UCF Knights (16-10; 11-10 ATS; 11-10 O/U) vs. East Carolina Pirates (12-14; 10-9 ATS; 10-9 O/U)
NCAAB: Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 4:00pm EST
Line: UCF -4
The UCF Knights will head on the road to take on the East Carolina Pirates in an AAC contest Saturday afternoon from the Minges Coliseum. UFC is coming off a a solid 71-53 home win over Tulsa, and East Carolina notched a 78-64 home win over Temple in their latest action. UCF edged East Carolina by a 48-45 score earlier this season. B.J. Taylor collected 19 points for the Knights, and Kentrell Barkley scored a team-high 16 points for the Pirates.
Knights Shine on Defense in Win Over Tulsa
The UCF Knights played stifling defense in their 71-53 home win over Tulsa on Tuesday night, snapping their two game skid. The Knights shot a dazzling 52% from the field which included an 11 for 19 mark from three-point territory, and held Tulsa to just 29.8% shooting. Nick Banyard led the way offensively with 18 points on 5 for 6 shooting, and picked up nine rebounds. The 6-foot-8 forward has reached double-digits in points in two straight games as he’s received more playing time, and is now up to 5.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Knights’ leading scorer B.J. Taylor chipped in with 15 points in the win. The sophomore guard has been very consistent this season, and is now averaging 16.9 points per game. The Knights have scuffled over the last three weeks, losing six out of their last eight games as they have had a tough time scoring points. They are now sixth in the AAC conference with a 7-7 record, and are ranked 73rd overall in Ken Pomeroy’s College Basketball Rankings.
UCF is now averaging for 67.8 points per game, ranking them 290th overall, and are shooting 43.8% as a team. The Knights play phenomenal defense, conceding an average of only 60.9 points per game, placing them fifth in the Country.
Pirates Breakout Offensively in Win Over Temple
The East Carolina Pirates scored 46 points in the second half in their 78-64 home win over Temple on Wednesday night. The Pirates shot a solid 47.5% from the field, and held the Owls to only 35.9% shooting in the victory. Kentrell Barkley had a big night in the win, sinking 19 points along with 13 rebounds, notching his third consecutive double-double. The sophomore guard is playing tremendous basketball right now, collecting five double-doubles over his last six games and is now averaging 12 points along with a team-leading 7.8 rebounds per game. Caleb White also played well, recording 17 points on 7 for 12 shooting. The senior guard is averaging 16 points over his last three games, and is now up to 11.1 points per game on the season. The Pirates are now 3-3 after they had lost six straight in the first three weeks of January. They are currently sitting in third last in the AAC standings with a 4-9 conference record and are ranked at 205th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s College Basketball Rankings.
East Carolina is a very low-scoring team, now averaging 62.1 points per game, ranking them 343rd overall, and are shooting an abysmal 39.3% from the field. The Pirates do play strong defense, allowing an average of 63.7 points per game, positioning them 27th in the Country.
The UCF Knights are:
- 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against a team with a losing record.
- the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
The East Carolina Pirates are:
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games against a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games against a team with a losing road record.
I am taking UCF in this contest. UCF plays incredible defense, allowing 60 or fewer points in three out of their last four games, and they have the fifth ranked defense in the Nation, so they should continue their strong defensive play in this matchup. East Carolina is a very low-scoring team and they have scored 65 or fewer points in seven out of their last ten games, so it will be another tough night offensively for them. UCF also has the rebounding advantage and they already beat the Pirates this season so I am confident they are the play in this one.