FRISCO, TX — This might be the last Hoops At The Star ride we get. It certainly will be for the departing Sun Belt teams, ODU, Marshall, and Southern Miss. Those teams are pressing whatever advantage they can in the court system, and likely will get to exit this summer.
The odds suggest that both USM and Marshall will have a tough time exiting the first round. According to Ken Pomeroy, at least Marshall has slightly better odds.
FIU vs Marshall
By most any metric these are two of the worst teams in the league. Eleventh vs thirteenth. Twelfth vs eleventh. These are efficiency rankings in the league. You can see how I say it doesn’t matter if you try to separate these two teams in terms of metrics.
FIU won twice in the regular season, one a solid win, one one-score game. The major difference is the health of one Tevin Brewer. I can tell you right now, with my vast network of contacts 1 that I don’t know the status of his game.
Given that fact, Marshall are -3.5 point favorites in this one.
FIU came into this one dropping two straight to FAU. They played well enough but were lacking a scoring punch. Expect them to get Marshall into foul trouble, with Denver Jones driving and Lovett shooting. Marshall will be looking to get Taylor in rhythm, to compliment Taevion Kinsey. There will be a lot of athleticism out there, but FIU’s Clevon Brown should be a problem for Marshall’s big men.
UTSA vs USM
We have more of the same terrible matchups. Very stoppable force vs no resistance.
These teams split in the conference season, winning on each others’ floor. The first was a one-pointer, and the second an OT game. The confounding factor is that USM’s Tyler Stevenson is recovering from a hernia injury. Coach Jay Ladner expects to have guard Jaron Pierre as well. While that is great, getting in basketball rhythm is not easy and we can expect a diminished USM squad.
Neither of these teams is great at defending second and third actions, but neither of these offenses is really going to get into those actions. This is really about outlasting the other squad. UTSA’s Jacob Germany can score inside, and on the other side if Stevenson is in, expect him to be the primary focus. If not, we will see more of Waylyn Napper. He’s been the primary scorer in recent games.
UTSA is favored by -3.5.
I don’t have one↩