NCAA Tournament Odds: St. Peter's and Purdue collide

By: Brad Young | Thursday, March 17, 2011

The tops seeds in the Chicago pod are (2) Notre Dame,
(3) Purdue, (6) Georgetown and (7) Texas A&M.
Purdue (25-7 straight up, 18-11 against the spread) earned the third seed in the Southwest Region, and squares off against 14th-seed St. Peter’s (20-13 SU, 20-7 ATS) in Friday’s matchup.  The Boilermakers are one of seven Big Ten teams to reach the NCAA Tournament, while the Peacocks are the lone representative from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Purdue finished the regular season ranked 13th in the Associated Press poll, finishing second to top-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten.  The Boilermakers are playing in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive year, advancing to the regional semifinals the previous two seasons.

St. Peter’s finished fourth in the MAAC during the regular season before winning the conference tournament.  The Peacocks have advanced to the NCAA Tournament just twice in their history, losing to Texas in the first round in 1991 and falling to Massachusetts in the opening round of the 1995 tournament.

Don Best shows Purdue as decided 14 ½-point ‘chalk’ over St. Peter’s, with the total set at 119 ½.  TNT will provide coverage of Friday’s contest beginning at 4:20 p.m. PT from Chicago’s United Center.

Purdue enters this contest having dropped its last two games SU, and previous three ATS.  The Boilermakers fell to Michigan State last Friday as a seven-point neutral-court favorite, 74-56.  The combined 130 points slithered below the 130 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 4-1 the past five games.

Purdue was unable to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit, 37-23, and finished the contest trailing in rebounding (39-25) and assists (13-11).  The Boilermakers also struggled by shooting 37 percent (19-of-51) from the field and 19 percent (3-of-16) from behind the arc.

St. Peter’s ended the regular season with back-to-back losses before beating Loyola (Md.), Fairfield and the Iona Gaels in the MAAC Tournament.  The Peacocks defeated the Gaels March 7 as a nine-point road underdog, 62-57.

The combined 119 points failed to eclipse the 130 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the second consecutive contest.

St. Peter’s jumped out to a six-point halftime advantage, 26-20, and finished the game by shooting a robust 46 percent (22-of-48) from the field and 47 percent (7-of-15) from 3-point land.  The Peacocks were outrebounded, 33-27, but they did deliver more assists, 12-7.

Forward Jeron Belin paced the offense with 17 points before fouling out, while guard Nick Leon provided 15.  Guard Wesley Jenkins had 14 and five rebounds in the victory, while forward Ryan Bacon provided eight and nine.

Purdue guard Ryne Smith (concussion) is ‘probable’ versus the Peacocks, while guard John Hart (foot) is ‘questionable.’  St. Peter’s is listing no significant injuries for this contest.

The Boilermakers and Peacocks have never played each other in men’s basketball, and the winner.will take on the victor in the Georgetown, VCU contest.

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