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Rice Owls vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
NCAAB: Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 3:00 PM EST
Rice has gotten off to a tough start in Conference USA at 1-4 and, overall, they have lost five of their last six games. After lighting up the scoreboard in a win the Owls’ offense struggled in the last game in a loss, which dropped them to .500 on the season. However, the defense for Rice has been the main issue this season ranking 303rd in the nation giving up an average of 74.8 ppg.
Southern Miss is along with Middle Tennessee as the only teams in Conference USA without a win. The Golden Eagles are 0-5 in conference play, have lost five in a row, and their only win in their last eight games came against a team not in Division 1. They have struggled at both ends of the floor this season and do not rank in the top 300 in the nation in ppg or opponents’ ppg. Last season Southern Miss won 20 games but lost to Rice in the only matchup facing them and that game was on the road.
Can’t Build on First WinAfter Rice beat FIU for their first conference win, their offense struggled in their last game, which was a 72-56 loss to Louisiana Tech. They were outscored by 16 points in the first half, only shot 39.2% from the floor, and allowed the Bulldogs to shoot 46.2%. This season the Owls are 4-5 on the road.
Trey Murphy III leads four players for the Owls averaging in double figures at 13.2 ppg and he had 20 points on solid shooting in the loss to Tech in the last game after scoring 12 points in each of his previous three games. Robert Martin (11.5 ppg) is the second-leading scorer for the team and he is a question mark in this game with a heel injury, which forced him to miss the Louisiana Tech game. Drew Peterson (10.9 ppg 6.9 rpg) is the leading rebounder for the club and after totaling 28 points and 17 boards in two games he went scoreless in 28 minutes in the loss to Louisiana Tech and only had three rebounds.
Bad Start, Bad FinishIn their last game, Southern Miss was at home and lost to North Texas 72-52. They were outscored by 10 points in the first half giving up 44 points and while they held the Mean Green to 28 points in the second half they only scored 18 points. They only shot 42.6% from the floor allowing North Texas to shoot 49.1%.
Gabe Watson (13.3 ppg) leads the Golden Eagles in scoring on the season and in his last two games has only totaled 23 points with seven turnovers and in both games failed to shoot over 36.5% from the floor.
There goes Watson off the steal!— Southern Miss MBB (@SouthernMissMBB) January 17, 2020
He's up to 10 points, and the noise is picking up! 🔊 pic.twitter.com/Ot1qRkVCF0
LaDavius Draine is averaging 10.5 ppg and after blowing up for 49 points in two games he is only averaging seven ppg in his last five games where he failed to reach double figures in four of them. All four of the Eagles wins this season have come at home where they are 4-6 and only two of their wins this season have come against D1 teams.
According to the betting trends from Covers.com, the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles are:
According to the betting trends from Covers.com, the Rice Owls are:
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Rice beat Southern Miss pretty bad at home last season and can they move above .500 on the road in this game? I would say yes. Three of their top four scorers are also averaging over five rebounds per game and the Owls will be solid on the glass in this game. Their offense will also rebound after a bad game facing a Southern Miss defense that has struggled all season. The Golden Eagles will get their points also facing a bad Rice defense, but their defense will let them down. Rice will get the W and cover the spread and keep Southern Miss winless in Conference USA play.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have major issues on the defensive end of the floor, and they will be glaring for Southern Miss in this game even at home. Southern Miss only ranks 286th in the nation in the Pomeroy college basketball ratings in adjusted efficiency margin while Rice ranks 202nd. The Golden Eagles have not been a good team on either side of the floor this season and while they will give up a lot of points they will also score a lot against a less than stellar Owls’ defense. This game will be a shootout and a high scoring game so the Over is THE pick.