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The Little Rock Trojans will host the Texas State Bobcats in a Sun Belt battle Saturday afternoon from the Jack Stephens Center. The Bobcats are coming off an 84-74 road win over Arkansas State, and the Trojans collected a 56-52 home win over UT Arlington in their previous action. Texas State cruised to an 80-62 home win over Little Rock last month.
Texas State Remains in Top Spot in Sun Belt
The Texas State Bobcats will be hunting for their fourth consecutive victory in this contest. They hold a one game lead ahead of Georgia State for first place in the Sun Belt standings with a 9-3 record. The Bobcats came through with another strong defensive effort in an 84-74 road win over Arkansas State on Thursday night. The Bobcats only shot 40% in the victory, although they held Arkansas State to a 43% clip. Bobcats’ leading scorer Nijal Pearson was outstanding, sinking 21 points on a 7 for 15 shooting performance. The junior guard has reached at least 19 points in two out of his last three games, and he is up to 18.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG on the year.
Jaylen Shead is on the rise, scoring at least 13 points in three out of his last four games which included 17 points in Thursday’s victory. The junior guard has increased his season average to 7.8 PPG on 47% shooting.
Bobcats win their third straight game, complete their third season series sweep, and now sit alone at the top of the Sun Belt Conference after tonight's 84-74 win over Arkansas State! #Takers #AllForTXST pic.twitter.com/Innk8tbeLR
— Texas State MBB (@TXStateMBB) February 15, 2019
The Bobcats are positioned at 99th in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings, and they feature an outstanding 8-3 road record. Texas State is averaging 75.2 points on the season, ranking them 123rd in the country. The Bobcats defense is their greatest strength, and they are holding opponents to 64.2 points, good for 24th in the country.
Little Rock Collects Third Straight Win
The Arkansas Little Rock Trojans are on a roll, riding a three-game winning streak. The Trojans played outstanding defense in a 56-52 home win over UT Arlington on Thursday night. Little Rock only converted on 38% of their field goals, while limiting UT Arlington to a 32% mark from the field. Trojans’ top scorer Rayjon Tucker was solid in the winning effort, recording 11 points along with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. The junior guard is playing well, scoring at least 23 points in three out of his last four games, and he is sporting an average of 20.1 PPG on 49% shooting.
Deondre Burns chipped in with 10 points in Thursday’s defeat. The junior guard is the Trojans best free-throw shooter with a 79% efficiency, and he stands third in team scoring with 10.4 PPG.
"It's a brotherly love out here. It's what it is – It's Little Rock's team, it's our team. It's what we play for" – Rayjon Tucker
— Little Rock Basketball (@LittleRockMBB) February 15, 2019
The Trojans are currently placed at 186th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings, and they are now 7-6 on their home court. Little Rock is still in the bottom half of the conference standings with a 5-7 mark in Sun Belt play. They are averaging 76.2 points on the season, ranking them 98th in the country. The Trojans defense has been better recently, and they are conceding an average of 75.8 points, placing them down at 281st in the country.
The Little Rock Trojans are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games against a team with a winning road record.
- 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 home games.
- 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600.
The Texas State Bobcats are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against Little Rock.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games against a team with a winning road record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am siding with Texas State in this contest. Texas State has won three consecutive games, and they also cruised to a dominating 80-62 victory against Little Rock just under a month ago. Little Rock relies on their offense to win games, however they are up against an outstanding defensive Bobcats’ squad. Little Rock attempted 19 three’s while only converting on 5 of them against Texas State last month.
Furthermore, while Little Rock is playing well recently, they have still only won three out of their last eight games, and I don’t trust their defense against a strong shooting Texas State team.
Prediction: Texas State
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is a solid option in this one. Texas State’s defense should play a key role in the under. The Bobcats are limiting opponents to an average of only 64.2 points on the season, and they were able to neutralize Little Rock in the first meeting this season.
In addition, while I expect some offense from Texas State, Little Rock is playing better defense as of late, allowing 70 or fewer points in three straight games, plus the under is 7-3 in the Trojan’s last 10 home games.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The over on the Texas State team total is a strong option. Texas State was able to shoot a sizzling 53.2% from the field and they also went 10 for 20 from three-point territory in their win against Little Rock last month. Also, the Little Rock three-point defense ranks down at 274th in the country, and the Bobcats feature a solid 35.5% efficiency from beyond the arc.
Prediction: Texas State Team Total: Over
Half-Time Side Pick
I am sticking with Texas State on the halftime line. Texas State owns strong first half stats. They are averaging a terrific 38.7 points in their last three games, while Little Rock has only averaged 28.3 point in their last three games. Also, the Bobcats are limiting opponents to only 30.7 points in the first half this season.
Prediction: Texas State