Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#689 Louisiana Tech 137.5 vs.
#690 Western Kentucky -1.5
Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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We're back to Conference USA Bonus play as Louisiana Tech (11-4 C-USA) takes on Western Kentucky (11-4 C-USA) in a second-place battle on Thursday night from Bowling Green at 8pmET.

These teams last met on Feb. 6 with the Hilltoppers winning 65-54 at home.

Back on a roll

Louisiana Tech had won four straight before losing at Western Kentucky by 11 and at Marshall by four in overtime. They got back on track with wins over FIU and FAU at home, before edging North Texas as a four-point dog on Saturday on the road. DaQuan Bracey scored 26 points and hit the game-winner with a second left to give the Bulldogs the big road win 73-71. The Bulldogs shot 50% from the field and 50% (10-20) from beyond the arc, but shot just 9-of-16 (56%) from the free throw line. The Mean Green also shot 51% but made just 4 of 22 from the three-point line.

This is a really good La Tech team that ranks 73rd in the latest KenPom overall ranking. They also rank 63rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 87th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They'll go to some postseason tournament if they don't win the C-USA. Bracey leads the Bulldogs with 12.9 points and 2.9 assists.

The defense has been outstanding for Louisiana Tech, who allows just 62.9 points per game on 39.7% shooting (31st) and 31.6% from beyond the arc. If they have a weakness, it's from the free throw line, where they are shooting just 66.3% (308th). They shoot it well overall from the field (46.4%), the three-point line (35.4%) and they outrebound teams by 3.8 per game.

Shocker at home

Western Kentucky went into their game against Charlotte on Saturday without suffering a home loss in conference. That ended against Charlotte, who needed a Jordan Shepherd runner off the glass with two seconds left to edge the Hilltoppers 72-70 at home. The 49ers shot 51% from the field and outrebounded Western Kentucky by 11. The Hilltoppers shot 46% from the field but just 29% (5-17) from beyond the arc. Carson Williams (13.6ppg, 6.3rpg) led the way with 18 points and six rebounds for Western Kentucky, while Taveion Hollingsworth (15.3ppg) added 16 points and five boards.

Before the Charlotte loss, the Hilltoppers had won four straight games over Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, UTEP and UTSA in overtime. They are 11-2 at home and 5-5 on the road. Western Kentucky ranks 116th overall according to KenPom, 72nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 181st in adjusted defensive efficiency. They allow 70.6 points per game on 43.8% shooting and just 29.8% from beyond the arc (32nd). They average 75.5 points per game on 45.6% shooting (33.3% 3pt). They also get outrebounded by 1.9 per game.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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This should be an outstanding game, but I don't see Western Kentucky losing back-to-back games at home. If they had beaten Charlotte, I might have felt differently about this outcome. In that first meeting on Feb. 6, Western Kentucky hung with Louisiana Tech on the boards (-1) and forced 14 turnovers. They do want to get out and run some (135th in pace) and will force the temp when necessary. They also don't have to rely on one scorer and have the balance necessary to beat good teams.

Prediction: Western Kentucky -1

Full-Game Total Pick

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I'd like to think this could be a high-scoring game with Western Kentucky forcing a fast pace. But the first game went well under the total. So did three straight games in this series. When two good teams meet for the second time, they are so well-scouted that both offenses will have to grind it out just to score points. There are no real secrets in this one.

Prediction: Under 139
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!