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This is a first round matchup in the West Coast Conference Tournament taking place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. It has obviously been a disappointing season for both teams but more so for the Lions. They were picked as high as fourth in the preseason WCC rankings but have come no where close to that although their season has been better than their 1-15 record indicates. After starting 0-2 with expected losses at BYU and St. Mary's, Loyola-Marymount jumpstarted the season with a win over Santa Clara in January but has not tasted victory since. The Lions have lost 14 straight games and some of those have been excruciating with exactly half of those coming by four points or fewer so while the season has been tough to take, it feasibly could be better. Additionally, nine of 10 single-digit losses were a single possession game with less than two minutes to play. One of those close losses came against Portland, a team that swept the Lions, but beating a team three times in the same season is difficult. The Pilots finished 4-12 in the WCC with the other two wins coming against San Francisco and San Diego by two and three points respectively and unlike the Lions, a lot of their losses were not close as nine of the 12 defeats came by at least 11 points. Portland is coming off a 29-point loss at Gonzaga to end the regular season and it is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following a loss of more than 20 points. Meanwhile the Lions are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a loss. This sets up very similar to two years ago when Loyola-Marymount came into the WCC Tournament as the lower seed against the Pilots and had lost both regular season meetings but went on to win the third meeting of the season. Expect a similar outcome this year. Play (791) Loyola-Marymount Lions
In his third season at Tulane, Ed Conroy has turned around the fortunes in New Orleans and has the Green Wave on the verge of a 20-win campaign for the first time since 2000. However, despite five returning starters this season, Tulane has fallen into a disturbing trend recently of giving up early double-digit leads to the opponent before storming back in the second half. Conroy promises to have his team focused from the opening tip in Greenville, thanks to the revenge motive from last year’s season-closing loss to the Pirates, a defeat that denied Tulane a winning season. In this series, Tulane has won and covered 9 of the last 14 matchups, but the Green Wave has dropped the last two contests against East Carolina under Jeff Lebo, the former Carolina Tar Heel guard. Lebo learned his lessons well from the legendary Dean Smith as a 4-year letterman at UNC and he’s made strides at East Carolina, but this unit is not over the hump yet, going just 2-7 SU this season against opponents with a .600 or greater win percentage. In addition, the Pirates are coming off a same-season revenger with Southern Miss and have Marshall – who pummeled them by 19 in January – waiting on deck in their Last Home Game. Two pretty evenly matched teams, but we’ll take the points and grab the Green with the avenging Wave. We recommend a 1-unit play on Tulane.
La Salle is adroitly navigating potential banana peels in the A-10 and staying on the safe side of the Big Dance cut line, thanks mainly to a stellar backcourt that was augmented by the mid-December addition of Virginia Tech transfer Tyrone Garland (12.1 ppg), who has emerged as loop's best six man. Coach Mike Lonergan's GWU (1-5 SU, 0-6 vs. the spread is last six) is losing altitude fast in the later stages of the season, and the Explorers already beat the Colonials by 9 at Foggy Bottom on Feb. 2, when six of HC John Giannini's charges scored in double figures. Play La Salle