Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#741 FAU 129 vs.
#742 ODU -3
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#741 Florida Atlantic University
#742 Old Dominion University
12-8
7-13
8-9
9-10-1
10-7
8-10-2
72
63
68
64

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It’s a battle of Conference USA foes on the college hardwood in the mid-Atlantic area. The Florida Atlantic Owls are on the road as they travel to face the Old Dominion Monarchs Saturday night. Florida Atlantic dropped a narrow 70-68 road decision to Charlotte Thursday in their last contest. Old Dominion was edged 83-80 at home by Florida International in their last game Thursday night. The Monarchs lead the all-time series between the programs 7-2 but it was the Owls taking an 80-73 win at home in the last matchup on January 10, 2019.

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Florida Atlantic Owls Seek Bounceback Win

Florida Atlantic has been on a roller coaster this season and they’re waiting for the next upward trend to kick in for them. The Owls come in 12-8 on the season overall and 4-3 in Conference USA action for coach Dusty May. Florida Atlantic started the year 2-3 before taking nine of their next 11 games to climb to 11-5 on the season. Things have slipped backwards a little bit at this point as the Owls have dropped three of their last four games with the last two defeats coming by a combined five points. Florida Atlantic hopes to get back on track as they don’t have a marquee win to point to on the ledger. Their best victory came over UTEP, ranked 136th in the KenPom rankings.

The Owls put up an average of 72.2 points per game so far this season, putting them 154th in the nation in scoring offense. Florida Atlantic pulls down 36.6 rebounds per contest and dishes out 12.2 assists a night. The Owls are average defensively, ranking 169th in the country by allowing 68.5 points per game on the year. Cornelius Taylor leads the team with 12.7 points per game this season. He is one of two players in double figures for the Owls this season. Michael Forrest is the team’s third-leading scorer with 9.9 points a night. Karlis Silins, Jailyn Ingram (10 points), Richardson Maitre, Aleksandar Zecevic, Kenan Blackshear, Everett Winchester, Madiaw Niang and Jaylen Sebree all are key rotation players for the Owls. Florida Atlantic shoots 43.3 percent from the floor as a team. The Owls connect on 8.6 three-pointers a night on 34.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Florida Atlantic is shooting only 68.8 percent from the free throw line as a team this season.

Numbers from KenPom suggest that Florida Atlantic has work to do on the offensive end of the floor if they hope to have success down the stretch. The Owls are 229th in offensive efficiency and 148th in defensive efficiency on the year. Florida Atlantic is 195th in effective field goal percentage (48.9 percent) and is middling in offensive rebounding percentage (148th at 28.8 percent) and turnover percentage (164th at 19.1 percent) this season. The Owls take the air out of the ball defensively as opposing teams use an average of 18.6 seconds per possession, which is the eighth-longest average possession in the nation. Despite that, Florida Atlantic plays slightly faster than average, ranking 164th in tempo at 68.6 possessions per game.

Old Dominion Monarchs Trying to Get Momentum Going

Old Dominion has had their struggles for coach Jeff Jones this season as they enter 7-13 overall and 3-4 in Conference USA action. The Monarchs have been a streaky team this season as they won three straight after losing their opener. That was immediately followed by an eight-game skid, including road losses to VCU and Illinois along with a home defeat to Richmond. Old Dominion bounced back with three straight wins, including home wins over Middle Tennessee and UAB to open conference play. Since that three-game win streak, Old Dominion has dropped four of their last five, all by six points or less.

The Monarchs are struggling offensively as they put up an average of 63.2 points per game this season, which is 330th in the nation. Old Dominion grabs 38.7 boards a night and dish out 9.6 assists per game. The Monarchs are solid defensively, ranking 64th by holding opponents to 64.3 points per contest. Xavier Green leads the team with 12.3 points plus 4.5 rebounds per game. Jason Wade puts up 10.9 points plus 5.5 boards a contest while Malik Curry chips in 10.9 points plus 3.5 assists a night. A.J. Oliver (10.6 points), Joseph Reece, Kalu Ezikpe and Aaron Carver are other key pieces for the Monarchs. Old Dominion is shooting only 40 percent from the field as a team this season. The Monarchs knock down 4.8 triples per night while hitting 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. Old Dominion is struggling at the free throw line as they convert only 69.7 percent of their attempts on the year.

According to KenPom, the Monarchs are very good defensively (82nd in defensively efficiency) and, as one would expect, a train wreck on offense. The Monarchs are 294th in offensive efficiency on the year. Old Dominion is 347th in three-point percentage and 338th in effective field goal percentage (44 percent) this season. The Monarchs get 59.9 percent of their points on two-point buckets this season, putting them ninth in the nation in that category. Old Dominion plays at a slower than average pace, ranking 282nd in the nation in tempo with 65.9 possessions per game.

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Old Dominion’s offensive woes have proven costly this season. The Monarchs have seven losses this season by six points or less so you’re talking about more than half the team’s defeats being contested by a margin that a couple of buckets could have swung the other way. Old Dominion can’t lean on their defense to bail them out because sooner or later, they have to knock down shots. Florida Atlantic has struggled a bit of late as they, too, have been bitten in close games. The Owls are a better shooting team and that proves to be the difference as they steal one here on the road.

Prediction: Florida Atlantic Owls +3

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Old Dominion has been rampant at making life difficult for opposing teams offensively though they did give up a season-worst 83 points to Florida International in their last game. The Monarchs now turn their sights to the Owls here and Florida Atlantic has had their issues defensively. Opposing teams shoot 44.2 percent from the field (252nd in field goal percentage defense) and 33.5 percent from beyond the arc (222nd in three-point field goal percentage defense) against the Owls. Fortunately for Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion doesn't seem capable of making buckets shooting a miniature Nerf ball into a regulation hoop. This one is a defensive struggle that ends up under the total.

Prediction: Under 129.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.