Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#779 UCF 130.5 vs.
#780 Wichita State -11.5
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#779 University of Central Florida
#780 Wichita State
11-7
16-3
9-8
10-8
6-11
10-8
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73
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The Wichita State Shockers will get set to host the UCF Knights at Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas for an American Athletic Conference battle on Saturday afternoon.

After starting the season with a 15-1 record, the Shockers dropped two in a row before rebounding with a win earlier in the week. Meanwhile, UCF opened the conference season with a four-game losing streak but the Knights have bounced back with back-to-back wins. Can the Knights stay hot at home against the Shockers on Saturday night?

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Shockers stop season-long slide at two games

Wichita State snapped its season-long two-game slide on Tuesday night with a 56-43 victory on the road against South Florida. Freshman guard Tyson Etienne scored 13 points while Dexter Dennis added 12 points for the Shockers, who pulled away late in the second half.

Gregg Marshall’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 40 in the latest KenPom rankings after improving to 4-2 during conference play. Wichita State has scored 104.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (126th in the NCAA) but that number has plummeted to only 92.4 points per 100 possessions during conference play (7th in the AAC). Through six AAC contests, the Shockers sport a league-worst effective field goal percentage of just 41.8 percent (12th in the AAC) and they have shot a dismal 39.7 percent from 2-point range (12th in the AAC). However, they’ve managed to stay in games by turning the ball over just 18.8 percent of the time (2nd in the AAC) while sporting an offensive rebounding rate of 31.0 percent (4th in the AAC) and a free-throw rate of 38.1 percent (3rd in the AAC).

On defense, Wichita State has limited opponents to just 88.4 points per 100 possessions for the season (10th in the NCAA) and they’ve been equally as stingy during conference play. The Shockers have held AAC opponents to just 90.6 points per 100 possessions (3rd in the AAC) while forcing them to turn the ball over 23.2 percent of the time (2nd in the AAC) and holding them to only 23.2 percent shooting from 3-point range (2nd in the AAC).

Knights rebound with second straight conference win

UCF extended its current winning streak to two games on Saturday with a 55-54 victory at home over South Florida. Dazon Ingram and Ceasar DeJesus scored 11 points apiece for the Knights, who trailed by five points with 2:14 remaining but closed the game on a 6-0 run to escape with the win.

Johnny Dawkins has guided the Knights to an 11-7 overall record, including a 2-4 mark in AAC play, and they enter the weekend ranked No. 109 in the latest KenPom rankings. UCF has scored only 101.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (191st in the NCAA), and they’ve been even worse during league play, averaging just 94.1 points per 100 possessions against AAC opponents (6th in the AAC). They have turned the ball over 22.2 percent of the time (11th in the AAC), which has negated their efficient shooting from the floor. The Knights own the fourth-best effective field goal percentage in the conference at 48.8 percent.

On defense, Dawkins’ squad has given up 95.4 points per 100 possessions for the season (71st in the NCAA) but that number has come up to 99.1 points per 100 possessions during conference play (9th in the AAC). They rank near the bottom of the conference in defensive block and steal rate and they’ve allowed opponents to haul in 33.2 percent of their missed field goal attempts in league play (10th in the AAC).

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Wichita State hasn’t been very efficient on offense but the Shockers have still managed to win four of their six conference games. The Shockers do a good job of forcing turnovers and they crash the offensive glass at a high rate, which should give them the advantage in this one. UCF has coughed up the basketball on a whopping 22.2 percent of its offensive possessions during conference play and the Knights have allowed opponents to sport an offensive rebounding rate of 33.2 percent (10th in the AAC). That should be enough to push the Shockers over the top here. Take Wichita State to cover the number on the road in this AAC matchup on Saturday night. 

Prediction: Wichita State Shockers

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UCF ranks outside the top-200 in adjusted tempo and average possession length on offense and they’ve actually been playing at a slower pace during league play. Through six AAC contests, UCF has averaged about 18.1 seconds per offensive possession and only 66.9 possessions per game, both slower than their season average. While Wichita State plays at a faster pace, they rank dead-last in effective field goal percentage and 2-point shooting. They also force turnovers at a high rate and UCF has struggled to take care of the basketball, so I’ll be sticking with the under in the AAC showdown on Saturday night.

Prediction: Under
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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.