Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#777 Middle Tennessee State 154 vs.
#778 FIU -8.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#777 Middle Tennessee State University
#778 Florida International University
4-14
12-6
4-10
8-7
7-6-1
6-9
72
80
76
73

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This article covers a past game!

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MTSU takes on FIU on Conference USA action on Saturday night from Miami. Middle Tennessee State is 0-5 in the conference, which ties them with Southern Miss for last place. FIU is 3-2 in the league, which places them in sixth place in C-USA.

Last season, the Golden Panthers took out the Blue Raiders on the road 83-76 in their lone meeting.

Close but no cigar

MTSU has lost nine straight games, but they were close to breaking that streak on Thursday night from Boca Raton. The Blue Raiders took on Florida Atlantic and fell in overtime 97-94. Unfortunately, MTSU couldn't hold onto an 11-point lead as FAU forced overtime on a Jailyn Ingram three-pointer at the buzzer. Donovan Sims led MTSU with 24 points on 8-of-12 three-pointers, while Jayce Johnson and Antonio Green added 21 points apiece. The Blue Raiders shot a sizzling 14-of-25 (56%) from beyond the arc, but they turned the ball over 14 times. They also allowed the Owls to shoot 51% from the field.

This was probably Middle Tennessee's best road effort of the season. This is a team that struggled defensively, allowing 76.6 points per game (322nd) on 46.1% shooting (313th) and 39.7% from long range (350th). According to KenPom, the Blue Raiders are ranked 297th and a pitiful 305th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Offensively, they aren't bad, averaging 72.1 points per game on 42.6% shooting (34.8% 3pt). Guard C.J. Jones (6-5, 175) leads the Blue Raiders iwth 16.0 points per game on 44.5% shooting (41.5% 3pt).

Dominant at home

FIU came into their game on Thursday against UAB at home, having lost to North Texas by 18 and Rice by 14 on the road. But once they got back to the Ocean Bank Convocation Center, they turned it up a notch. The Panthers opened up with a 21-point halftime lead and crushed UAB 93-68. Guard Eric Lovett scored a season-high 23 points to lead FIU, while Trejon Jacob added 21. The Panthers shot an impressive 63% from the field and made 16-of-23 from the three-point line. They also held UAB to 42% shooting and forced 15 turnovers.

Scoring is not an issue for FIU, who averages 80.9 points per game (17th) on 47.1% shooting (34th) and 37.2% from beyond the arc (41st). However, they struggle from the free throw line (65.6%) and they are getting outrebounded by 4.2 per game. According to KenPom, FIU is ranked 164th, they are 152nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 177th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They also play at a very fast tempo, ranking 12th in adjusted tempo: possessions per 40 minutes.

Forward Devon Andrews (6-6, 190) leads the Panthers with 16.7 points per game and 5.1 rebounds on 43.5% shooting (30.7% 3pt). Osasumwen Osaghae (6-9, 250) adds 13.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and leads the nation with 4.1 blocks per game.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Florida International has won eight straight at home. They've won by an average of nearly 17 points per game at home. They are nearly unstoppable on offense and they don't rely on the three-point shot, because they can beat you with baskets in transition. They average 86.1 points per game and MTSU allows 80 points on the road. MTSU has to be feeling down, not only after losing nine straight, but blowing an 11-point lead in regulation on Thursday. Take the home team in a blowout as both streaks will stay intact.

Prediction: FIU

Full-Game Total Pick

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FIU could easily put up 100 points in this game. MTSU is allowing 80 on the road and FIU is averaging 86.1 points per game. They rank 29th in the nation in pace of play with 77.4 possessions per game. The Panthers have gone over in two straight and three of four games. MTSU has gone over in two of three games overall and two of their last three against FIU.

Prediction: Over 154
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!