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The Rice Owls host the Penn Quakers Saturday night in a matchup of two programs off to very different starts to the new season. The Owls and Quakers both began the year facing SEC teams on the road, but the results couldn’t have been any more different. Rice fell to Arkansas 91-43, while Penn stunned Alabama 81-80. Were those outcomes a harbinger of what may occur Saturday?
Rice brings back its top three scorers from a year ago, including senior forward Robert Martin, who led the team with 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Martin and the entire Rice offense struggled against Arkansas, shooting just 28.6 percent from the field and 2-25 from behind the arc. Scoring wasn’t a problem for Penn, as the Quakers received double digits in points from four different players. Freshman guard Jordan Dingle made a stellar debut with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Quakers look to stay hotThe Penn Quakers, two years removed from an NCAA Tournament appearance, should rival Harvard as the top team in the Ivy League. Under head coach Steve Donahue, Penn has won 24 and 19 games in the last two seasons. If Tuesday’s win over Alabama is any indication, this team could top both of those win totals. Few could have predicted that it would be freshman Jordan Dingle to lead Penn to the upset win. The 6’3 guard hit a go-ahead jump shot with six seconds to go to seal the victory.
Penn returns three All-Ivy League selections led by senior forward AJ Brodeur. The Northborough, MA native is a two-time first-team All-Ivy and averaged 17.6 points last season. He recorded a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double against Alabama. Seniors Ryan Betley and Devon Goodman are the other All-conference players. Betley missed almost the entire 2018-19 season after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in the season opener last fall. Goodman led the Ivy League with 1.7 steals per game last year.
Rice hopes to put debut in pastGiven the way Rice shot the ball Tuesday night against Arkansas, it might be hard to believe that the team returns seven of its nine leading scorers from a year. The Owls could barely buy a bucket and finished with their fewest amount of points since March 1, 2014 (65-41 loss to Middle Tennessee). Rice likely will not have a worse 3-point shooting performance all season than going 2-25 against the Razorbacks.
Senior forward Robert Martin is Rice’s top returning scorer and rebounder. He was held to just five points and three boards Tuesday. The team’s leading scorer was senior guard Ako Adams, who dropped 13 points. The Washington D.C. native had a team-best 72 3-pointers last year en route to averaging 11.2 points per game. Sophomore guard Trey Murphy II was the next highest scorer with seven points.
- Owls are 1-8 ATS in their last nine home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Owls are 0-7 ATS in their last seven home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Owls are 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven vs. Ivy League.
The supporting trends for this game, found on covers.com, are:
- Quakers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
- Quakers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Penn pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the young season with a 81-80 win over Alabama Tuesday night. Freshman guard Jordan Dingle scored 24 points, including the game-winning shot. The Quakers may play in the Ivy League, but they would be able to compete with many high major programs. Rice, on the other hand, looked totally outclassed against Arkansas. Despite returning the majority of their roster from a year ago, the Owls couldn’t get anything going offensively. If opening night was any indication, Penn should cover with room to spare.
Prediction: Penn Quakers -6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
When one team is coming off a 43-point performance, it’s hard to buy that their next game will clear a pretty substantial o/u. Rice will almost certainly put on a better shooting display Saturday, but until proven otherwise the Owls don’t seem like a good pick for an over. Penn can score in bunches but not enough to outweigh Rice’s offensive production. This one looks like a bookie misfire. Go with the under.
Prediction: Under 149.5