Marshall Thundering Herd (11-7 SU, 11-4 ATS, 11-4 O/U) vs. UAB Blazers (10-7 SU, 4-8 ATS, 4-8 O/U)
NCAAB: Saturday, January 14, 2017, Bartow Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, 1 pm ET
Spread: UAB -2.5, Over/Under: 165
It’s a Conference USA matchup on the hardwood. The Marshall Thundering Herd is on the road as they battle the UAB Blazers Saturday afternoon. Marshall had their four game win streak snapped with a 69-57 road loss at Middle Tennessee Thursday. UAB has won three straight after a 72-54 triumph at home over Western Kentucky Thursday. The Blazers have taken the last seven meetings between the schools, including a 95-91 home win in the last matchup on February 25, 2016.
Marshall Thundering Herd Tries to Start New Win Streak
Marshall had been on a roll but was held in check by Middle Tennessee on the road. The Thundering Herd was held 31 points under their season average and recorded their lowest point total of the season. Marshall shot just 37 percent from the floor and went 5 of 19 from beyond the arc in the game. The Thundering Herd was destroyed 58-25 on the glass and allowed nearly as many offensive rebounds (22) to Middle Tennessee as they had total in the game. Marshall forced 19 Blue Raider turnovers but it wasn’t enough with the cold shooting. Ryan Taylor led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
The Thundering Herd is an elite offensive unit as they are 9th in the nation with an average of 88.1 points per game. Marshall is tied for 177th in rebounding with 36.27 per contest and stands 49th with 16.3 assists per game. The Thundering Herd is atrocious on the defensive end as they rank 346th of 351 Division I schools by allowing 84.3 points a night. Marshall shoots 46.7 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Thundering Herd knocks down 10.3 triples a night while shooting 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. Jon Elmore leads the team with 20.5 points plus 6.2 assists per contest. Stevie Browning puts up 16.6 points plus 4.3 boards and three assists a night. C.J. Burks has averaged 11.8 points in his return after missing the first 10 games for academic issues while Taylor adds 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. Terrence Thompson contributes 10.7 points plus seven boards but has missed time with a lower abdominal injury. Austin Loop (11.1 points) and Ajdin Penava each contribute at least four points a game.
UAB Blazers Seek Fourth Straight Victory
UAB has righted their ship after early season struggles as they’ve now won three straight in conference play. The Blazers took care of Western Kentucky by taking a 10 point halftime lead and not easing up in the second half. UAB shot 50.9 percent from the floor despite missing 17 of their 22 three point attempts. The Blazers held a 37-30 advantage on the glass while limiting Western Kentucky to 35.2 percent shooting from the field, including 7 of 23 from beyond the arc. William Lee had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead UAB in the victory.
The Blazers are a subpar offensive unit this season as they come in ranked 228th in the nation with 71.8 points per game. UAB is tied for 153rd in rebounding with 37.1 boards a night while they clock in tied for 108th in assists with 15 per game. The Blazers are good on the defensive end as they are 104th in scoring defense by allowing 68.9 points per game. UAB knocks down 45.5 percent of their shots from the floor as a team. The Blazers connect on just 5.5 threes a night and sink 31.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Chris Cokley is second on the team with 11.6 points plus 5.7 rebounds per game. Lee puts up a team leading 12.4 points plus six boards while Dirk Williams contributes 10.4 points a night. Hakeem Baxter, Tosin Mehinti, Tyler Madison, Deion Lavender and Denzell Watts are all contributing at least five points a game for UAB this season.
- Thundering Herd are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- Thundering Herd are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- Thundering Herd are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games
- Blazers are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up win
- Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games
- Blazers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win
This one will be an interesting test for Marshall, who has little problem scoring most of the time. That said, the Thundering Herd is coming off their worst offensive outing of the season in their last game. UAB has won three straight but they do have their own issues. There’s not a ton of scoring depth and this isn’t the same run and gun team that pulled out a win by scoring in the 90s when these teams met last year here. UAB battles but I think Marshall’s tempo and scoring squeaks one out on the road.