Saturday evening on the College Hardwood and a pair of teams from Conference U.S.A will square off as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers grapple with the Marshall Thundering Herd at Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Hilltoppers enter this game off a 69-66 road loss to Old Dominion to fall to 1-1 in league play, while the Thundering Herd improved to 2-0 in Conference U.S.A after beating Charlotte on the road by a score of 85-84.
Western Kentuck is ranked 107th by KenPom and they have played the 33rd ranked schedule, while the Thundering Herd are ranked 136th and they have played the 103rd ranked schedule.
Hilltoppers Fall Short To ODU On The Road
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have had a mediocre season so far as they have gon just 8-7 out the gate. The Hilltoppers had a nice little three-game win streak going, but it ended in a three-point loss to Old Dominion on the road. The Hilltoppers stormed out to a 21-0 lead, but still lost the game. The offense struggled in the loss as they scored just 66 points on 43.6% shooting overall, including 33.3% (5/15) shooting from long range. In fairness, ODU will do that to a lot of offenses, but things should change in this one as Marshall doesn’t have the word defense in their vocabulary. The defense for WKU has been average this year and it played well against the Monarchs as they allowed them to score 69 points on just 40.9% from the floor overall, including 34,.8% (8/23) from long range. It will not be that easy against the high-powered Marshall offense. Leading their attack in the game was Taveion Hollingsworth (15.5 ppg) and Charles Bassey (14.6 ppg), who each had 19. Bassey also had 12 boards and three blocks in the game.
The Hilltoppers enters this game ranked 219th in the nation in scoring at 72.7 ppg, while also ranking 123rd in shooting (46.0%), 100th in three-point shooting (36.1%) and 82nd in free throw shooting (73.1%). On defense, they are 195th in points allowed, giving up 71.9 ppg, while also ranking 220th in defensive FG% (43.9%) and 251st in three-point defense (35.3%).
Marshall Squeaks By Charlotte On The Road
The Marshall Thundering Herd are a fun team to watch as they have a high-powered offense, while the word defense is a foreign language to them. Marshall is off to a nice 9-6 start to their season, including a 2-0 mark in league play. They began with a 70-67 road win over Old Dominion and followed it up with an 85-84 road win over Charlotte. That was one of those fun games I was talking about. Their offense was strong as they scored 85 points on 45.2% shooting from the field overall, including 34.5% (10/29) from long range. Turnovers were key as they committed just four while forcing 16. That helped them overcome the fact that Charlotte hit 54.5% of their shots from the field overall, including 50% (9/18) from long range. The Herd was also outscored by eight at the free throw line, but despite it all, they were able to notch the one-point win. Leading the attack was C.J. Burks (17.2 ppg), who had 25, while Jon Elmore (18.9 ppg) had 19.
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The Thundering Herd enters this game ranked 56th in the nation in scoring at 80.2 ppg, while also ranking 191st in shooting (44.6%), 176th in three-point shooting (34.2%) and 228th in free throw shooting (68.4%). On defense, they are 337th in points allowed, giving up 80.9 ppg, while also ranking 311th in defensive FG% (46.7%) and 315th in three-point defense (37.1%).
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Conference USA.
- 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
Western Kentucky is:
- 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Marshall
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Thundering Herd in this one as they come in having won their first two conference games (Both on the road) and they hjave gone 5-1 here at home. Marshall also has a big edge on offense and that will be key here. Marshall has averaged 83.8 ppg at home, while the Hilltoppers have put up just 67.6 ppg on the road. That is a big discrepancy. Take the Herd to win this one by at least five points.
Prediction: Marshall PK
Full-Game Total Pick
The Thundering Herd have played some high scoring games this year and while this one will see some points, I do not see over 160 of them. Marshall has allowed just 70.2 ppg at home, while the Hilltoppers have allowed just 70.9 ppg on the road. we will see a bit more defense in this one than most expect. TYhe Under is 7-2 in Western Kentucky’s last nine road games and 8-3 in Marshall’s last 11 home games following three or more consecutive road games.
Prediction: Under 160