Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#791 Samford 161 vs.
#792 Western Carolina -10.5
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Samford Bulldogs will travel to the Ramsey Center on Wednesday night for a Southern Conference clash versus the Western Carolina Catamounts.

Since starting the conference season with a 2-0 record, Samford has gone on to lose 13 of its last 15 games. Meanwhile Western Carolina is tied for fourth place with a 9-7 record in Southern play. Can the Catamounts keep their momentum going at home against the struggling Bulldogs on Wednesday night?

Samford comes up short vs. East Tennessee State

Samford came up short versus East Tennessee State on Saturday night 80-74 despite 25 points from sophomore Robert Allen. Josh Sharkey added 20 points and Jalen Dupree chipped in 12 for the Bulldogs, who lost despite knocking down a red-hot 12-of-20 from 3-point range.

Scott Padgett’s squad comes into Wednesday’s matchup slotted at No. 315 in the latest KenPom rankings after dropping 13 of their last 14 Southern contests. Samford has scored 98.2 points per 100 possessions for the season (242nd in the NCAA) and 95.8 points per 100 possessions during conference play (9th in the Southern). The Bulldogs sport the worst effective field goal percentage in the Southern at 47.1 percent and they have turned the ball over on 21.3 percent of their offensive possessions (10th in the Southern). Samford does most of its damage from inside the arc but it has shot a league-low 46.0 percent from 2-point range during the conference season (10th in the Southern).

On defense, the Bulldogs have surrendered a whopping 11.1 points per 100 possessions for the year (319th in the NCAA) and a league-high 115.2 points per 100 possessions versus Southern opponents (10th in the Southern). They have gotten torched from beyond the arc and on the offensive glass during league play. Southern teams have shot a red-hot 39.5 percent from distance (10th in Southern) while hauling in a league-high 32.6 percent of their missed field goal attempts versus Samford’s defense so far this year.

Catamounts cruise to victory vs. Citadel behind balanced scoring performance

Western Carolina cruised to a 96-84 victory over The Citadel on Saturday for its second win in three games. Carlos Dotson finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Matt Halvorsen chipped in 21 points to pace five Catamounts players in double-figures on the night. The Catamounts shot 12-for-33 from long-range and led by as many as 15 points in the second half.

Mark Prosser’s squad enters their final home game of the season ranked No. 175 in the latest KenPom rankings after improving to 9-7 during conference play. The Catamounts have scored 106.6 points per 100 possessions (78th in the NCAA) and 107.5 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (4th in the Southern). Western Carolina has struggled with turnovers (7th in the Southern) but it has made up points by shooting a league-best 36.6 percent from 3-point range and getting to the free throw line at 37.6 percent clip (1st in the Southern).

On defense, the Catamounts have given up 106.8 points per 100 possessions for the season (276th in the NCAA) and 107.8 points per 100 possessions during Southern play (7th in the Southern). Western Carolina has done a good job of holding teams to just one shot (3rd in the Southern) and keeping opponents off of the free throw line (4th in the Southern) during league play.

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The Catamounts are the best 3-point shooting team in the Southern Conference and Samford has really struggled to defend the 3-ball this year. The Bulldogs also give up the most offensive rebounds in the conference, which has made it difficult for them to string together stops on the defensive end. It’s not like they’ve been electric on offense either. Samford does most of its damage from 2-point range but it has shot a league-low 46.0 percent from inside the arc during league play. Look for Western Carolina to cover the number in its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday night.

Prediction: Western Carolina Catamounts

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Both of these teams rank near the top of the Southern Conference in terms of pace. The Bulldogs rank second in adjusted tempo and third in average possession length on offense. Meanwhile, the Catamounts rank third in tempo and fourth in average possession length, so this should turn into a fast-paced game. Neither squad has been particularly interested in playing defense either. Samford is the Southern’s worst defensive team while the Catamounts force turnovers at the lowest rate in the conference. Those extra possessions will come in handy for Samford in this one. Take this game to go over the projected total on Wednesday night.

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.