Long Beach St simply does not defend well enough for us to ever want to lay points with them. Ranked near the bottom 50 in the nation in that regard, the 49ers do have some scorers but are error prone which is compounded by the break neck pace they play at. The Titans don't mind a fast game and come into this match up in good form, winners of 4 out of their last 5 and should be able to go toe to toe with the 49ers, who may also have one of their key contributors in Bryan Alberts sidelined with an injury.
USC plays at a moderate pace to begin with and this is a bit of a deviation from the recent past where they were one of the fastest teams in the nation. But it's noticeable the last 5 games that the Trojans have slowed it down even more letting their opponents dictate the pace of play. The Trojans' scoring is still highly efficient but face an Oregon St team with an improving defense and one of the slowest teams in the country. We expect the Beavers to put forth the same formula as they did against UCLA and based on recent form, we see a tight lower scoring game with good defenive rebounding that doesn't have enough possessions barring overtime!
If this game took place early in the season, the total would be much lower than it is tonight. Of course, recent form plays heavily and both sides have been playing higher scoring games of late but the match up of Dallas's undersized guards aren't really exploited by Portland's backcourt, who while are efficient scorers in their own right, don't really create a natural height advantage that the Mavs usually face. Portland is a much improved defensive and rebounding team and neither side is apt to run in transition. We believe it will take an above average shooting effort from both sides or an unfortunate overtime to send this over!
The Clippers have been in good form, winning 6 in a row but we expect a bit of a letdown after 2 games where they were probably heavily invested emotionally given the opponent. The Jazz faltered last night against the Knicks but Gobert looked good in his return with 23 poitns and 14 rebounds and exceeded his minutes restriction by 6. Despite being on a back to back, we expect to see the big Frenchman in the lineup and to provide a much needed defensive presence in the middle. The Clippers will still be without DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers. Montrezl Harrell was fantastic in place of Jordan but we don't see this as sustainable, especially not against Gobert.
The Warriors are still the best team in the NBA but they will be facing the 2nd best team tonight and on the road, we can't make them clear favorites. Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green remain suspended for the hosts but James Harden did make his return last game against the Timberwolves. Harden showed some rust and will be on a 30 minute restriction but we expect this to be fluid given the opponent. The Rockets' home court is one of the best in the league and in a prime time spotlight game, we can't make them worse than a very slim underdog.
UAB should be kicking themselves for losing against Western Kentucky on Thursday as they firmly took control in the 2nd half only to completely crumble down the stretch. In any case, the Blazers are a team we rate very highly and they have the shooters to keep up with this Thundering Herd team that we believe still have a major liability on defense. UAB should dominate on the glass and perhaps will have a bit more luck with fouls and free throws this time around.
It's been very much a down year for the Seahawks but to their credit they have fought hard and made a game of it against Charleston on Thursday. The Seahawks have covered 3 in a row but face a Towson team that's been steamrolling their opponents and have really found some form of late. The Tigers have won 4 of their last 5 and their offense has really come to life shooting 50% or better in 4 of their last 6 games. Towson is a defensive team first and foremost and they are capable of covering this number based on the strength of that alone.
Jacksonville St had a tough time getting by Morehead St much as we predicted but in the end, the Gamecocks came away with the win. They have struggled a bit in their last 2 games but this presents the perfect opportunity to get back on track against a very poor Eastern Kentucky team that is actully winless at home in conference play. The Colonels don't do much of anything too well and will be at a severe advantage on the glass and defend the 3 ball extremely poorly. Visitors should win with minimal fuss.
Coastal Carolina has really struggled in conference play, losing their last 6 games after a 90-65 win over UT-Arlington back in late December. We expected as much as this Chanticleers team has been overrated by the market and face a Trojans team that's beginning to find its footing with a win over South Alabama and 3 covers in their last 4 games. Aside from their poor away record, the Chanticleers have really struggled from long range which was about the only thing that would give them a chance to make this competitive. We don't see that changing today
TCU brings one of the most dynamic offenses in the entire country and we have a hard time seeing the Wildcats keep up. The Horned Frogs got back on track with a 96-73 blasting of Iowa St to follow up 3 tough losses. The Wildcats got a huge upset over Oklahoma but they will face a Horned Frogs team that, unlike Oklahoma, can pile on the points in the interior, something the Wildcats do not defend well. We make the visitors the favorites!
Hofstra is on a bit of a run winning 3 in row and 5 of their last 6. We are not the biggest believers in the Pride as their defense has limitations but we believe the hosts are a bit overrated. Charleston has struggled against offensive teams and their defense is not up to par from previous years. We see a rebounding advantage for the Pride as well and it will take an extremely poor shooting night for the Pride to be unable to keep this within a single possession!
Detroit made shockwaves last year when they defeated Oakland on the road as 19 pt underdogs. While not quite as much an outside tonight, it will still be a mammoth task for the Titans with the absence of Jones and Hogan, who in particular had a monstrous game in the upset. Still, the Titans are a team we feel is better than perceived and the Golden Grizzlies are probably their chief rival at the moment. The Golden Grizzlies defense has shown some holes and we believe the Titans can have enough success from outside to keep this within reason.