Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#699 Central Michigan vs.
#700 Texas
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#699 Central Michigan University
#700 University of Texas
7-3
8-1
20-11-1
18-19
18-14
15-22
82
71
76
66

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The Central Michigan Chippewas will travel to the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas for a non-conference tilt against the Shaka Smart-led Texas Longhorns.

Fresh off a disappointing blowout loss, the Chippewas enter Saturday’s non-conference battle with a 7-3 overall record but they are still in search of their first quality win of the season. Meanwhile, Texas is off to a fast 8-1 start to the season, which includes a Tier-A win over then-No.23 Purdue. Can the Longhorns push their current winning streak to five games with a victory at home over Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon?

Chippewas searching for first quality win

Central Michigan came up short 77-55 versus Valparaiso on Sunday despite 16 points from senior Kevin McKay. Devontae Lane added 11 points for the Chippewas, who couldn’t buy a bucket from long-range in the loss. Central Michigan shot just 1 of 17 from 3-point range and 12-for-21 from the free-throw line in the blowout defeat.

Keno Davis’ squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 194 in the latest KenPom rankings after winning seven of their first 10 games to open the season. The Chippewas have scored 101.7 points per 100 possessions while allowing 103.5 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor. Central Michigan ranks among the most efficient offenses in the country in terms of taking care of the basketball. They have coughed up possession only 15.2 percent of the time on offense and they get to the free-throw line at a 40.1 percent rate, which has helped them overcome some off-shooting nights. Through 10 games, Central Michigan has shot just 47.2 percent from inside the arc and 31.6 percent from 3-point range, limiting their overall efficiency on offense.

Despite their 7-3 record, getting stops on the other end of the floor has been a problem for the Chippewas this season. Central Michigan has allowed opponents to sport an effective field goal percentage of 53.3 percent so far this season. Opposing teams are connecting at a rate of 52.9 percent from 2-point range and 35.9 percent from deep against the Chippewas’ defense, which has made life tough for them against major conference opponents.

Longhorns take down in-state rival Texas A&M

Texas pushed its current winning streak to four games with a 60-50 victory on a neutral floor against the in-state rival Texas A&M Aggies. Jase Febres scored 17 points while Andrew Jone added 12 points in 24 minutes off of the bench for the Longhorns, who forced 21 turnovers on the night to escape with the win.

In his fifth season in Austin, Smart has guided the Longhorns to an 8-1 overall record and a No. 45 spot in the latest KenPom rankings. Through nine games, Texas comes in ranked among the stingiest defensive teams in the country, allowing just 91.0 points per 100 possessions for the season. The Longhorns force opposing teams to turn the ball over 23.8 percent of the time on defense while limiting them to an effective field goal percentage of only 45.7 percent. Opponents have shot just 44.9 percent from inside the arc and 31.8 percent from deep against the Longhorns’ defense so far this season.

On offense, the Longhorns are held together by a strong backcourt rotation that features four fearless guards that can really score the basketball. Matt Coleman III leads the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game while Andrew Jones has continued his remarkable comeback from cancer by averaging 12.3 points and shooting 50 percent from 3-point range through his first nine games this season. Texas comes in averaging 105.6 points per 100 possessions and Smart has given his team the green light from long distance. The Longhorns have shot 46.4 percent of their total field goal attempts from beyond the 3-point line but they have connected at a rate of just 32.0 percent for the year.

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Two of the Chippewas’ three losses have been of the blowout variety, including a 22-point loss to Valparaiso last weekend. However, Central Michigan should bounce with a better effort this weekend against Texas. The Longhorns rely on forcing turnovers to get stops on defense and the Chippewas rank eighth in the country with an offensive turnover rate of only 15.2 percent. If Central Michigan can generate some second-chance shots and get to the free-throw line, they should be able to cover the number with ease in this spot. Take the Chippewas to cover the spread at the Erwin Center on Saturday.

Prediction: Central Michigan Chippewas

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These teams feature a contrast of styles, which should make for an interesting game. Texas should be able to be efficient on offense against the Chippewas, who struggle to defend the 3-ball and rank 249th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Meanwhile, Central Michigan ranks 20th in the nation in adjusted tempo and they get their shots up in an average of 14.9 seconds on offense, which ranks 11th in the country. They also take care of the basketball at a high level, which should help them remain efficient against this Longhorns’ defense. Take the over in this non-conference battle on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.