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Belmont Bruins vs. Clemson Tigers Betting Line & NIT Handicapping Prediction

Bruins vs Tigers Pick – 2014 NIT Tournament

Lost in the glitz and glamour of the NCAA Tournament is the fact that there have been some very good games in the 2014 NIT. The third-seeded Clemson Tigers are coming off of a dramatic one-point win (50-49) over the No. 2 Illinois Fighting Illini, while the fifth-seeded Belmont Bruins are coming off of a solid 82-71 win over No. 8 Robert Morris. [ad-4468020]

2014 NIT Tourney Free Pick
No. 5 Belmont (26-9, 14-2 OVC) vs. No. 3 Clemson (22-12, 10-8 ACC)
Tuesday, March 25 ESPN
NIT Quarterfinals
Spread: Clemson -7
Over/Under: 135

ATS Matchup Insight | CP Insider Gambling Preview

Now the team victors will face off in a quarterfinal matchup that will be nationally televised on ESPN Tuesday, March 25.

Belmont

The Belmont Bruins have had an excellent showing in the 2014 NIT up to this point. They kicked off the action with an 80-65 win over the Green Bay Phoenix – a team many considered to be a sleeper entering the tournament – and most recently they took down Robert Morris University, once again in double-digit fashion.

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Clemson, the Bruins’ next opponent, is arguably the best team Belmont will have seen thus far. That said, we saw the Tigers struggle to get a solid win against Illinois, which should give Belmont confidence.

Although there’s nothing wrong with confidence at this point in the year, Belmont has yet to be tested in tournament competition the way Clemson has. The Tigers needed to fight for a gritty win against Illinois, which gives them the experience needed to close out close games in an elimination situation.

The last time Belmont won a game by single digits was back on Feb 13, which could be concerning if this one comes down to the wire.
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Clemson

Clemson’s most recent victory epitomizes its entire season. More specifically, this team knows how to win with defense.

On the year, Clemson is averaging just 63.3 percent. That number is only good enough for 324th in the country, and it’s not well complemented by being the 293rd most efficient team in terms of field-goal percentage. But just like the 50-49 win over Illinois, defense is where this team has made a name for itself.

Throughout the 2013-14 season, the Tigers allowed just 57.9 points per game. That was the fourth-best mark in all of college basketball, and it’s going to play a huge role in the upcoming matchup with Belmont.

The Bruins are currently 18th in scoring, averaging 80.2 points per contest.

They shoot 50.5 percent from the field, which is good enough for second in the country, and the fact that they’re just 279th in points allowed proves that they’re the exact opposite of Clemson.

This is going to be a classic battle of offense versus defense, and while it’s possible Belmont gets hot at some point in the contest, Clemson has been better tested with its strength of schedule, and as the cliché goes: Defense wins championships.

Prediction: Clemson 68 – Belmont 59

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