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The Old Dominion Monarchs and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will battle for a semifinal spot in the Conference USA Tournament at the Ford Center in Frisco, Tex. on Thursday night. Old Dominion picked up the No. 1 seed for this event with a 13-5 conference record even though it ended the regular season on a two-game losing streak. The Bulldogs (9-9 C-USA) scraped past Florida Atlantic in the 8 vs. 9 first-round game on Wednesday.
Survive and advance
Louisiana Tech scored a win over Florida Atlantic last week and did the same in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday. Those results provided some payback for a previous 69-61 loss to the Owls, and the first of the two successes gave the Bulldogs their first conference road win on the heels of eight straight such losses. Louisiana Tech pulled out a 57-56 victory over FAU after Amorie Archibald drained two free-throws with 11 seconds and the Owls’ Karlis Silins made only one of two from the charity stripe with one second remaining.
The Bulldogs are 20-12 SU (9-9 in conference action during the regular season) and 18-12 ATS. And with another success, head coach Eric Konkol will have his third 20-win season in four at the helm. Guard DaQuan Bracey is one of only four players in the history of the program to have 1,000 points and 400 assists. Oliver Powell, a 6’8”, 240-pound forward who reportedly bench-presses 285 pounds, has only 15 rebounds in his last five games.
Player of the Year
Old Dominion’s B.J. Stith was named the 2019 Conference USA Player of the Year on Wednesday, as voted on by league coaches and media. Stith becomes the first Monarch since Alex Loughton in 2005 to earn conference Player of the Year honors. Stith also becomes just the seventh Monarch ever to earn such an award and first ever within the C-USA. His nine double-doubles this season rank third in the conference, while his 6.1 defensive rebounds per contest also rank third in C-USA. For the season, he is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game (leads the team), which ranks sixth in the league. He also ranks sixth in Conference USA with 83.6 percent clip from the free-throw line. Stith is averaging 17.3 ppg, which leads the squad and ranks eighth in the league. His 34.2 minutes played per contest are 10th-most in the conference.
.@ODUMensHoops will have a significant home court disadvantage in Thursday's @CUSAMBK quarterfinal against Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs had a large and very loud crowd for tonight's 57-56 victory over FAU. @odu @ODUSports https://t.co/P0PioU46Cw
— Harry Minium (@Harry_MiniumODU) March 14, 2019
Stith has reached double-figures in 26 of 31 games while scoring at least 20 points in 12 of those contests. He ranks 12th in Conference USA with 2.2 three-pointers made per outing and ranks 13th with his 37.4 percent three-point shooting. The redshirt senior was named the C-USA Player of the Week three straight times earlier this season, marking only the second time in league history this feat had been accomplished.
The Old Dominion Monarchs are:
- 0-4 ATS in their last four overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last five neutral-site games
- 0-4 ATS in their last four games against teams with winning records
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are:
- 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 games against teams with winning records
- 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games against teams with winning percentages over .600
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
In addition to boasting the Player of the Year in conference, ODU also has the Coach of the Year roaming the sidelines. Jeff Jones earned those honors earlier this week. The well-rested and high-powered Monarchs should be in good shape on Thursday against an opponent coming off an extremely hard-fought game. Louisiana Tech is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 on Thursdays. Old Dominion is 0-4 ATS in its last four against Conference USA and 6-21 ATS in its last 27 on Thursdays.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Full-Game Total Pick
Archibald has launched 152 three-point attempts for Louisiana Tech and he is the Bulldogs’ chief long-range threat at 36.2 percent. That is a solid mark but not spectacular. In general, they are not a great-shooting team. Louisiana Tech is 14th and last in C-USA with a 62.9 percent clip from the charity stripe. The under is 14-5 in the Bulldogs’ last 19 overall, 19-7 in their last 26 against Conference USA, 5-2 in their last seven against winning opponents, and 9-1 in their last 10 following a win. It is also 4-0 in the Monarchs’ last four overall, 39-14 in their last 53 at neutral sites, and 5-2 in their last seven against winning opponents. Additionally, the under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to stay under the total.