Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#741 North Texas 132.5 vs.
#742 Louisiana Tech -6
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#741 University of North Texas
#742 Louisiana Tech University
10-8
13-4
12-4
9-6
7-8-1
5-10
70
76
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61

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The North Texas Mean Green will travel on the road to the Thomas Assembly Center on Saturday evening for a Conference USA battle against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

North Texas is off to a 10-8 start and it has won four of its first five conference games. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech has also gone 4-1 in C-USA games and the Bulldogs are expected to contend for a league title this year. Can the Bulldogs avoid an upset at home against an improving Mean Green team on Saturday?

North Texas extends current winning streak four games

North Texas won its fourth consecutive conference game on Thursday night, taking down Southern Miss 72-52 to improve to 4-1 in C-USA play. The Mean Green got 17 points from Umokja Gibson while Javion Hamlet and James Reese scored 13 points apiece for North Texas, which shot 11-for-27 from deep in the win.

Grant McCasland’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 91 in the latest KenPom rankings following their four-game conference winning streak. North Texas has scored 106.5 points per 100 possessions (58th in the NCAA) for the season while sporting a healthy effective field goal percentage of 54.3 percent (23rd in the NCAA). They’ve managed to improve on both of those numbers during league play, scoring 113.5 points per 100 possessions (1st in C-USA) with an effective field goal percentage of 60.0 percent (1st in C-USA). The main problem for the Mean Green this season has been turnovers. North Texas has coughed up the basketball on 22.7 percent of their offensive possessions for the season (323rd in the NCAA), which has negated some of its efficiency on offense.

On defense, North Texas has given up 98.8 points per 100 possessions for the season (134th in the NCAA) and 97.0 points per 100 possessions during conference play (6th in C-USA). The Mean Green have forced opponents to turn the ball over 21.3 percent of the time (75th in the NCAA).

Louisiana Tech improves to 4-1 in league play

Louisiana Tech cruised to a 72-56 victory at home over Rice on Thursday night thanks to 15 points from senior DaQuan Bracey. Derric Jean finished with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting with eight assists and Mubarak Muhammad had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Eric Konkol has guided the Bulldogs to a 13-4 overall record, including a 4-1 record in Conference USA play, and they enter the weekend ranked No. 64 in the latest KenPom rankings. The Bulldogs have scored 107.7 points per 100 possessions for the season (45th in the NCAA) and they have allowed 96.2 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (93rd in the NCAA). Louisiana Tech has managed to improve on both of those marks during league play, averaging 108.1 points per 100 possessions on offense (2nd in C-USA) and allowing only 89.8 points per 100 possessions on defense (2nd in C-USA).

The Bulldogs do most of their damage from inside the arc, where they have shot a healthy 54.3 percent during conference play (2nd in C-USA). They have also turned the ball over just 15.6 percent of the time (2nd in C-USA) in league play while sporting an offensive rebounding rate of 30.6 percent (3rd in C-USA).

On defense, the Bulldogs rely on generating turnovers to get stops. They have forced C-USA opponents to turn the ball over 24.7 percent of the time (1st in C-USA) while limiting them to an effective field goal percentage of 46.5 percent (4th in C-USA).

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North Texas enters this matchup riding a four-game winning streak and they rank as the top offensive team in the conference. However, the Mean Green still struggle mightily with turnovers and Louisiana Tech generates turnovers on defense better than any other team in the conference. The Bulldogs have forced opposing teams to turn the ball over 24.7 percent of the time during league play and they rank second in C-USA in offensive rating, so you have to like their chances at home here. Take Louisiana Tech to cover the number at home in this spot on Saturday. 

Prediction: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs -6

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North Texas is comfortable slowing the pace down on offense. The Mean Green enter this game ranked No. 347 in adjusted tempo and 335th in average possession length on offense. They have also turned the ball over on 22.7 percent of their offensive possessions for the season, so this has all the makings of a low-scoring game. Louisiana Tech ranks 226th in adjusted tempo and 100th in average possession length on offense and its ranks No. 2 in the conference in defensive efficiency. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday night.

Prediction: Under 131
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.