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UCF is fresh off of their biggest victory of the season last week after winning their first Quadrant Two contest. While the Knights are unlikely to earn an at-large bid, they will have a chance to make a name for themselves towards the end of the conference season. UCF closes the AAC campaign with three straight Quadrant One contests.
East Carolina falls short vs. Memphis
East Carolina dropped to 1-2 in conference play on Thursday, falling on the road to Memphis 78-72. Jayden Gardner scored a team-high 18 points, while KJ Davis added 12 points and 12 boards in a losing effort for the Pirates, who shot just 4 of 22 from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 15 times on the night.
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) January 11, 2019
Joe Dooley’s squad come in ranked No. 232 in the latest KenPom rankings, despite being one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the entire country. The Pirates are scoring just 94.9 points per 100 possessions (310th in the NCAA) and they are turning the ball over on 21.8 percent of their offensive possessions (312th in the NCAA) for the season. East Carolina sports an effective field goal percentage of just 47.7 percent (271st in the NCAA), thanks in large part to their inefficiency from beyond the arc, where they are shooting just 27.8 percent (340th in the NCAA) on the year. Instead, the Pirates have been forced to rely on crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line to generate points on offense. They sport an offensive rebounding rate of 32.7 percent (60th in the NCAA) and a free throw rate of 39.8 percent (50th in the NCAA) so far this year.
On defense, the Pirates are allowing 101.6 points per 100 possessions (134th in the NCAA) and they also rank inside the top-100 in several categories on that end of the floor. East Carolina has turned opponents to cough up the basketball on 20.5 percent of their defensive possessions (97th in the NCAA), while limiting teams to an effective field goal percentage of 46.8 percent and just 26.9 percent shooting from 3-point range (5th in the NCAA).
UCF extends win streak to six games
UCF won their sixth consecutive contest on Saturday, taking down Connecticut on Saturday 65-53. Aubrey Dawkins scored a team-high 23 points, while BJ Taylor added 12 for the Knights, who limited the Huskies to just 32 percent shooting from the field and forced 18 turnovers to earn the victory.
This is “Soft Tacko”.😂
7’6” TACKO FALL, y’all… pic.twitter.com/Eptr7bf9qO
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@rex_rexchapman) January 3, 2019
Johnny Dawkins’ squad enters the weekend slotted at No. 35 in the latest KenPom rankings after starting the AAC season with a 2-0 record. The Knight are scoring 109.8 points per 100 possessions (49th in the NCAA), while allowing just 94.2 points per 100 possessions (38th in the NCAA) so far this season. Opposing teams are shooting just 41.4 percent from inside the arc against Central Florida’s defense, which also sports a defensive block rate of 13.9 percent (33rd in the NCAA).
On offense, the Knights value their possessions and play at one of the slowest paces in the entire nation. UCF is averaging just 65.0 possessions per game (333rd in the NCAA) and 18.1 seconds per offensive possession (265th in the NCAA). They also take care of the basketball, turning the ball over on 16.9 percent of their offensive possessions (59th in the NCAA). The Knights are shooting 55.3 percent from inside the arc (52nd in the NCAA) and 37.5 percent from 3-point range (49th in the NCAA) for the season, however, they do a lot of their damage from the free throw line. UCF sports the third-best free throw rate in the country at 49.9 percent, but they are connecting on just 63.2 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe as a team (328th in the NCAA) this year.
- Knights are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Knights are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
- Knights are 38-18-1 ATS in their last 57 home games.
- Pirates are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs. American Athletic Conference.
- Pirates are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Pirates are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pirates have covered the number in five of the last seven meetings in this series, however, you won’t find me siding with East Carolina in this spot. UCF has been solid on both ends of the floor this season and they rank as one of the top two-point field goal percentage defenses in the country. Take the Knights to cover the number at home in this spot on Sunday.
Prediction: Pick: UCF Knights -18.5
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have stayed under the projected total in each of their last four meetings. East Carolina has gone under in five of their last six games and five of their last six contests on the road as well. Meanwhile, the Knights have stayed under the projected total in five of their last six home games versus a team with a losing record and they rank among the stingiest defensive teams in the country. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Sunday.
Prediction: Under 133.5