Where: The HTC Center, Conway, SC
When: Sunday, November 18, 6:30 PM. ET.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will be going for their fourth consecutive win when they face the UCF Knights for the Myrtle Beach Invitational championship on Sunday night.
Knights Going For Fourth Win In Five Games
The Knights have gotten off to a good start this season, winning three of their first four games. They will be trying to win their third consecutive game and fourth in their last five contests when they face the Hilltoppers on Sunday.
You heard the man! Championship match on ESPN2 at 6:30pm tomorrow 👊 pic.twitter.com/FDLj5Kc9h2
— UCF Men's Basketball (@UCF_MBB) November 17, 2018
The Knights have played well defensively during their Myrtle Beach invitational run, holding their first two opponents to 53.5 points. They will need to keep up the defensive pressure against a Western Kentucky team that is capable of putting up a lot of points.
UCF is averaging 77 points per game, and the team matched their season average against Saint Joseph’s in their last game. The Knights finished the game shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from three-point range. They will be hoping their hot shooting continues when they play the Hilltoppers.
B.J. Taylor leads the team with 17.5 points, two rebounds, and two assists per game. Aubrey Dawkins is averaging 14.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while Terrell Allen is putting up 12.5 points, 3.3 assists and 4.8 steals per game.
Hilltoppers Trying To Ride Defense To Title
The Hilltoppers advanced to the championship game thanks to their impressive defense against West Virginia in their last game. They will be trying to do the same thing against the Knights as they try to win the championship on Sunday.
"We fed off the energy. … Shoutout to our fans. We can't do it without our fans. We appreciate them for coming down here. We're proud of the fans. We love them." — @CB_ONES23
You were amazing last night, Hilltopper Nation. We need you all one more time Sunday for the 'ship. pic.twitter.com/oFIbpDPz5f
— #SellOutDiddle (@WKUBasketball) November 17, 2018
Western Kentucky held West Virginia to 33 percent shooting from the field and 24 percent from three-point range. After falling behind in the first half, the team increased the defensive pressure in the second half, holding the Mountaineers to 22 points. If they play defense like they did against West Virginia, they should be able to win this tournament.
Offensively, the Hilltoppers struggled against the Mountaineers, scoring 63 points. They will be trying to bounce back on the offensive end but they will have their hands full with the Knights, who are playing well on the defensive end.
Taveion Hollingsworth leads the Hilltoppers with 18 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Jared Savage is averaging 16.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, while Charles Bassey is putting up 11.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
Western Kentucky is:
- 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games following a straight up win.
- 14-4 ATS in its last 18 non-conference games.
- 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 vs. Conference USA.
- 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Hilltoppers have played well against the spread, winning five of their last six games against teams with winning records and four of their last five games following an ATS win. The Knights have struggled against the spread, losing seven of their last 11 games against Conference USA teams and seven of their last nine games against teams with winning records.
Prediction: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Full-Game Total Pick
The total has gone under in seven of UCF’s last eight neutral site games and in eight of the team’s last 10 non-conference games. The total has also gone under in four of Western Kentucky’s last five neutral site games.
Half-Time Side Pick
The Hilltoppers will win the first half of this game because they have played better in the first half. They are averaging 43 points per game in the first half while the Knights are averaging 36.3 points per game in the first half of their last three games.
Prediction: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Half-Time Total Bet
The Knights and Hilltoppers are averaging 79.9 points in the first half of their last three games, which means they should be able to go over the first half total comfortably.