Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#671 Pacific -2.5 vs.
#672 Loyola Marymount 124
Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 10:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of teams from the Golden State take the floor in a West Coast Conference clash. The Pacific Tigers are on the road as they make the trip to face the Loyola Marymount Lions Thursday night. Pacific downed Santa Clara 87-74 at home in their last contest as a 4.5-point favorite Saturday night. Loyola Marymount earned a 66-58 road win over Portland in their previous contest as a 2.5-point favorite Saturday night. The Lions lead the all-time regular season series 32-28 but it was the Tigers taking a 62-50 home win in the most recent matchup on January 30 as a 6.5-point favorite.

Pacific Tigers Try to Continue Solid Season

Pacific has turned in their best season since 2012-13, which was their final year in the Big West, and has to be one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Tigers are 21-9 overall and 9-5 in the WCC for coach Damon Stoudamire, which has them fourth in the standings with four games to go. Pacific started the year 5-3 before reeling off nine wins in their next 10 games, capped by a 107-99 quadruple overtime win at home on January 4 over Saint Mary’s in what is their marquee win of the season. The Tigers proceeded to drop five of their next seven games but has rebounded by winning five of their last six contests coming into this game.

The Tigers put up an average of 70.5 points per game on the season coming into this one, putting them 224th in scoring offense. Pacific grabs 36.4 boards a night while dishing out 11.9 assists per contest. The Tigers are excellent so far this season defensively as they rank 54th in scoring defense by allowing 64.6 points a night. Jahlil Tripp leads the Tigers with 15.9 points plus 8.7 rebounds a game this season. He is the only player averaging in double figures as Justin Moore is next in line with 8.6 points per game. Broc Finsteun, Gary Chivichyan, Amari McCray, James Hampshire, Austin Vereen, Jeremiah Bailey, Daniss Jenkins and Pierre Crockrell III are all part of a deep Pacific rotation this season. Pacific shoots 45.6 percent from the field as a team this season. The Tigers are draining 5.7 triples a night while hitting 35.2 percent from beyond the arc. Pacific is sputtering at the charity stripe, cashing in only 66.4 percent of their attempts this season.

According to KenPom, Pacific is an above-average team on both ends of the floor. The Tigers are 159th in offensive efficiency and 106th in defensive efficiency this season. Pacific crashes the glass hard as they are 42nd in offensive rebound percentage (32.7 percent) while they are second in offensive rebound percentage allowed at 20.7 percent this season. The Tigers are 65th in three-point shooting but has to improve on being 297th in free throw shooting. Pacific is 41st in block percentage (11.8 percent) and sees opposing teams record assists on only 39.4 percent of their field goals, the sixth-lowest mark in the nation. The Tigers are a slow-paced team as they are 322nd in the nation in tempo with 64.9 possessions a night.

Loyola Marymount Lions Seek Back to Back Wins

Loyola Marymount comes into this contest losers of three straight games, which is part of a bigger issue. The Lions are 10-18 for coach Mike Dunlap this season and stand 4-10 in conference play on the year. After starting the year 2-4, Loyola Marymount won three of four to get to the .500 mark at 5-5 on the season. Since that point, the Lions have dropped 13 of 18 games and they’ve cracked the 70-point plateau just twice in that span. Loyola Marymount’s best win on the season came against Santa Clara last week. The Broncos are currently just 148th in the rankings according to KenPom.com.

The Lions are averaging 64.6 points per contest on the year, putting them 324th in the nation in scoring offense. Loyola Marymount is collecting just 30.1 rebounds per contest and dish out an average of 11.8 assists per contest. The Lions have been solid defensively, allowing an average of 67.7 points per contest, which is 133rd in the nation. Eli Scott leads the team with 16.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists a night this season. He is the only player averaging in double figures as Ivan Alipiev is next in line with 8.4 points a night. Parker Dortch, Erik Johansson, Jordan Bell, Keli Leaupepe, Seikou Sisoho Jawara and Deovaunta Williams all put up at least 3.5 points a night. The Lions shoot 46.8 percent from the field as a team this season. Loyola Marymount averages 5.5 three-pointers a night while knocking down 31.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Lions are sinking a dismal 66.2 percent of their attempts at the charity stripe this season.

According to KenPom.com, the numbers for Loyola Marymount leaves plenty to be desired on both ends of the floor. The Lions are 212th in offensive efficiency and 189th in defensive efficiency this season. Loyola Marymount stands 202nd in three-point field goal percentage defense (33.6 percent) and 321st in two-point field goal percentage defense (53.8 percent) this season. The Lions are extremely deliberate on the offensive end as they are 350th in tempo as they have only 62.8 possessions per game. Loyola Marymount is 351st in time per possession as they hold the ball for 20.4 seconds per possession on the year.

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Loyola Marymount earned the win in their last game but the fact remains that the Lions have dropped six of their last eight coming into this contest. The Lions are at home here, but they are only 7-7 on the season as the hosts. Pacific is only 5-5 as the visiting team on the year but the fact remains that the team has been solid this season in what has been a great surprise. The Tigers are playing well and they are excellent on the defensive end of the floor. It’s going to be a challenge trying to get things going against Pacific as Loyola Marymount’s offense has been dismal this season. Facing a stout Pacific defense is too much to ask for them here. Give the Tigers the win on the road here.

Prediction: Pacific Tigers -1.5

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Pacific has been excellent on the defensive end of the floor this season, making their middle of the road offense look dangerous. Loyola Marymount has been capable on the defensive end of the floor but they have to find a way to get their offense going. The Lions are just 324th in scoring offense despite ranking 46th in field goal percentage this season. If the Lions played at a faster tempo, they might be able to generate more offense but they'll be tested by a tough Pacific defensive team. This one ends up going just over the number as the Tigers knock down enough free throws late to earn the victory.

Prediction: Over 122.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.