It’s a battle of AAC foes on the hardwood floor in the Lone Star State. The Wichita State Shockers look to play spoiler when they travel to face the #17 Houston Cougars Saturday night. Wichita State comes in off an 85-81 overtime home loss to Temple in their last game Sunday. Houston looks to bounce back from a 73-69 road defeat to Temple in their previous tilt Wednesday night. The Shockers hold a 17-10 edge in the all-time series between the teams but the Cougars have won two straight, including a 77-74 triumph in the semifinals of the AAC Tournament on March 10, 2018 in the last meeting.
Wichita State Shockers Trying to Snap Slide
Wichita State comes into this one losers of three straight games as they fell to Temple in their last game. The Shockers have had a few days to sort through things and try to find a game plan to get their first conference win of the year. Wichita State led by 13 at the half and by 11 with 3:35 to play in regulation before seeing Temple storm back with the final 11 points of regulation. In the overtime, the Shockers gave up the lead for good with 2:39 to play when they trailed 78-76 and got no closer than one after that. Wichita State shot 49.2 percent from the field, including six of 22 from three point range, and won the rebounding battle 41-34 while turning the ball over 19 times. Markis McDuffie led the Shockers with 24 points and seven boards in the loss.
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— Wichita State MBB (@GoShockersMBB) January 5, 2019
The Shockers put up an average of 71.1 points per game on the season this year. Wichita State collects 37.8 rebounds a night while dishing out an average of 13.8 assists per game. The Shockers are tied for 191st in scoring defense by giving up 71.9 points per night. Markis McDuffie leads the team with 19.1 points plus 5.2 rebounds per game. Samajae Haynes-Jones is the only other player scoring in double figures as he puts up 13 points plus 3.3 assists a night. Jamie Echenique, Dexter Dennis, Erik Stevenson, Jamarius Burton and Morris Udeze each contribute at least 3.8 points a game on the year. Wichita State is shooting 41.4 percent from the floor as a team. The Shockers are hitting 7.4 three-pointers a night while shooting 30.7 percent as a team from beyond the arc. Wichita State is cashing in on a dismal 67.2 percent of their opportunities at the free throw line this season.
Houston Cougars Try to Bounce Back From First Loss
Houston looks to bounce back from their first loss of the season as they were defeated on the road by the same Temple team that edged the Shockers. The Cougars hope to regroup at home, where they are a perfect 13-0 on the year. Houston trailed by seven at the half and by nine with 7:31 to play in the game only to rally. The Cougars drew within two with 37 seconds to play and thought they had the tying bucket with under a second to go when Corey Davis Jr. was called for a charge: Temple hit the free throws and that was that. Houston shot 39.3 percent from the field, including a 10 of 29 showing from three point range, and missed six of their 17 free throw attempts. Breaon Brady led the way for the Cougars with 19 points in the loss.
ENJOY big plays from Sunday's win over Memphis
— Houston Men's Hoops 🏀 🐾 (@UHCougarMBK) January 9, 2019
The Cougars put up an average of 75.1 points per contest this season. Houston grabs 42.5 boards a night while dishing out 15.7 assists a night. The Cougars have locked down defensively as they are 9th in the nation by allowing just 60.1 points a night. Corey Davis Jr. puts up 15.2 points plus 3.3 assists per game. Armoni Brooks chips in 14.3 points plus 6.9 rebounds per contest as the only other player scoring in double figures. Breaon Brady, Galen Robinson Jr., Dejon Jarreau, Cedrick Alley Jr., Nate Hinton, Brison Gresham and Chris Harris Jr. are all role players for the Cougars. Houston is shooting 43.3 percent from the field this season. The Cougars are knocking down 9.1 triples a night while shooting 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Houston needs work at the free throw line as they shoot 72.1 percent at the line this season.
- Cougars are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS loss
- Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. American Athletic Conference opponents
- Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- Shockers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- Shockers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss
- Shockers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Houston has been lights out at home this season and they own a couple solid wins on their resume already. The Cougars already have wins over a ranked Oregon team (when Bol Bol was playing), along with triumphs over Memphis, BYU and LSU. Wichita State is going in the wrong direction right now and three straight losses isn’t inspiring. For that matter, the Shockers’ 0-3 road mark against the Cougars’ 13-0 home mark doesn’t create confidence either. Houston gets the win in this one to bounce back from their first loss.
Prediction: Houston Cougars -11.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Wichita State finds itself in unfamiliar territory with their recent slide. It’s sent a reminder that they’re not in the Missouri Valley Conference anymore but in a bigger conference with some tough teams to contend with. Houston is going to come out with a chip on their shoulder after suffering their first loss of the season in their last game. The Cougars are unbeaten on their home floor this season: can they run their mark to a perfect 14-0 on the year as the hosts here?
The over is 17-4 in the Shockers’ last 21 vs. American Athletic Conference foes, 7-2 in their last 9 road games, 7-2 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning home record and 7-2 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. Houston has seen the over go 5-2 in their last 7 vs. American Athletic Conference opponents. This one, thanks to Wichita State’s scuffling defense, ends up over the total.
Prediction: Over 135.5