#549 Florida International University Panthersvs.#550 University of Texas at El Paso Miners
Thursday, January 1 2017, at 9:00pm EST
Written by David Hess
FIU Golden Panthers (4-12 SU, 3-6-0 ATS, 5-4-0 OU) vs UTEP Miners (2-13 SU, 2-8-0 ATS, 5-5-0 OU)
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 12, 2017
Where: Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas
Lines: UTEP -2
CBB action on Wednesday evening and the FIU Golden Panthers will duke it out with the UTEP Miners at Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. The Golden Panthers have lost their last three games in a row, while the Miners have lost their last 12 games in a row and are now 2-13 on the year. Both teams will be looking for a rare win in this one.The Miners have taken seven of the last eight between these teams.
This has been a long year for the Golden Panthers so far as they are 4-12 out the gate, including 0-3 in Conference U.S.A. They just have very little offense and a below average defense. Not a good combination. In their last game, they fell by a score of 73-64 to Florida Atlantic on the road. They really struggled to shoot in the game as they hit just 39.6% of their shots overall and were just two of 11 from long range. Michael Kessens led the attack in the game for them as he put up 21 points, while Eric Nottage was 2nd with 11 points. No one else on the team had more than eight points for the Golden Panthers. Their defense held its own from long range, but they still allowed 47.2% from the field overall and lost the turnover battle 16-10. The Golden Panthers have five players that average at least 6.3 ppg and they have been led by the duo of Donte McGill, who is averaging 19.7 ppg and Kessens, who has put up 14.1 ppg. Just not a lot to like about this team right now.
The Golden Panthers check in at 266th in the nation in scoring, putting up 69.7 ppg, while also ranking 150th in FG% (45.1%), 290th in 3-point shooting (32.0%) and 75th in free throw shooting (73.1%). At the defensive end of the floor they have been average as they come in ranked 187th in points allowed, giving up 72.1 ppg, while also ranking 282nd in defensive FG% (45.8%) and 266th in 3-point defense (36.4%).
The FIU Golden Panthers are having a bad season, but things have been a bit worse for the UTEP Miners as they are just 2-13 overall and have lost their last 12 games in a row. They have gone 0-3 in Conference U.S.A so far and 1-6 at home. This is a team with many problems and at the top of the list is their offense, which is one of the worst in the league. They averaged 84.7 ppg during their 2-1 start to the year, but have put up just 61.9 ppg over their 12 game losing streak. That just won’t get it done. In the loss to the Golden Eagles, they scored just 65 points on 42.9% shooting overall and they were just five of 23 from long range. Omega Harris led the charge with 26 points, while 2nd was Dominic Artis, who had 23. No one else on the team had more than six points. Just three players on the team average more than 5.5 ppg and leading the pack is Harris at 17.4 ppg, while Artis is 2nd at 15.1 ppg and 3rd is Matt Willms at 10.1 ppg. This team needs more than those three to step up or they will continue to struggle.
UTEP enters the game ranked 296th in the nation in scoring, putting up 67.1 ppg, while also ranking 159th in FG% (44.8%), 229th in 3-point shooting (33.9%) and 292nd in free throw shooting (65.1%). At the defensive end of the floor they have been below average as they come in ranked 209th in points allowed, giving up 72.9 ppg, while also ranking 270th in defensive FG% (45.4%) and 307th in 3-point defense (38.3%).
Boy, this is a toughie. Both teams have really struggled this year, especially the Miners who have lost their last 12 games in a row and yet they are the favorite in this game. I will follow that. The Panthers have gone 0-6 on the road this year and they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in this series. The Panthers have slight edges in the stats, but I feel that the Miners will find a way to end their 12 games slide with a win in this one. Miners by at least five here.
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