Saturday evening college basketball action and the MAC Conference will meet the Big West Conference as the Eastern Michigan Eagles grapple with the Long Beach State 49ers at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California. The Eagles come into this game off of an 80-65 home win over Central State (OH), while the 49ers are off of a 78-71 road win over Pepperdine. These teams met at Eastern Michigan last year and the Eagles won by a score of 98-72.
Eagles Pound Central State At Home
The Eastern Michigan Eagles have been playing some good ball at the start of the season as they come in having won seven of their first nine games. They haven’t played great competition so far, but they have done what they were supposed to with a lesser opponent. They come in off a solid 80-65 home win over Central State (OH). Their offense has been very solid this year and while they struggled some from long range in the game, they still hit 52.5% of their shots overall. Their offense could have a good showing in this one against a long Beach defense that has been one of the worst in the nation so far. Leading their attack in the win was Elijah Minnie (18.0 ppg) and James Thompson IV (17.6 ppg), who both had 19, while Thompson also had 18 boards in the game as well. Also scoring in double-figures was Paul Jackson (16.0 ppg), who had 14 and Tim Bond (10.3 ppg), who had 13. The Marauders hit 45.6% of their shots overall and 46.2% of their shots from long range, but they eagles did force 25 turnovers and that was pretty much the difference.
The Eagles have been a good offensive team so far as they come in ranked 74th in the nation in scoring, putting up 81.0 ppg, while also ranking 62nd in shooting (48.3%), 279th in 3-point shooting (32.1%) and 168th in free throw shooting (70.9%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been decent so far as they have allowed 70.0 ppg, which is 137th in the nation, while also ranking 83rd in defensive FG% (41.2%) and 268th in 3-point defense (37.0%).
Alberts Helps 49ers Ride The Waves
The Long Beach State 49ers have not gotten off to a great start as they are 5-7 on the year so far, but they do come in having won two of their last three games, which includes a win over Stanford at home and in their last game, they took out the Pepperdine waves on the road by a score of 78-71. Bryan Alberts is 2nd on the team in scoring this year so far at 13.7 ppg and he led them in the win over the Waves with 20 points. He is a transfer from Gonzaga and averaged just 1.8 ppg in 24 games for the Zags last year and just 2.6 ppg in 24 games for them the year before. The 49ers are glad to have him. Also scoring in double figures in the game was Gabe Levin (14.5 ppg), who had 16 points and Deishuan Booker (9.1 ppg), who had 12 points. The 49ers shot a solid 48.3% from the field overall, including 36.4% from long range, while at the defensive end of the court, they played pretty well as they allowed the Waves to hit 45.3% of their shots from the field overall, including just 26.1% of their shots from long range. They will need a good defensive effort if they hope to take down the high-scoring Eagles.
Long Beach State has been an average offensive team so far as they enter this contest ranked 184th in the nation in scoring, putting up 75.2 ppg, while also ranking 156th in shooting (45.6%), 92nd in 3-point shooting (37.6%) and 224th in free throw shooting (69.2%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been very poor as they have allowed 83.3 ppg, which is 333rd in the nation, while also ranking 322nd in defensive FG% (48.4%) and 187th in 3-point defense (34.8%).
Eastern Michigan is:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games
Long Beach State is:
- 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
The Long Beach State 49ers are off to a 5-7 start on the year, but they have won two of their last three games, including taking a win against Stanford here at home. Still, they are playing an Eastern Michigan team that has been solid in the early going as they have won seven of their first nine games. The Eagles have a good offense and the 49ers are one of the worst defensive teams in the nation and I just don’t see them coming up with enough stops to win this game. The 49ers have been good on offense this year, but the Eagles have allowed just 72.7 ppg on the road. The 49ers have been outscored by 12.2 ppg in their last five games and they just won’t be able to hang with the Eagles in this one.