Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#679 Rice 142 vs.
#680 Southern Miss -1
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 3:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul



#679 Rice University
#680 University of Southern Mississippi


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The Rice Owls will travel to Reed Arena in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for a Conference USA showdown against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

Rice is off to a 9-9 start but it has won just once in five league contests. The Owls have dropped five of six coming into this game and they are just 2-6 in their last eight games against Division-I opponents. Southern Mississippi hasn’t been much better, winning just four of their first 18 games while starting out the conference season with an 0-5 record. The Golden Eagles have beaten just one Division-I opponent this year. Can Rice bounce back against a futile Southern Miss basketball team on Saturday afternoon?

Owls fall to 1-4 in C-USA play

Rice came up short 72-56 against Louisiana Tech on Thursday night to fall to 1-4 in conference play. Trey Murphy came off of the bench to score a team-high 20 points while Chris Mullins chipped in 10 points for the Owls, who never led and shot just 9-for-31 from deep on the night.

Scott Pera’s squad enters the weekend ranked No. 202 in the latest KenPom rankings after dropping five of their previous six games. Rice has scored only 100.4 points per 100 possessions for the season (181st in the NCAA), and the Owls have been even worse during conference play, averaging just 97.2 points per 100 possessions through five league contests (8th in C-USA). Pera has given his team the green-light from long-range and they’ve responded by shooting 49.3 percent of their total field goal attempts from 3-point range (5th in the NCAA) for the season. However, they’ve connected at a rate of just 33.2 percent (165th in the NCAA). The Owls have also turned the ball over on 19.9 percent of their offensive possessions on the year (220th in the NCAA) while sporting an offensive rebounding rate of 22.4 percent (321st in the NCAA).

On defense, Rice has given up 104.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (242nd in the NCAA) but that number has jumped to 106.6 points per 100 possessions during conference play (13th in C-USA). Through five C-USA games, Rice has allowed opponents to sport an effective field goal percentage of 53.5 percent (13th in C-USA) and shoot a red-hot 59.5 percent from inside the arc (14th in C-USA).

Southern Miss remains winless vs. C-USA opponents

Southern Mississippi remained winless in conference play with a 72-52 loss at home against North Texas on Thursday night. Boban Jacdonmi scored 3 points off of the bench while Gabe Watson and Tyler Stevenson chipped in 10 points apiece for the Golden Eagles, who were outscored 33 to 3 from beyond the arc in the loss.

Jim Ladner’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 286 in the latest KenPom rankings following their 0-5 start to the Conference USA season. The Golden Eagles have scored 93.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (295th in the NCAA) while turning the ball over on 22.2 percent of their offensive possessions (316th in the NCAA). They have also shot just 27.1 percent from 3-point range with an offensive rebounding rate of only 20.4 percent (349th in the NCAA) on the year. Somehow, they’ve been even worse on offense during league play, scoring just 83.6 points per 100 possessions (14th in C-USA) with an effective field goal percentage of just 41.5 percent (14th in C-USA).

On defense, Southern Miss has given up 104.1 points per 100 possessions and an effective field goal percentage of 55.3 percent (334th in the NCAA). They’ve been even worse during conference play though, as those marks have jumped to 113.2 points per 100 possessions (14th in C-USA) and 55.6 percent (14th in C-USA) against Conference USA opponents.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Southern Miss ranks as the worst team in the conference on both ends of the floor and it has just one D-I win this season. The Golden Eagles sport the worst effective field goal percentage in the conference and they rank as the worst effective field goal percentage defense in the conference as well. That’s going to make it very hard to trust them in this game. While Rice hasn’t been very good since the start of 2020, they shoot nearly half of their shots from long-range and the Golden Eagles have allowed C-USA opponents to hit a red-hot 39.7 percent from 3-point range. Take Rice to cover the spread in this C-USA matchup on Saturday.

Prediction: Rice Owls

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


We’re likely going to get an average-paced game here between two teams that have really struggled on the defensive end of the floor. Rice plays fast on both ends, rankings 62nd in adjusted tempo and 88th in average possession length on offense. They also rank second-last in C-USA in defensive efficiency and have allowed opponents to shoot a blistering 59.5 percent from 2-point range. Meanwhile, Southern Miss ranks dead-last in the conference in defensive efficiency as well, so look for this game to go over the projected total on Saturday evening.

Prediction: Over

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.