Texas State Bobcats (0-0) vs. Air Force Falcons (0-0)
NCAAB: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 4:00pm EST
Line: Air Force -4.5
The Air Force Falcons will open their season when they host the Texas State Bobcats Sunday afternoon from the Clune Arena in Colorado Springs. The Bobcats posted a 22-14 record with an 11-7 clip in Sun Belt play last season, and the Falcons went 12-21 with a 4-14 record in MWC play. There is no previous meeting between these two schools.
Bobcats Experience Large Roster Turnover
The Texas State Bobcats only return one player that averaged double-digits in points last season and lost three of their top four scorers. The Bobcats will be looking for a big season from Nijal Pearson. The sophomore guard had a terrific freshman season, placing second in team scoring with 13.3 points per game, and averaged a team-leading 5.7 rebounds. The Bobcats will also be giving Serbia native Nedeljiko Prijovic an increased role this season in place of the graduated Kavin Gilder-Tilbury who averaged a team-high 16 points last season. Prijovic is a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward that averaged 4.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in a limited role last season, and will see big minutes. They will not be a strong offensive team and will rely on defense to win games. Texas State also brought in three junior college transfers which includes Alex Peacock who is expected to make an immediate impact.
The Bobcats were voted to finish sixth in the 12-team Sun Belt Conference in the preseason coaches poll. Last season Texas State was a low-scoring team, averaging only 66.9 points per game, ranking them down 308th in the country. They played outstanding defense last year, allowing an average of only 62.7 points, good for 16th in the Country.
Falcons Look to Build on Poor 2016-2017 Season
The Air Force Falcons head into the season looking to improve on last year’s rough 12-win season. They do not return their leading scorer from last season, however they do feature two players that did average double-digits in points. Senior Jacob Van returns as one of the offensive catalysts after averaging 10.7 points on 44% shooting last season. They also bring back 6-foot-7 center Frank Toohey who finished third in team scoring last season with an average of 10.6 points on a solid 52% clip from the field, to go along with 4.6 rebounds. One player that is expected to have a bounce-back season is Trevor Lyons. The senior guard only posted 7.4 points last season in decreased playing time compared to his solid 12.7 point per game average in the 2015-2016 season. It would be a big boost to the Falcons from an offensive standpoint if Lyons can post double-digits in points.
Air Force was voted to finish in last place in the 11-team MWC conference in the preseason media poll. The Falcons scored an average of 73.1 points last season, ranking them 182nd overall. They conceded an average of 75.1 points per game, placing them down at 249th overall.
The Texas State Bobcats are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog between 0.5 and 6.5 points.
The Air Force Falcons are:
- 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 Sunday games.
I am siding with Air Force in this contest. Texas State is thin on offense as they only return one player that averaged double-digits in points last season. They only averaged 66.9 points per game last season, so they will be a low-scoring club again this season. Air Force features more scoring depth than the Bobcats, and they are on their home court, so I am confident they are a strong play with this small spread.