College Basketball CIT Championship Betting Picks: Yale Bulldogs at Murray State Racers

2014 Tournament Championship
Yale Bulldogs at Murray State Racers

CSFB Center – Murray, Kentucky
Thursday, April 3, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS Sports Network
Opening Line: Murray State -5 1/2
Current Line: Murray State -7 1/2
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 137 1/2
Opening Money Line: Murray State -310 / Yale +255
Current Money Line: Murray State -340 / Yale +280

Murray State is a 7.5 point favorite at home against Yale in the CIT Championship Game.
Murray State is a 7.5 point favorite at home against Yale in the CIT Championship Game.

The 22-11 Murray State Racers host the 19-13 Yale Bulldogs in the Championship game of the 2014 Tournament Thursday night. Neither team has ever won a postseason tournament in their history. Yale is looking to become the first Ivy League team to win a postseason tournament since Princeton won the 1975 NIT. Yale won the only previous meeting against Murray State in a tournament in 1978 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Yale went 9-5 in the Ivy League and finished second behind 13-1 Harvard. The Bulldogs lost their last two games of the season before the CIT. Yale earned their second trip to the CIT in the last 3 seasons. The Bulldogs beat Quinnipiac 69-68 in the first round of the CIT. That would be the only home game for Yale in the tournament. The Bulldogs won on the road at Holy Cross 71-66 in the second round, at Columbia 72-69 in the quarterfinals and then beat VMI 75-62 in the semifinals Tuesday.

Murray State went 13-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Racers won the West Division but were upset by Eastern Kentucky 86-83 in the OVC semifinals. Murray State also lost two straight games before the CIT. The Racers won at Missouri State 66-63 in the first round. Murray State would play the rest of their games at home in the CIT. The Racers beat Nebraska-Omaha 86-62 in the second round, Towson 85-73 in the quarters, and Pacific 98-75 in the semifinals Tuesday night.

Yale is coached by James Jones. The Bulldogs have losses at Connecticut, at Rutgers, at Mercer, Bryant, at Providence, at Albany, at Saint Louis, Vermont, at Brown, at Columbia, at Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth. Yale has key wins at Lafayette, at Hartford, New Hampshire, Brown, Columbia twice, Cornell twice, at Dartmouth, at Harvard, Penn twice and Princeton. The Bulldogs are 13-9 ATS and the total is 8-13-1 this season.

Yale is outscoring teams 67-66 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 42.5% from the field and 33% from 3 point range. Yale makes 69.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.4% from the field and 36.9% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs are #296 out 0f 351 teams in 3 point defense. Yale averages 35.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.8 per game. The Bulldogs are #7 nationally in rebounds allowed. Yale averages 11.5 assists, 13 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 4.2 blocks per game.

Forward Justin Sears averages 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game. He injured his wrist in the semifinal win over VMI and is listed as doubtful against Murray State. Guard Javier Duren averages 13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Armani Cotton averages 8.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1 assist per game. Forward Brandon Sherrod averages 6.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Nick Victor, Matt Townsend, Jack Montague, Greg Kelley, Jesse Pritchard, Anthony Dallier, and Isaiah Salafia will also get time in the rotation for the deep Bulldogs. Forward Jeremiah Kreisberg has missed the entire season with a back injury.

Murray State is coached by Steve Prohm. The Racers have losses at Valparaiso, at Old Dominion, at Auburn, Middle Tennessee, at St. Mary’s (CA), at Western Kentucky, at Dayton, at SIU-Edwardsville, at Belmont, and at SE Missouri State. Murray State is 16-1 at home this season. The Racers have key wins over Evansville, Southern Illinois, SE Missouri State, at Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, and Tennessee Tech. Murray State is 19-10-1 ATS and the total is 16-10 this season.

Murray State is outscoring teams 78-72 this season. The Racers are #31 nationally in scoring. Murray State is shooting 47.6% from the field and 38.1% from 3 point range. The Racers are #43 or better in both categories. Murray State makes 67.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.3% from the field and 32.3% from 3 point range. The Racers average 36.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.1 per game. Murray State averages 13.1 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.2 assists, 11.8 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Guard Cameron Payne averages 16.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Forward Jarvis Williams averages 14.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Guard T.J. Sapp averages 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Jeffrey Moss averages 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Guard Dexter Fields averages 9.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Jonathan Fairell and and Tyler Rambo will also get significant minutes in the rotation.

Yale is 4-0 ATS in road games, 4-1 in Thursday games, 8-2 after a straight up win, 6-2 after a cover, and 5-2 against teams with winning home records.

Murray State is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning records and in non-conference games, 5-1-1 after a straight up win, 5-1 against teams with winning road records, 4-1 in Thursday games and after scoring 90 points or more, 8-2 after a cover. 16-5-1 in home games, 18-7-1 overall, and 2-5 after a straight up win of 20 points or more.

Yale has more size and depth than Murray State. However, I don’t think Yale can score enough to keep up with the high-octane Racers, especially if Sears is unable to play. I think Murray State wins this game going away.

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