East Carolina vs. Houston, 01/11/17 – Expert Prediction
Written by: Brian Spaen
Houston Cougars (12-4 SU, 6-6 ATS, 3-9 O/U) vs East Carolina Pirates (9-8 SU, 4-6 ATS, 4-6 O/U)
When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 6:00 PM ET, Minges Coliseum in Greenville, NC
Line: Houston -8
East Carolina will try to stop a three-game losing streak when it hosts Houston on Wednesday night. The Cougars suffered their first AAC loss going down to Cincinnati last time out. The Pirates are coming off of an unsuccessful road trip at UCF and Temple. Houston won the last meeting between these two teams.
Houston falls for first time in AAC play
Cincinnati stays undefeated in conference play after passing the latest big test in the season, a 67-58 road win at Houston. Both teams struggled from the field as was expected with their tough defenses, and the Cougars went a dismal 3-for-19 from 3-point range. The home side didn’t even get close to its normal average of 76.3 points per game (127th nationally). Junior guard Rob Gray Jr. (20.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg) led the team with 21 points, but it came at the cost of going 9-of-22 from the field.
Senior guard Damyean Dotson (15.1 pg, 7.3 rpg) picked up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Galen Robinson Jr. (5.9 ppg, 5.1 apg) also stepped up again with 10 points, his second consecutive double-digit outing. Houston will hope to have its power inside back — junior forward Devin Davis (10.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has missed the last two games with a foot injury and is questionable for this matchup.
ECU finds offense, but now has defensive woes
East Carolina’s offense finally showed a little bit of life in their last game, but it wasn’t nearly enough in the 81-62 defeat to Temple. The Pirates were held to 42.4 percent shooting and made just 3-of-14 3-pionters. ECU was also outrebounded 39-28. Nobody on the team was able to hit double digits in points — the most came from sophomore guard Kentrell Barkley (10.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) with nine points and six rebounds.
The team went nine deep to find some offense, and it remains devoid of any star talent. ECU’s offensive production churns at a dismal 63 points (337th nationally) and 12.7 assists per contest (252nd nationally). They rely on their defense to hold teams down, but it was no match for Temple who was able to eclipse 80 points, nearly 20 more points than the Pirates give up on average. Barkley at times has been the lone scoring producer on the team and needs some of his teammates to step it up.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a SU loss
- 19-9-1 ATS in their last 29 games against AAC teams
East Carolina is:
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games
- 3-11-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings against Houston
Houston is the better team by a wide margin in this matchup. Both defenses hold teams to about the same amount, but the Cougars average 13.3 more points per game. Even on the road, expect Houston to win big.
Pick: Houston -8
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