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Friday's Summit conference showdown pits two teams on the opposite sides of the standings. Fort Wayne is 5-6 in conference play and is currently four games behind the division leaders North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
On Friday, they'll travel to take on North Dakota State. The Bison have been playing really good basketball at home where they've won their last eight games.
This contest takes place from the Scheels Center with tip-off slated for 9 p.m. EST.
Can the Mastodons hold off the sweep?In their previous battle, Fort Wayne was unable to do much offensively, as they mustered only 60 points in a 71-60 loss to North Dakota State. In that contest, the Mastodons struggled to make shots behind the arc, going 5 for 18.
On Friday, things don't become any easier for them. On the road, they average 65 points per game on 41% shooting, which are not eye-popping but decent numbers. And they're facing a Bison defense that's average at home, holding opponents to 66 points per game on 43% shooting, so even with their struggles, there could be scoring opportunities available.
One player to watch is Jarred Godfrey. In his last outing against North Dakota State, he scored 13 points on 40% shooting. Both of these stats are slightly lower than his season averages, indicating the Bison's defense did a good job containing him. If the Mastodons want to win on the road, Godfrey has to emerge as the playmaker he is.
The Bison aim to bulldoze the MastodonsNorth Dakota's offense is a wrecking ball at home. They're scoring 79 points per game on 47% shooting. And in their last outing at Fort Wayne, they scored 71 points on 47% shooting, so they've shown the ability to hang close to their average on the road. Now, imagine what they can do at home.
You were great today, Bison Nation. pic.twitter.com/Tj9WBv8IJo— NDSU Basketball (@NDSUmbb) February 9, 2020
Adding credence to this confidence is the fact Fort Wayne's defense seems to struggle on the road. They're sporting teams 75 points per game on 47% shooting, which does not bode well for them on Friday.
One player who's ready to feast is Vinnie Shahid. He was outstanding against the Mastodons in their last outing, scoring 22 points on 50% shooting from behind the three-point line. And unless Fort Wayne finds is defensive mojo on the road, he's going to be lighting up the scoreboard early and often on Friday.
Trends found on Odds Shark.com North Dakota State is:
- 8-0 SU in last 8 home games
Fort Wayne is:
- 3-13 SU in last 16 on the road
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Bison's offense proves to be the difference-maker in this one. They're averaging close to 80 points per game at home, and they've already shown the ability to score often against the Mastodons. What's more, Fort Wayne's offense struggles on the road to score consistently well, so I'm not confident in their abilities to keep pace. North Dakota State pulls away to win this one.
Prediction: North Dakota State
Full-Game Total Pick
I'm going with the Under in this one because the Mastodons don't have a consistent offense. The Bison's defense held Fort Wayne to 60 points on the last outing on the road and I don't see anything that would change things this time around. Because the Mastodons struggle to score points, it'll lower the point total, so take the Under for this contest.