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The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will host the UCF Knights on Saturday in the AAC matchup up. Tulsa is 11-4 in the conference, currently in a three-way tie with Houston and Cincinnati for first place in the AAC. UCF is 5-10 in the conference tied for ninth. UCF covered the spread as a three-point favorite and defeated Tulsa 83-75 in Orlando when these teams met three weeks ago.
UCF falls to UConnUCF dropped its second straight game in an 81-65 loss at UConn as a 7.5 point favorite on Wednesday. UCF also lost to Tulane at home 75-74 as a 7-point favorite on Saturday.
The Knights are not an offensive juggernaut. On the season, the Knights are averaging 68.8 points per game and rank 172nd in adjusted offensive efficiency. Individually,Collin Smith, a 6’11 forward, leads the Knights with 12.7 points per game. Smith finished with 17 points and six rebounds against East Carolina. On defense, UCF has been better, holding opponents to 68.6 points per game, and raking 107th in adjusted defensively efficiency.
Tulsa in mix for conference titleThe Tulsa Golden Hurricane failed to cover the spread as a 10-point favorite but picked up a 62-57 home victory over Tulane on Tuesday night for its second straight victory. The Golden Hurricane also had a very impressive 79-57 win over SMU as an only a 1.5 point favorite on Saturday.
The defense has been Tulsa's biggest strength this season. The Golden Hurricane rank 42nd in the nation according to KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. On the season, the Golden Hurricanes are holding opponents to just 63.8 points per game, which is 38th best in the nation while holding opponents to only 39.7% shooting from the field and 29.3% from three-point range, which rates 31st and 23rd in the country respectively.
On offense, Tulsa average 68.6 points per games and rates 163rd according to KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency ratings. Martins Igdbanu, a 6'8 senior from Lagos, Nigeria, has been a surging force for the Golden Hurricane, averaging 20.4 points over his last nine games, raising his scoring average on the season to 13.4 points per game. Brandon Rachal is the second-leading scorer for Tulsa, averaging 12.4 per game. Rachal did not play when Tulsa faced UCF earlier in the month, but Igdbanu dropped 30 points on the Knights in the eight-point loss.
- Tulsa is 6-2 ATS in last 8 games at home
- Tulsa is 9-4 ATS in last 13 games overall
- UCF is 1-4 ATS in last 5 games as an underdog
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UCF is only shooting 31.1% from three-point range and 42.7% from the field on the season, but they shot 57.1% on threes and 55.6% from the field in an 83 point outburst that led to an eight-point win against Tulsa without Brandon Rachal on Feb.9. I expect things to be much different this time around against a Tulsa team that has been able to hold its last three opponents below 58 points. UCF will also be without Dre Fuller Jr., who made an impact defensively with five rebounds and four blocked shots in the Knights previous win over Tulsa.
I am going to have to side with the Golden Hurricane here. Tulsa is playing for so much more than the UCF right now, and I expect them to take care of business on senior night.
Full-Game Total Pick
Central Florida has allowed 75 points or more in five straight games, after only allowing more than 75 points once in the seven games prior. I think the Golden Hurricanes will be able to generate plenty of offense here, against a team that is declining defensively down the stretch. I will take the over.