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Rice takes on FAU in a Conference USA basketball matchup on Saturday afternoon. The Rice Owls are 10-16 overall and 5-8 in the league, which places them tied for 11th with MTSU. The FAU Owls are 6-7, which puts them at tied for 7th in C-USA with FIU and Marshall. This is the first meeting of the season for FAU and Rice.
Roller coaster of a season
Rice has won just three games in their last seven games. When they upset Marshall at home on Feb. 9, they needed to go on a run. Instead, they fell at FIU, 86-65 on Thursday night. Quentin Millora-Brown led the Owls with 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Josh Parrish added 13 points. Rice shot 44.4 percent from the field but none of that matters. The only stat the counts in this game was the turnover number. Rice turned it over 33 times against the FIU pressure, while the Golden Panthers committed 15.
“Obviously, (33 turnovers) is a terrible number for us to try to compete on road,” said head coach Scott Pera. “We knew that (FIU) was going to pressure us, try to speed us up and play at a pace that would get us a little out of control. They certainly did that. They did a really good job and deserved to win the game. From the start, they were the aggressor. They were the better team and they deserved to win.
On the season, Rice averages 14.0 turnovers per game and ranks 12th out 14 teams in C-USA in turnover margin (-2.77) and 9th in assist/turnover ratio (0.97). Chris Mullins leads the Owls with 12.3 points per game and in steals with 1.3 per game. On offense, the Owls average 75.4 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting (35.2% 3pt). They allow 78.8 points per game (328th) on 45.1 percent shooting (34.7% 3pt).
Next man up
FAU lost two quality players earlier in the season due to injuries. The biggest loss was to star forward Jaylin Ingram (18.9ppg, 8.2rpg), who injured his knee in mid-December and is out for the season. Jaylen Sebree (9.4ppg, 4.2rpg) injured his shoulder in mid-January and is also out for the season. So FAU had to regroup and they’ve played decently, winning four of six games. The won their last game on Thursday over North Texas, 57-47 at home. This was a quality win for the Owls as a 4.5-point home dog. Anthony Adger led the way with 15 points for FAU, but it was all about the defense. They held the Mean Green to just 33.3 percent shooting and outrebounded them by eight.
Adger leads the Owls with 16.8 points per game, while Simeon Lepichev leads in rebounds with 5.2 per contest. FAU does a pretty good job rebounding the ball. They rank third in C-USA in rebounding margin with 4.6 per game. Overall on offense, FAU averages 72.1 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting (33.1% 3pt) so shooting is an issue. On defense, they allow 69.1 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting (32% 3pt).
- 5-0-1 ATS last 6 Saturday games.
- 4-1 ATS last 5 road games.
- 6-18 ATS last 24 after an ATS win.
- 2-7 ATS last 9 after a SU win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Going with the Rice Owls in this one. They are a strong cover team, especially in this series. The road team is 5-0-1 ATS the last 6 in this series and FAU is 2-7 ATS last 9 after a SU win. The bottom line is that FAU is not a strong enough team due to their injuries to put together any kind of streak. Take the road team.
Full-Game Total Pick
Rice has gone under in two straight and FAU can’t score with any consistency, so they need to win with defense and playing the game at their pace. Rice is 7-1 Under their last 8 after an ATS loss. FAU is 13-5 Under their last 18 overall.