College Basketball action on Tuesday evening and Conference U.S.A will square off with the Horizon League as the FIU Golden Panthers grapple with the Cleveland State Vikings at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. These teams last met back in 2008 and the Vikings won that game by a score of 66-58. The Golden Panthers enter this game at 1-2 on the year while the Vikings are at 1-3.
Let The Re-Build BeginThe Florida International Golden Panthers have had just three 20+ win seasons in their history. One was last year, one wat in 1997/98 and one was back in 1992/93. Jeremy Ballard did an excellent job in his first year at the helm of FIU last year, but reaching 20+ wins will not be easy at all this year. Devon Andrews (15.3 ppg last year) and Trejon Jacob (10.5 ppg) do return, but still, two of their top four scorers from last year are gone and the Golden Panthers do not have the depth that they did a year ago. That is key, especially considering the fact that they play at one of the fastest tempos in the nation. The Panthers averaged 82.3 ppg last year, which was 16th in the nation, but because of their pace of play, they allowed 80.4 ppg, which was 342nd in the land.
FIU has played three games thus far and they are 1-2 in those games but two of them were against Power Five teams in NC State and Mississippi State while their lone win has come against Ave Maria. Sounds like a sog... Ave Maria. Anyway, they are not a division one team so you can't get too excited about that win. FIU comes in ranked 52nd in scoring at 82.3 ppg and 265th in points allowed at 74.0 ppg. In their last game, they fell to NC State on the road by a score of 86-77 and leading their attack was Andrews, who had 21 points and leads the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg. Freshman Tevin Brewer had 19 points in the win while Osasumwen Osaghae had 11 points and seven boards. Can the Golden Panthers get back to .500 on the year? Keep reading to find out.
These Vikings Will Not Pillage Anyone This YearThe Cleveland State Vikings are in for a very long year and that is saying something about a team that went just 10-21 overall last year, including 5-13 in league play. Over the summer they ousted HC Dennis Felton and eight players transferred. New head coach, Dennis Gates had to try and put together a team after the summer recruiting season had ended. He is in a very tough position. From 2007 to 2015, the Vikings notched at least 19 overall wins six times while also notching at least 10 conference wins seven times over that stretch. In the last four years, Cleveland State has not put up more than 12 wins overall and six wins in league play. Can they top those numbers this year? Not likely. In fact, this could be their worst season in the last five.
Jaalam Hill averaged 11.2 ppg and is the leading returning scorer. He did enter the transfer portal during the summer but decided to return for his senior season. Still, he has yet to play a game this year and it is unclear when he will play. The Vikings have lost four of their top five top scorers from last year and leading them in scoring this year has been freshman Tre Gomillion, who is averaging 10.3 ppg. The Vikings come in having lost three of their first four games with their losses coming against Minnesota, Missouri State and South Carolina on the year while their lone win has been at home against non-division one opponent Edinboro. All three losses against Division One teams have been by at least 20 points, which includes a 27 point loss to South Carolina in their last game. Gomillion led them in scoring with 18 points.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Florida International is:
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall
- 22-10 ATS in their last 32 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
Cleveland State is:
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games