Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#709 Kent State vs.
#710 Houston
Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 2:30pm EST
Written by David Delano

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The No. 2 ranked Houston Cougars (5-0) will host the Kent State Golden Flashes (5-1) on Saturday.

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A huge measuring stick game

Kent State went 23-11 last season. They went 16-4 in the MAC but lost in the conference championship game. The Golden Flashes are loaded once again and were selected as the favorite in the MAC Men's Preseason Poll. Leading the way is All-MAC First Team performer Sincere Carry. A 6'1 senior, Carry is averaging 19.8 points and 5.8 assists per game. Malique Jacobs, a 6'3 senior, is adding 13.2 ppg, 3.0 assists, and a nation's best 4.2 steals per game.

Kent State opened the season with five straight wins before losing to Charleston 74-72 on Wednesday. Carry dropped 25 points in the loss, and Jacobs added 15 points. The Golden Flashes are 61st, averaging 81 ppg, 44th, shooting 38.6% from the floor, and 122nd making 46.2% from the field. The defense is 67th, allowing 63 ppg, 28th allowing 37% shooting from the field, and 295th, with opponents knocking down 33.3% from three. In the KenPom ratings, Kent State is 87th in the country. They are evenly balanced, rating 97th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 96th on defense.

A serious contender to win it al

Despite losing four key players from last season, the Houston Cougars came into the season with the second-best odds to win the National Championship at +1000 according to SI Sportsbook, behind only Gonzaga. Houston went to the Final Four in 2021 and the Elite Eight last season. The Cougars have lived up to the early expectations not just winning, but also covering the spread in all five games. Last Saturday Houston beat Oregon 66-56, with Marcus Sasser, a 6'2 senior leading the way with 16 points. Terrance Arceneux, a 6'5 freshman added 15 points off the bench.

Sasser leads the team with 16.6 ppg, followed by 6'8 freshman Jerace Walker with 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Rated No. 2 by KenPon behind only Texas, the cougars are 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency and third defensively. Houston is first in the nation holding teams to 48 ppg and 30.4% shooting from the floor. They are also allowing teams to shoot just 19.8% from three which is second. The offense is 83rd with 79.2 ppg, 66th shooting 48.2% and 191st knocking down 33.6% of their threes.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I absolutely love what I have seen from Houston so far, but it's also hard to fade a veteran Kent State team getting this many points. Kent State has not lost a non-conference game by more than 14 points since falling to Mississippi State 96-68 back on Dec. 30, 2019. Houston has been focused in every game this season, but Kent State will give them their best shot. With an experienced and dynamic backcourt led by Carry and Jacobs, I see Kent State keeping this game just close enough to cover.

Prediction: Kent State +19.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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The over/under is 1-4 in Houston games and 1-3-1 in Kent State games, and I expect to see another under here. Houston is a top-3 team in the nation defensively and also 353th in adjusted tempo. Kent State plays at a much fast pace, ranking 57th in tempo, but they will not control the tempo on the road against, by far the best team they have faced. I will take the under here, expecting Houston to win this game in the range of 71-56.

Prediction: Under 134.5
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Written By David Delano , "David Delano"

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  He is also an expert sports bettor. We are glad to have David on our Winners & Whiners team, and we recommend that you follow along with him every day. 

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