Elon Phoenix (1-2 SU, 0-2 ATS, 1-1 O/U) vs. Florida International Panthers (1-1 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U)
NCAAB: Friday, November 17, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. EST
The Line: Elon Phoenix -13.5. Total: OFF.
The Florida International Panthers and Elon Phoenix will be squaring off in the Black & Gold Shootout when they clash on Friday at UWM Panther Arena (home of the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers–not the Florida International Panthers). FIU is 1-1 so far this season with a win over Florida Memorial and an overtime loss to Stetson. The Phoenix are 1-2 and coming off a setback at Furman on Tuesday.
A veteran squad
Elon returns all five starters and its top five scorers from a team that finished 18-14 overall and tied for fourth place in the Colonial Athletic Association (10-8) last season. Four of the Phoenix’s five starters averaged in double-figures during the 2016-17 campaign, led by All-CAA Second Team forward Tyler Seibring (14.4 ppg). Brian Dawkins was second on the team at 12.9 ppg, followed by both Steven Santa Ana and Dainan Swoope at 11.7 ppg. Dawkins and Dmitri Thompson (8.9 ppg) are the two senior leaders of this year’s squad.
Seibring, Dawkins, Santa Ana, and Swoope all reached double-figures in Tuesday’s 76-67 loss to Furman. The visitors, however, were undone by 16 turnovers–part of the reason why the Paladins attempted 11 more shots than Elon.
This marks the third consecutive season (and third time ever) in which Florida International and Elon have gone head-to-head. Both of the previous encounters went the way of the Phoenix, who prevailed 77-71 on the road in December of 2015 before getting the job done 84-81 in overtime at home in November of 2016. In last year’s showdown, Dawkins led Elon in scoring with 17 points and Seibring chipped in 16. The Panthers were led by two players who have since graduated (Donte McGill went for 27 points and Michael Kessens had 17). Neither team shot the ball well but Elon distributed it to the tune of 17 assists, whereas Florida International assisted on only eight of its baskets.
Much unlike the Phoenix, the Panthers lost their top five scorers from last season–including McGill, who averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game. Junior guard Eric Lockett (5.1 ppg) returns after playing in all 31 games last year. They have plenty of work to do if they wish to improve on a 3-15 effort in Conference-USA last season.
The Elon Phoenix are:
- 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a loss
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on Fridays
- 4-0 Over in their last four games against Conference-USA
The Florida International Panthers are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games against teams with losing records
- 1-4 ATS in their last five neutral-site games
- 10-2 Over in their last 12 overall
The Phoenix got blown out by Duke last week, but at least they are battle-tested. They have experience against tough opposition and experience on their roster. Florida International has none of those things. Elon is 6-1 ATS in its last seven following a loss and 5-2 ATS in its last seven on Fridays. The Panthers are 1-5 ATS in their last six against losing opponents and 1-4 ATS in their last five at neutral sites. Look for those trends to continue.