Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (23-11) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (19-14)
When and Where: Tuesday, March 13, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 9 P.M. ET
The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are traveling to the Gallagher-Iba Arena to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first round of the NIT, and the winner will get to play against the Stanford Cardinal or BYU Cougars. The Cowboys are huge favorites and considering that they will play in front of their own fans, it will be a tough task for the Eagles to make an upset.
The Eagles are hoping to bounce back from an unpleasant loss to Lipscomb
Florida Gulf Coast was in a good form of three consecutive wins before the Lipscomb Bisons defeated them in the Atlantic Sun Tournament finals to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the school’s history. The Eagles were down by 29 points at halftime and were even losing by 32 at one point, but somehow managed to cut the lead to just five; however, they didn’t have enough strength to make a complete comeback and lost, 108-96. Joe Dooley’s side had 40.8% from the field and made 16 out of 40 attempts from downtown (40%), but they were inferior in assists (13-24).
Zach Johnson led Florida Gulf Coast with 37 points (10-19 FG, 9-13 3PT, 8-8 FT) and three steals; Brandon Goodwin followed him with 34 points (12-22 FG, 6-14 3PT), four rebounds, and four assists, while Antravious Simmons contributed with 11 points and team-high eight boards. Goodwin is the team’s top scorer with 18.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.8 apg, and 1.4 spg; Johnson has 15.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, and 2.0 spg, while Christian Terrell averages 12.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 3.0 apg. The Eagles are scoring 81.7 points per contest on average (31st), while they are allowing 71.6 points in return (157th).
The Cowboys’ three-game winning streak snapped with a loss to Kansas
Oklahoma State was in a fine form of three straight victories, including the one over the Oklahoma Sooners in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament, but Kansas defeated them in the quarter-finals and later won the tournament with a win over West Virginia. The Cowboys played pretty well in the first half and stayed close, but the Jayhawks switched to the higher gear after intermission and deservedly celebrated an 82-64 win. Mike Boynton’s side shot 40.9% from the field and hit five triples on 22 attempts (22.7%), while Kansas was more accurate from the perimeter (8-20), and that played a big part in the loss.
Jeffrey Carroll led Oklahoma State with 17 points and seven rebounds; Kendall Smith scored 14 points, Yankuba Sima chipped in with 11 points, while Mitchell Solomon finished the clash with ten points and five boards. Carroll is the team’s leading scorer with 15.1 ppg and 6.2 rpg, while Smith has 12.9 ppg and 1.0 spg. The Cowboys are scoring 76.4 points per contest on average (95th), while they are allowing 73.1 points in return (194th).
Florida Gulf Coast:
- 1-2 ATS in the last three matches after a loss
- 3-2 ATS in non-conference matches
- 8-0 ATS in their last eight matches played on Tuesday
- 3-0-1 ATS in their last four matches following an ATS loss
- 5-1 ATS in their last six matches in total
- 4-1 ATS in their last five matches following a straight-up loss
- 4-1 ATS in their last five matches following an ATS loss
- 4-1 ATS in their last five matches vs. an opponent with a winning record
This will be the first meeting between these rivals in this season, and the home court advantage should be enough for the Cowboys to see off the Eagles, so I am backing them to take a victory and reach the second round, where they would get another opportunity to play in front of the home crowd. I am not sure about the spread (-12.5), but the straight win shouldn’t be a problem for Oklahoma State.