College Basketball West Region First Round: #12 Yale Bulldogs vs #5 Baylor Bears

2016 NCAA Tournament
West Region – First Round
#12 Yale Bulldogs vs #5 Baylor Bears
Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, Rhode Island
Thursday, March 17, 2016, 2:45 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Baylor -5 1/2
Current Line: Baylor -5 (-115)
Opening Total: 133 1/2
Current Total: 137
Opening Money Line: Baylor -260 / Yale +220
Current Money Line: Baylor -230 / Yale +190

America East Tournament Preview
Baylor is a 5 point favorite over Yale in the West region first round.

The 22-6 Yale Bulldogs return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1962. The Ivy League champions are the #12 seed in the West region and will take on the #5 seed Baylor Bears of the Big 12 Thursday in Providence. Baylor is 22-11 overall. The winner between Baylor and Yale will face either #4 seed Duke or #13 seed UNC-Wilmington in the second round Saturday. This is the first ever meeting between Yale and Baylor.

Yale is coached by James Jones. The Bulldogs won the Ivy League with a 13-1 record. Yale has road losses at SMU, Duke, Albany, Illinois, USC, and Princeton. The Bulldogs have won five straight games. Yale has a home win over Vermont, and a road win at Lehigh. In conference, Yale has a home win over Princeton, and swept every other team in the Ivy. Only Princeton and Columbia had winning records besides Yale. The Bulldogs are 0-2 against tournament teams. Yale is 11-6-2 ATS and the total is 11-8 this season. The Bulldogs were 1 point favorites in their last game at Columbia and the total was 139. The Bulldogs won that contest 71-55.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears tied for fifth in the Big 12 at 10-8 with Iowa State. The Bears lost to Kansas 70-66 in the Big 12 semifinals. Baylor is making their 10th appearance in the tournament and fourth straight. Baylor went 8-10 against NCAA Tournament teams. The Bears have road losses at Oregon, Texas A&M, Kansas, West Virginia and Oklahoma, plus home losses to Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, and West Virginia. Baylor has home wins over Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State, Texas Southern, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State, Georgia, and Iowa State. The Bears have road wins at Iowa State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas, and TCU and a neutral site win over Texas in the Big 12 tournament. Baylor is 12-14-1 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season. Baylor was a 7 point underdog against Kansas and the total was 145.

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Yale is outscoring teams 75-63 this season. The Bulldogs are #14 in points allowed nationally. Yale is shooting 47.1% from the field and 37.4% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs make 66.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.7% from the field and 31.6% from 3 point range. Yale averages 40.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 25.6 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs are #1 nationally in rebounds allowed and #20 in rebounding. Yale averages 15.2 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 15.2 assists, 12.6 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 4.4 blocks per game.

Makai Mason averages15.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Justin Sears averages 15.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. Brandon Sherrod averages 12.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Team captain Jack Montague was kicked off the team for violating team rules. He averaged 9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Nick Victor averages 7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Sam Downey, Anthony Dallier, and Khaliq Ghani will also get minutes in the rotation.

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Baylor is outscoring teams 78-69 this season. The Bears are shooting 46.9% from the field and 37.1% from 3 point range. Baylor makes 73.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 37% from 3 point range. Baylor averages 37.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.3 per game. The Bears are #3 nationally in rebounds allowed. Baylor averages 18.1 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 7.9 steals and 4 blocks per game. Opponents average 17.8 assists, 13.6 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 4 blocks per game.

Taureen Prince averages 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Al Freeman averages 11.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Rico Gathers averages 11.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Johnathan Motley averages 11 points, 5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Lester Medford averages 9.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Terry Mason, Ishmail Wainright, King McClure and Jake Lindsay will also get minutes in the rotation.

Yale is 3-0-1 ATS in Thursday games, 6-0 ATS in neutral site games, 9-3-1 overall, 14-5-3 against teams with winning records, 5-2-1 after a cover, 5-2 against Big 12 teams, 7-3-2 in non-conference games, and 33-15-4 after a straight up win.

Baylor is 4-1 ATS after a straight up loss, in Thursday games and overall, 5-2 against teams with winning records, and 1-8 in non-conference games.

Both of these teams are among the best in the country at preventing opponents from grabbing rebounds. Yale competed with power five conference teams SMU, Illinois and USC. The Bulldogs also get the advantage of playing in nearby Providence.  I think they will keep this close but Baylor wins in the end.

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