Featured Video from Scott Steehn
The Old Dominion Monarchs and UAB Blazers will battle for a spot in the Conference USA Tournament final when they collide at the Ford Center in Frisco, Tex. on Friday afternoon. Old Dominion tipped off its week with a victory over Louisiana Tech on Thursday. UAB is the only team left that didn’t have a bye, as it defeated Middle Tennessee State and then ousted No. 4 seed UTSA in the quarters.
The Blazers went into the C-USA Tournament on a positive note, as they just scored a win over the league’s regular-season champion. There was a rough stretch in which UAB lost four straight games–two to Middle Tennessee, then to Old Dominion and Charlotte, but they recovered to an extent with consecutive road wins over Marshall (which subsequently got hot), Western Kentucky (the pre-season C-USA favorite), and defensively-stout Southern Miss. Then the Blazers lost games to Western Kentucky and UTSA before ending the regular season with a 64-50 win over none other than Old Dominion in which they held the Monarchs to just 30 percent shooting. That late momentum carried over into round one this week, as UAB beat Middle Tennessee State 70-61 on Wednesday and UTSA 85-76 in the quarters.
— UAB Men's Basketball (@UAB_MBB) March 15, 2019
The Blazers are now 19-13 SU (10-8 in C-USA action during the regular season) and 14-15-1 ATS. Zack Bryant leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and assists (4.0 apg), while Lewis Sullivan is the rebounding leader at 6.8 rpg and has a ranking of 41st nationally in turnover rate); he is averaging less than one per contest. UAB has played against two teams that are currently ranked–-it lost an 81-63 decision to Florida State and took in-state rival Auburn (now 20th in the AP rankings) to overtime before losing 75-71 on Dec. 15.
Just barely survived
Old Dominion is coming off a thrilling 57-56 win over Louisiana Tech in its tournament opener. Ahmad Caver made a three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining gave the Monarchs a lead before the Bulldogs erred on a three-point try of their own at the buzzer. Caver led the way with 17 points and seven assists, while B.J. Stith added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Xavier Green finished with 10 points and Kalu Ezikpe delivered four blocks.
ODU boasts both the Coach of the Year (Jeff Jones) and the Player of the Year (Stith) in Conference USA. Stith became the first Monarch since Alex Loughton in 2005 to earn conference Player of the Year honors. He also became 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. 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:
- 0-5 ATS in their last five overall
- 1-5 ATS in their last six neutral-site games
- 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games against Conference USA
The UAB Blazers are:
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning percentages over .600
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Blazers just upset Old Dominion and based on current form there is no reason why they can’t do it again. UAB is 6-2 ATS in its last eight against Conference USA, 4-1 ATS in its last five following a win, and 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between the two teams. The Monarchs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 following a win and 0-5 ATS in their last five against winning opponents.
Full-Game Total Pick
It is worth noting that ODU had already secured the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Tournament before playing UAB, but the defensive effort was impressive anyway. The under is 7-1 in the Blazers’ last eight against opponents with winning percentages over .600. It is also 5-0 in the Monarchs’ last five overall, 5-0 in their last five against Conference USA, 40-14 in their last 54 at neutral sites, and 5-1 in their last six following a win. Look for this one to stay under the total.