NIT Quarterfinals: Nevada Wolf Pack at Stanford Cardinal

2012 NIT Quarterfinals
#5 Nevada Wolf Pack at #3 Stanford Cardinal
Maples Pavilion – Palo Alto, California
Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Stanford -5 1/2
Current Line: Stanford -6
Opening Total: 137 1/2
Current Total: 138
Opening Money Line: Stanford -270 / Nevada +230
Current Money Line: Stanford -275 / Nevada +235

Stanford and Nevada meet Wednesday in the NIT quarterfinals in Palo Alto. The winner will take on UMass in the NIT semifianls next week in New York.

The 23-11 Stanford Cardinal, coached by Johnny Dawkins, finished 7th in the Pac 12. The Cardinal lost to rival California in the Pac 12 quarterfinals. Stanford received a bid to the NIT as a #3 seed. The Cardinal beat #6 seed Cleveland St 76-65 in the first round, and #7 seed Illinois St 92-88 in overtime in the second round. Both games were in Palo Alto.  Stanford guard Andrew Bright had 29 points and 8 assists against Illinois St. He made six 3 pointers.

The Cardinal will host the #5 seed Nevada Wolf Pack in the quarterfinals. The winner will take on Massachusetts in the semifinals next week in New York City. Nevada won the WAC regular season title with a 28-6 record. Nevada was upset by Louisiana Tech in the WAC semifinals and was not selected for an at large bid to the NCAA tournament. Nevada, coached by David Carter, won at #4 seed Oral Roberts 68-59 in the first round, and won at home against #8 Bucknell 75-67 in the second round. Nevada forward Olek Czyz had 24 points for the Wolf Pack in the Bucknell win.

Stanford leads the series 20-9 against Nevada. The Cardinal have won 5 in a row against the Wolf Pack but the two schools haven’t played since 1999. The two schools are roughly 250 miles apart from each other.

Nevada has losses to Missouri St, UNLV, BYU, Idaho, and Iona. The Wolf Pack have wins over Pacific, Bradley, Washington, Arizona St, and Montana. Nevada swept every team in the WAC except for Idaho.

Stanford has wins over Fresno St, Colorado St, Oklahoma St, North Carolina St, San Diego, UCLA, USC twice, Oregon St twice, Utah, Colorado twice, Arizona St twice, and Cal. The Cardinal have losses to Syracuse, Butler, Oregon twice, Washington St, Washington, Cal twice, Arizona, UCLA, and Utah.

Nevada is outscoring opponents 71-65 this season. The Wolf Pack are shooting 45.2% from the field and 37% from 3 point range. Nevada makes 65.3% of their free throws. The Wolf Pack averages 37.2 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +4.2. Nevada averages 13 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.8 blocks a game. Wolf Pack opponents are shooting 40.9% from the field and 33.1%  from 3 point range. Nevada forces 12.8 turnovers a game.

Nevada guard Deonte Burton averages 14.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. He leads the Wolf Pack in scoring, assists, and steals. He makes 37.5% of his three point attempts. Malik Story averages 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game. He makes 41.9% of his three pointers. Olek Czyz averages 13.9 points, and 6.4 rebounds a game. Dario Hunt averages 10.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 2.4 blocks a game. He leads the team in rebounding and blocks.

Stanford is outscoring opponents 71-63 this season. The Cardinal are shooting 44.1% from the field, and 36.7% from 3 point range. Stanford makes 66.2% from the free throw line. The Cardinal average 36.8 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +4.7. Stanford averages 12.5 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 6.3 steals and 3.2 blocks a game. Cardinal opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field and 33.5% from 3 point range. Stanford forces 14.8 turnovers a game.

Stanford  guard Chasson Randle averages 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals a game to lead the team. He is shooting 43.1% from 3 point range.  Forward-center Josh Owens averages 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds a game to lead the team and 1.1 steals to tie for the team lead. Aaron Bright averages 11.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists to lead the team. He makes 40.5% of his 3 point attempts. Anthony Brown averages 7.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists a game. Josh Huestis leads the team in blocks with 1.1 a game and also averages 4.7 rebounds a game. Reserve guard Gabriel Harris is out for the season with a knee injury.

Nevada is 19-9-1 ATS and the total is 16-13 this season. Stanford is 16-15 ATS and the total is 17-14 this season. The Wolf Pack are 11-2 ATS in road games, 5-1-1 against teams with winning records, 10-2 on the road against teams with winning home records, 12-3-1 after a cover, 24-8 in non-conference games, and 5-2-1 overall. The Cardinal are 4-0 ATS after failing to cover, 6-1 against WAC teams, 7-2 after scoring 90 points or more, 27-12 ATS at home against teams with winning road records, 1-4 after a straight up win, and in non-conference games.

Stanford has only lost 3 times this season at home, but Nevada is a very good road team. Nevada certainly has the talent to pull off the upset against a Stanford team that has been inconsistent this season. Whether you want to risk taking Nevada on the money line or not is up to you, but either way 6 seems like a lot of points in this contest.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot in March and are releasing winners and key plays every day until they cut down the nets in New Orleans next month.


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