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Drake Bulldogs vs. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Where and when: (College insider.com Tournament) America First Event Center, Cedar City, Utah, Friday, TBD
The Drake Bulldogs will travel to America First Center in Cedar City, Utah, for a Friday night CollegeInsider.com battle versus the southern Utah Thunderbirds. And while the Bulldogs were able to win the regular-season crown within the Missouri Valley Conference, they fell to the Northern Iowa Panthers in the semifinals of the tournament as they relinquished a three-point halftime lead while allowing 27 points to Wyatt Lohaus, as he went 12-21 from the floor in the victory.
On the other hand, the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah ended the year 7th within the Big Sky Conference as they finished the season dropping for their last six games. Nonetheless, the Thunderbirds were able to pick up a bit of momentum in the first and second rounds of the conference tournament in picking up victories versus the Idaho State Bengals along with the Northern Colorado Bears. However, they were no match for the Eastern Washington Eagles in the semi-finals as they fell by 16 points. In fact, the Eagles went up by 18 points at the break and never looked back as they allowed just 34% shooting to the Thunderbirds while connecting on 47% of their shots including 10 three-pointers in the victory.
Eagles top Thunderbirds despite 19 points from Oluyitan
Cameron Oluyitan along with Jacob Callaway were the only two double-digit scores for Southern Utah in their loss versus the Eagles of Eastern Washington as they chipped in 19 and 13 points, respectively. Oluyitan is averaging 14 points per game and has been the biggest threat for his team throughout the season in shooting 46% from the floor along with 38% from long range.
Callaway (10 ppg) has certainly increased his offensive output recently as well as the six-foot-eight forward is also shooting 47% from the perimeter along with 40 percent from three-point range. Finally, Harrison Butler is yet another potential threat for the Thunderbirds that averages 10 points along with six rebounds per game. And while he chipped in only six points versus Eastern Washington, the 6ft 5in guard continues to shoot 49% from the floor on the season.
For the first time in school history we are hosting postseason basketball here at Southern Utah!
The champions of the Missouri Valley Conference, the Drake Bulldogs come here Friday, March 22 at 6:30.
Let’s pack the AFEC #TbirdNation!
— Todd Simon (@CoachTsimon) March 18, 2019
“We are thrilled to accept this postseason invitation,” SUU head coach Todd Simon said. “This milestone accomplishment is a tribute to the hard work of our players, staff and administration. We look forward to making a run in the CIT and continuing to progress our program to a championship level.”With the Thunderbirds making their second straight appearance in the semi-finals of the conference tournament along with winning 10 straight games at home to end the season, look for them to have a healthy amount of confidence and momentum heading into this matchup versus what will be a tough Drake Bulldogs team on Friday night.
Drake struggles yet again on offense versus Panthers
The Drake Bulldogs have certainly struggled lately as well as throughout the season, particularly on the offensive end. On the other hand, their defense has been as solid as ever as they continue to allow opponents just 41% shooting on a nightly basis. And while Drake allowed the Panthers of Northern Iowa to shoot 44% in a close game throughout, the Panthers shot only 6-20 from three-point range during the contest.
As stated, the Bulldogs simply did not have it on the offensive end as they shot 41% on the night as Anthony Murphy led the team with 16 points while going 3-5 from long range. Tremell Murphy ended with 13 points as he went 5-10 from the perimeter. In all, Drake produced its lowest scoring output in their last 10 games, overall.
The Bulldogs battle to the very end but fall in a hard-fought game as their run in St. Louis comes to an end. pic.twitter.com/AopZVVS06L
— Drake Basketball (@DrakeBulldogsMB) March 10, 2019
For the season, they are averaging 75 points on 45% shooting as a team. However, in their last five outings, Drake has averaged just 67 points. Missouri Valley coach of the year in Darian DeVries has been preaching the art of resilience while ensuring that they continue to play well on the defensive end in which to continue to pull out victories, moving forward. The Bulldogs enter this matchup winners of two of their last three road games while they will be facing a Southern Utah team that has also won two of their last three games in Cedar City, as well.
- SUU is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games.
- Over is 7-3 in SUU last 10 Fri. games.
- Over is 42-20-1 in SUU last 63 home games.
- DRKE is 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 road games.
- Under is 6-2 in DRKE last 8 road games.
- Under is 11-4 in DRKE last 15 Fri. games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Look for Southern Utah to have a slim advantage in this contest due to their ability to be a bit more consistent, offensively, at this critical point in the season. And while Drake has certainly had its moments on the defensive end, their offense continues to stink it up on a nightly basis. With that being the case, look for the Thunderbirds to pull away late in this contest while picking up a much-needed victory in the opening round of the CBI tournament on Friday night.
Prediction: Pick: Southern Utah Thunderbirds +157
Full-Game Total Pick
The under has been the play in two of the last three home games for Southern Utah while also being the result in two of the last three road games for the Bulldogs. Also, with the way Drake has struggled lately as well as throughout the season on offense, expect the Thunderbirds to have yet another solid night on the defensive end as they will pull out a slim victory due to their defensive efforts.
Prediction: Pick: Under 150.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
Look for the Thunderbirds to show and prove in this contest against an up-and-down team in the Bulldogs. And while this will be a back and forth affair to where momentum swinging frequently, look for the Thunderbirds to cover the three and a half in the end.
Prediction: Pick: Southern Utah Thunderbirds +3.5
Half-Time Side Pick
I happen to believe that the Thunderbirds will control the pace of this game early and often. As stated, they have certainly been the more consistent offensive team lately and will certainly prove this early while taking a slim lead at the half over Drake.
Prediction: Pick: Southern Utah Thunderbirds +2
Half-Time Total Bet
Look for the total to be slightly under its set limit at the half amongst these two teams. And while the Thunderbirds have indeed been the most consistent team lately, the fact remains that both teams have struggled entering this matchup. With that being the case, look for this to be a low-scoring affair early as each team will take some time in which to get going, offensively.
Prediction: Pick: Under 70
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Again, Southern Utah will turn some heads in this contest due to their ability to hit some huge shots at critical points in this matchup. Also, look for them to show and prove on defense as well as they will neutralize an already off-and-on unit for Drake. In all, look for the Thunderbirds to cash in on the money line at the break.
Prediction: Pick: Southern Utah Thunderbirds +130