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It’s on to the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament and we will see the South Alabama Jaguars duke it out with the Texas State Bobcats at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Jaguars won the lone meeting between these teams this year by a score of 77-63. The Jags are 10-10 in league play, while the Bobcats are 12-6.
Jags Squeak By Ragin Cajuns
The South Alabama Jaguars have won their first two games of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, but now the competition will stiffen a bit. The Jags got here by taking out Arkansas State 75-67 and UL Lafayette 70-69. Not bad for a team that was just 3-5 down the stretch of the regular-season. South Alabama has not been great on defense this year, but they have allowed just 68 ppg in the two Tourney games. The Jags are ranked 210th by KenPom and they have faced the 244th ranked schedule.
In the 70-69 win over ULL, they allowed the Ragin Cajuns to hit 47.5% of their shots overall, but just 27.3% (6/22) from long range. The offense hit 39.1% (9/23) of their shots from deep, but just 43.4% of their shots overall. The offense has been good this year but will be tested by the Sun Belt’s best defense. Leading their attack was Josh Ajayi (16.7 ppg), who had 25 points after posting 22 in the win over Arkansas State. The Jags have averaged 73.2 ppg and have allowed 74.4 ppg in league play this year.
The Jaguars check in at 116th in the nation in scoring, putting up 73.1 ppg, while also ranking 76th in FG% (46.1%), 54th in 3-point shooting (37.0%) and 263rd in free throw shooting (68.3%). At the defensive end of the floor, they have been below average as they come in ranked 200th in points allowed, giving up 72.3 ppg, while also ranking 248th in defensive FG% (45.0%) and 240th in 3-point defense (35.4%).
Bobcats Look To Shake Off Bad Regular-Season Finish
The Texas State Bobcats had a solid season as they went 23-8 overall, including 12-6 in league play. The Bobcats did not finish strong as they lost their last two regular-season games, which included a 14 point loss at South Alabama in their only meeting this year. They followed that loss up with an 81-73 road loss to Texas-Arlington. Despite the two road losses, the Bobcats are still 12-5 in all games away from home this year. Texas State is ranked 120th in the nation by KenPom and they have faced the 219th ranked schedule.
In the loss to the Mavericks, the Bobcats struggled on defense, which is a bit surprising as they have the best defense in the league. The Mavericks shot 52.0% overall, including 38.1% from long range. They will have to be better than that in this one as the Jaguars have a solid offense. On offense, the Bobcats hit 43.1% of their shots overall and the killer was that they were just four of 22 from long range. Leading their attack was Nijal Pearson (17.1 ppg) and Mason Harrell (3.8 ppg), who each had 13. The Bobcats have averaged 69.9 ppg and have allowed 67.4 ppg in league play this year.
— Texas State Bobcats (@TxStateBobcats) March 11, 2019
The Bobcats enter this game ranked 163rd in the nation in scoring at 73.0 ppg, while also ranking 135th in shooting (45.2%), 232nd in three-point shooting (33.4%) and 302nd in free throw shooting (67.0%). On defense, they are 27th in points allowed, giving up 64.2 ppg, while also ranking 46th in defensive FG% (41.1%) and 22nd in three-point defense (30.3%).
Texas State is:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. the Sun Belt.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss
South Alabama is:
- 16-4-2 ATS in their last 22 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Sun Belt
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The South Alabama Jaguars have been playing well of late and I will look for them to continue doing so. They have won their last three games in a row, while the Bobcats have lost their last two games. Texas State will be seeing revenge for a 14 point loss a few days ago, but they are not a team that will blow many out. The Bobcats are 12-6 in league play, but they have outscored their league opponents by just 2.4 ppg. Lastly, we note that the Jaguars are 20-8-2 ATS in their last 30 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Prediction: South Alabama +6
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect this to be a tight low-scoring game from the start. The Bobcats are not a great offensive team, but they are a great defensive team and their pace of play rates 316th in the nation. They will grind you out on offense and then let their defense do the rest. The Jags have allowed just 68 pg in the tourney so far and the Bobcats have averaged just 63.6 ppg over their last five games. The Under is 15-6 in South Alabama’s last 21 neutral site games and 4-1-1 in Texas State’s last six neutral site games.
Prediction: Under 130.5