The Mississippi State Bulldog (4-0) will take on the Louisville Cardinals (3-1) Thanksgiving Day in the Bahamas Championship on CBS Sports Network. The winner of this game will play victor the Maryland-Richmond game on Saturday, and the losers will face off in the consolation game. Mississippi State comes into this game 3-1 against the spread, and Lousiville is 1-3 ATS.
Cardinals head to the Bahamas for a challengeThe Louisville Cardinals are averaging 74.5 ppg, shooting 44.8% from the field, 31.4% from three, and 67.6% from the line. Noah Locke, a 6'3 senior, leads the team with 16 ppg. No other Cardinals are averaging double figures in scoring, but six players are averaging between 6.8 to 9.0 ppg. Defensively Lousiville is holding opponents to 66.8 ppg on 38.1% shooting and average 9.2 steals per game.
In the young season, Lousiville is rated No. 49 according to KenPom, and has faced the 300th rated strength of schedule. In the College Basketball Power Index, Lousiville is rated No. 37 according to BPI and has the 316 strength of schedule.
Louisville has beaten Southern, Navy, and Detroit this season. The lone loss came 80-72 as a nine-point favorite against Furman.
Mississippi State to face first testAccording to College Basketball Power Index, Mississippi State has a No.21 BPI rating and has played the 336th strongest schedule. In the KenPom ratings, Mississippi State is No. 43 and has played the 329th rated schedule.
The Bulldogs haven't faced a serious test yet. All four wins so far have come by at least 13 points with an average margin of victory of 24 points. They are averaging 76 ppg and 13th in the country, shooting 52% from the floor and 45.7% on threes. Mississippi State has four players averaging double-digits, led by senior Iverson Molinar averaging 15.8 ppg. The defense has also been strong, holding opponents to 52 ppg, the seventh-lowest total in the nation, and only 34.2% shooting which is 13th best.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Although neither team has faced tough competition through the first four games, Mississippi State has been more consistent so far. Both squads have been solid defensively, but the Bulldogs are shooting the ball much better. Mississippi State also has been a superior team on the boards with a +7.5 rebounding margin ranking 28th in the nation, compared to Louisville's -7.0 margin, which is 251st. I think Mississippi State will create a few more opportunities for themselves and win this game.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both of these teams are strong on the defensive end. Mississippi State was rated 54th in adjusted defensive efficiency last season and has gotten off to a stellar start again this season, rated 50th in the same department. Louisville has been even better rated 37th in adjusted defensive efficiency this season, after being 44th last season. With the Bulldogs only taking 56.8 shot attempts per game (262nd) and Lousiville averaging 59.8 (164th), I don't see either team pushing the pace. This game should fall below the total unless we get overtime.