College Basketball NIT Semifinals Betting Selections: #3 Clemson Tigers vs #1 SMU Mustangs

2014 National Invitation Tournament Semifinals
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York

#3 Clemson Tigers vs #1 Southern Methodist Mustangs
Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: SMU -2 1/2
Current Line: SMU -3 1/2
Opening Total: 119
Current Total: 119
Opening Money Line: SMU -160 / Clemson +135
Current Money Line: SMU -170 / Clemson +150

Clemson is a 3 point underdog against SMU in the NIT semifinals Tuesday in New York.
Clemson is a 3 point underdog against SMU in the NIT semifinals Tuesday in New York.

The 26-9 Southern Methodist Mustangs have advanced to the NIT semifinals for the first time in program history. SMU will take on the 23-12 Clemson Tigers in the semifinals Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Clemson has never won the NIT but lost in the championship game in both 1999 and 2007. The winner between Clemson and SMU will face either Florida State or Minnesota in the 2014 championship game Thursday night. Clemson won the only previous meeting against SMU in a tournament in Nashville in 1970.

Clemson went 10-8 in the ACC and were alone in sixth. The Tigers lost to Duke 63-62 in the ACC quarterfinals. Clemson was given a #3 seed in the NIT. The Tigers beat #6 seed Georgia State 78-66 in the first round, #2 Illinois 50-49, and #5 Belmont 73-68 in the quarterfinals last Tuesday. All three games were at Clemson. The Tigers hosted #2 Illinois because of a scheduling conflict at Illinois’s home arena.

SMU went 12-6 in the American Athletic Conference, and were part of a three way tie for third. The Mustangs were upset by Houston 68-64 in the AAC quarterfinals. SMU lost three straight games heading into the NIT, which likely kept them out of the Big Dance. They were given the #1 overall seed in the NIT. The Mustangs beat #8 seed UC-Irvine 68-54 in the first round and then beat #5 LSU 80-67 in the second round. SMU then beat #2 seed California 67-65 in the quarterfinals last Wednesday.

Clemson is coached by Brad Brownell. The Tigers have losses to Massachusetts in a tournament in Charleston, at Arkansas, at Auburn, Florida State, at North Carolina, Pittsburgh twice, at Syracuse, at Notre Dame, Virginia, at Wake Forest, and Duke. Clemson has key wins over South Carolina, Temple & Davidson in Charleston, at Boston College, Duke, at Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, at Florida State, Georgia Tech three times, NC State, Maryland and Miami. Clemson is 15-12-3 ATS and the total is 16-14 this season.

Clemson is outscoring teams 64-58 this season. The Tigers are #4 in points allowed, but are #318 out of 351 teams in scoring. Clemson is shooting 42.5% from the field and 30.7% from 3 point range. The Tigers are #269 or worse in both categories. Clemson is #33 nationally in free throw shooting making 74.2% from the line. Tiger opponents are shooting 39.3% from the field and 28.4% from 3 point range. Clemson is #14 in field goal defense and #1 in three point defense nationally. The Tigers average 35.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.9 per game. Clemson averages 10.6 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 6.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.3 assists, 10.5 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.

Forward K.J. McDaniels averages 17.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.8 blocks per game. Guard Rod Hall averages 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Guard Damarcus Harrison averages 7.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.  Guard Jordan Roper averages 7.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, and  1.4 assists per game. Center Landry Nnoko averages 6.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Devin Coleman,  Adonis Filer, Josh Smith, Ibrahin Djambo, and Sidy Djitte will also get time in the rotation. Forward Jaron Blossomgame is out for the season with a shin injury.

SMU is coached by Larry Brown. SMU has losses at Arkansas, Virginia in tournament in Corpus Christi, TX, at Cincinnati, at Louisville twice, at South Florida, at Temple, at Memphis, and Houston. SMU has key wins over TCU, Rhode Island,  Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, at Wyoming, UConn twice, South Florida, Central Florida twice, Hofstra, Rutgers twice, Houston twice, Memphis, Temple, and Cincinnati. SMU is 19-12 ATS and the total is 11-19 this season.

SMU is outscoring teams 72-62 this season. The Mustangs are #22 in points allowed nationally. SMU is shooting 48.5% from the field and 38.3% from 3 point range. The Mustangs are #18 nationally in field goal percentage and #42 in 3 point shooting. SMU makes 67.9% of their free throws. Mustang opponents are shooting 37.9% from the field and 31.9% from 3 point range. SMU is #4 in field goal defense and #55 in three point defense nationally. The Mustangs average 36.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.6. SMU averages 15.5 assists, 13.9 turnovers, 7.6 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.8 assists, 14.3 turnovers, 7.9 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Guard Nic Moore averages 13.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Forward Markus Kennedy averages 12 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Nick Russell averages 9.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Center Yanick Moreira averages 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Forward Ben Moore averages 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Keith Frazier, Shawn Williams, Cannen Cunningham, Ryan Manuel, and  Sterling Brown also get significant time in the rotation.

Clemson is 2-6-2 ATS in Tuesday games and and 1-4-1 after a straight up win.

SMU is 4-1 ATS in non-conference games, 11-4 after a straight up win, 8-3 after failing to cover, 10-4 against teams with winning records, 15-7 overall, 2-5 in Tuesday games, and 5-22-1 in neutral site games.

Clemson is one of the best defensive teams in the country, but they struggle to score. SMU isn’t quite as good on defense, but still decent. This game will be played in the 50’s and maybe even the 40’s. I think SMU pulls out the close win to advance to the championship.

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