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The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs host the Rice Owls Thursday in Conference USA action. The Bulldogs are 12-4 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA while Rice is 9-8 overall and 1-3 in the conference. Rice beat the Bulldogs handily last year in their only meeting. Louisiana Tech is favored this year. Tipoff is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Thomas Center in Ruston, Louisiana.
Rice cooks against FIUThe Rice University Owls scored a 92-78 win over Florida International to improve to 9-8 overall and 2-2 in Conference USA. Rice shot a robust 52.9% from the field and 40.0% from three-point range. They held FIU to 46.8% shooting from the floor and 24% from behind the arc. The Owls also out rebounded the Panthers 36-to-35 and forced 12 FIU turnovers, scoring 18 points off therm. and scored 18 points off 12 FIU turnovers.
Ako Adams led Rice with 19 points, including five three-pointers. Josh Parrish scored 18 points while Chris Mullins added 14 points with four three-pointers. Drew Peterson chipped in with 13 points and 11 rebounds along with 5 assists while Trey Murphy IIIscored 12 points with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
"I'm really proud of our guys. In the short turnaround against (FIU) and how they pressure you, it was just an unbelievable job of locking into the game plan. More importantly (was) being able to execute almost flawlessly. We just played with nine turnovers against one of the best turnover teams in the country. So, obviously, I'm really proud of our guys. It was a really resilient win after what happened Thursday night and what we've been through. This was a really big win for us and our program. I'm really happy for our guys," said coach Scott Pera, reported Rice basketball.
Bulldogs bite UTEPThe Louisiana Tech Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run late in the game to defeat Conference USA rival UTEP 64-61 last Saturday. The win improved the Bulldogs record to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA. Amorie Archibald led the Bulldogs with 14 points while Derric Jean added 13 points. DaQuan Bracey added 12 points while Mubarek Muhammed had 8 points and 13 rebounds. La. Tech shot 42 percent and held UTEP to 37 percent shooting. They forced 17 UTEP turnovers.
UTEP had a hard time protecting the basketball Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center. It was the team's first home loss of the season.— KVIA ABC-7 News (@abc7breaking) January 12, 2020
"I am so proud of this team," said head coachEric Konkol, reported Louisiana Tech hoops. "Things are easy when they are going well. It is easy to move on and feel good about things when they are going well, but when they aren't going well, you have to be tougher, together. This was an absolute example of that. It was the real will of this group, from the guys cheering on the guys to the guys on the floor, that got us this win. We felt like our only way to beat them was with speed. UTEP is big, strong and explosive and we just really tried to pressure them. We needed our defense to spark our offense and it did."
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take Louisiana Tech here to cover. The Bulldogs are 8-0 at home this year and that streak won't end Thursday night against Rice. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 64 in the Kenpom rankings and they are good on both sides of the ball. They average 77 points per game, which is 58th in the country. They have a very balanced offensive attack with three players averaging in double figures and shoot 35 percent from three point range. They are also strong defensively, ranking No. 76 in defensive efficiency. Rice is coming off a nice win, but they are very sloppy with the ball, averaging 14 turnovers per game. Tech is ranked No. 25 in steals so look for them to turn Rice over a lot.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the over in this one. Rice does not have a great defensive team. In fact, they are not even good, ranking No. 278 in defensive efficiency. Louisiana Tech has a potent offense and is a good three-point shooting team, so I expect them to score easily and often. Rice likes to push the pace, ranking No. 28 in pace of play. So they will try to run and gun because it's what they do best, but Louisiana Tech will be able to match them shot for shot and pull away for the home win. I see the Bulldogs besting their season scoring average and pushing this into the over.