like against Belmont) and prevent run-out opportunities. I like the under here, as I think both teams are going to be forced into a physical game in the half-court.

Ken’s Pick: Under 145.5

Sean Koerner’s LSU-Maryland Projections

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: LSU -1
  • Total: 144
  • Proj Score: LSU 72.5 | Maryland 71.5
  • Win Probability: LSU 50.2% | Maryland 49.8%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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