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The Rice Owls (18-15) will face the Duquesne Dukes (20-12) Sunday in the first round of the Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational in Daytona Beach, FL.
Owls struggled down the stretchRice started the season 15-5 overall and 6-3 in Conference USA but lost 10 of their final 13 games, including a 27-point loss to UAB that eliminated them in the quarterfinal of the conference tournament. The Owls are 13-16-1 against the spread and 20-10 to the over/under.
Here is the 2023 bracket pic.twitter.com/kY7VNLvTOB— The CBI (@CBITourney) March 13, 2023
The Owls are 213th overall in the KenPom ratings. Offensively the Owls are 130th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 50th averaging 77.4 ppg. Rice has four scorers averaging double digits, led by juniors Quincy Olivari (18.8 ppg), Travis Evee (15.3 ppg), and Max Fiedler (10.7 ppg, 7.4 rebs). On the defensive end, the Owls are 290th in adjusted efficiency. The 76.2 ppg allowed by Rice ranks 333rd in the country. Rice has faced the 129th-rated strength of schedule.
Another opportunityThe Duquesne Dukes went 10-8 during the Atlantic-10 regular season and are on a two-game losing streak after falling 81-70 to La Salle in the second round of the conference tournament. The Dukes led by six points at the half, but the Explorers dominated them in the second half to end their season.
PREVIEW— Duquesne Basketball (@DuqMBB) March 16, 2023
Discount Tire CBI Opener vs. Rice#GoDukes | #A10MBB https://t.co/0nKfltLK5k
The Dukes are 125th in the KenPom ratings. They are 107th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 108th scoring 75 ppg. Junior guards Dae Dae Grant (15.1 ppg) and Jimmy Clark III lead the team n scoring (12.2 ppg). On the defensive end, the Dukes are 161st in adjusted efficiency and 196th allowing 70.5 ppg. Duquesne has played the 197th-rated strength of schedule.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams can flat-out score, but Duquesne is an average team on the defensive end, while Rice is very poor on the defensive end. When the Dukes have won down the stretch, they have been dominant more often than not, with 10 of their last 11 wins coming by at least nine points or more. When Rice losses, they tend to lose big, with four of their previous five losses coming by 16 points or more. I will take Duquesne to roll.
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Full-Game Total Pick
The CBI is not the NCAA Tournament, but it is still a postseason tournament being played at neutral settings, and the unders have dominated those postseason games so far.
We have two strong offensive teams in this game, but we also have two teams with a lot of time to prepare for each other and have not taken the floor for a game in more than a week. I expect some extra game planning on the defensive end and some sloppy offensive play early. This will not be a low-scoring game, going over 150, but the 160 points are too many. I will go under with Duquesne winning 84-72.