Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#749 Marshall 148.5 vs.
#750 Western Kentucky -5.5
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#749 Marshall University
#750 Western Kentucky University
9-11
13-6
9-10
8-10
10-8-1
10-8
74
76
71
70

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Western Kentucky and Marshall will be doing something that is rarely seen in college basketball on Saturday—playing each other for the second game in a row. The two teams met at Marshall on Wednesday night, as the Hilltoppers left with a 64-60 victory. Now, they will host the Thundering Herd on Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Marshall looking to bounce back

Marshall fell to 9-11 on the season with its Wednesday night setback. The Thundering Herd have lost three of their last four games, falling to UAB, Charlotte and then Western Kentucky. Their lone win in that stretch was a 68-67 win against Old Dominion last Saturday. They hit a game-winning free throw with 18.6 seconds left to seal the deal. Old Dominion missed a jumper with a few seconds to play in the game. Marshall jumped out to a 14-point halftime lead on Wednesday night, but the Hilltoppers rallied to score 19 of the final 25 points in the contest.

The Thundering Herd are led by sophomore guard Taevion Kinsey, who is scoring 15.5 points per game and is dishing out a team-high 4.4 assists per game. He is pulling down 4.9 rebounds per game. Kinsey hit the free throw in the waning seconds of the win against Old Dominion last weekend. Junior guard Jarrod West is scoring 14.4 points per game. He is the best outside shooter on the team, knocking down 38 of 107 attempts from distance. Sophomore forward Iran Bennett is scoring 10.3 points per game and is pulling down a team-high 5.7 rebounds per contest.

Hilltoppers seeking repeat performance

Western Kentucky, the pre-season favorite to win the Conference USA, is now in first place. The Hilltoppers have won six of their last seven games, despite losing their best player early in the season. NBA prospect Charles Bassey was expected to win Player of the Year in the conference, but went down after scoring 15.3 points per game and grabbing 9.2 rebounds per game in the first 10 games of the season. Wednesday night’s effort on the road was another example of the resiliency that the Hilltoppers have shown, despite Bassey’s absence. Western Kentucky held Marshall to a 2 of 13 shooting clip down the stretch.

The Hilltoppers are led by junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth, who scored a game-high 20 points on Wednesday. He is averaging 15.2 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game this season. Hollingsworth is also dishing out a team-high 2.6 assists per contest. Junior forward Carson Williams is scoring 13.4 points per game and is pulling down 6.4 rebounds per outing. Williams has been the most efficient outside shooter on the team, making 14 of 30 attempts from downtown. Senior wing Jared Savage is adding 10.9 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per outing.

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I know it’s tough to beat the same team twice in a row, but Western Kentucky already got the difficult one out of the way. Not only did the Hilltoppers go on the road and get the job done, but they forced Marshall to blow a big lead. The Thundering Herd are now 0-6 against-the-spread in their last six games and have only won two of those contests outright. Marshall is also just 1-5 ATS in its last six games against Western Kentucky. I’ll take the more experienced team to feed off the home crowd and Wednesday’s result to earn a double-digit win.

Prediction: Western Kentucky

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Marshall has to emphasize its quick tempo in order to win games. The Thundering Herd are No. 16 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo ratings, making them one of the fastest teams in college basketball. They really put an emphasis on playing fast on the road, with five of their last six road games going over the total. Wednesday’s total went under the number, so there will be more value on the over this time around. Marshall is not going to go ice cold again and Western Kentucky is playing well offensively. I like Saturday’s bout to go over the number.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.