Sunbelt action down South here as the Troy Trojans prepare to host the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Neither team is very good this year although the Arkansas State does have a much better record at 14-7 while Troy sits at 8-13. Despite the very different records oddsmakers have this game as virtually even. It will be streamed by ESPN+.
Arkansas State ImprovingArkansas State certainly hasn't been without their flaws, but they have undoubtedly seen a marked improvement from last year. After going 13-19 a year ago, the Red Wolves enter this one at 14-7, already eclipsing their win total from last season. They are 6-4 in conference play, and two of those Sunbelt losses came by only three points. When they played this very same Troy team just a few games ago, they beat them by eight points. They continue to defy expectations and are a perfect 4-0 against the spread in their last four games. They are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven road games, so they clearly don't have too much of an issue playing away from home.
Arkansas State moves to 8-3 overall, 1-0 in Sun Belt. Red Wolves beat Louisiana 79-67 in conference opener. Marquis Eaton had 24 pts, Caleb Fields 18 pic.twitter.com/TSZCr8XC62— Chris Hudgison (@ChrisHudgison) December 19, 2019
The strength of this team has been the offense. They are serviceable from downtown, and they can beat you in a variety of different ways. They spread the ball around really well, and have six different guys averaging at least 8.3 points per game. Sophomore forward Melo Eggleston missed the early part of the season, and his return has provided them with a huge boost. He is now averaging 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, so it's not too surprising that Arkansas State has picked up their play recently. Despite playing at a very slow pace, they have put up at least 75 points in each of their past four games, which is quite impressive.
Troy Having A Rough OneThings haven't been going quite as smoothly for Troy this season. The Trojans have struggled for the most part, and enter this one at 8-13. They've been mired in mediocrity for the past couple of seasons, and ever since winning the Sun Belt three years ago they've been stuck in a rut. They haven't just been losing, they've been *losing*. Each of their last two losses were by at least 16 points, and they were to mediocre Georgia Southern and Arkansas Little Rock teams. In fact, four of their past five losses have been by at least 16 points.
They haven't been too much better at home this year, and it's not like they are drawing a raucous crowd these days. They've been bad on both sides of the ball, but things have been particularly brutal on offense. They don't shoot the ball well from 3, and are shooting only 40.8 percent from the floor as a team. Their leading scorer is averaging just 12.7 points per game, and he has been an extremely inefficient chucker as he is only shooting 34.4 percent from the floor. Despite not playing at that fast of a piece, the Trojans manage to turn the ball over a whopping 14.8 times per game while only forcing 6.0 steals. This team has very little size, as only one of their top six scorers are taller than 6'4.
Red Wolves are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Trojans are:
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up loss
- 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss