AAC action here as the UCF Knights host the Wichita State Shockers. Both teams are jumbled up in the middle of the conference standings right now, so this is an important one for both sides. UCF Anders at 13-10, while Wichita State’s it 17-6. Oddsmakers have Wichita as a slight road favor for this one, which will be televised nationally by ESPN2.
Wichita State Loses Three Straight
In recent memory, Wichita State has always been a mid-major powerhouse on the college basketball scene. They fell off last year as they were playing a lineup composed of almost entirely freshman, which wasn’t too surprising. They still weren’t even that bad last year all things considered, and they came back with a vengeance for this campaign. They started off hot and have been having a very solid season overall, entering this one at 17-6. They have stumbled recently and enter this one off three straight losses, but I’m still not panicking just yet. Two of those three losses were by three points or less to good teams, and the other was on the road against an elite Houston team.
The game against Houston was ugly, but I think that was more of a fluke than anything else. Coming off the 33-point beat down, they should be extra motivated for this one and this is somewhat of a last stand for them. The offense has been meddling, but the defense has been superb. They rank 15th nationally in overall defensive efficiency according to advanced analytics site kenpom.com, and they can shut down just about any opponent. Despite playing at a pretty fast pace, they regularly limit opponents to 65 points or fewer. They’ve already had plenty of impressive efforts away from home, like when they dominated Oklahoma State by 19 points on the road, or UConn and South Carolina, showing they don’t have too much of an issue winning on the highway.
UCF Falling Apart
UCF is coming off a very successful campaign. They were a very experienced team, and they made it all the way to the NCAA tournament where they won a game and almost shocked Duke in the second round. Unfortunately for them, all of that experience meant that they lost a lot of guys to graduation. That included the heart and soul of the team in Aubrey Dawkins, and also one of the best big men in the nation in Tacko Fall. To top it off they also lost guard BJ Taylor, who averaged 15.9 points per game himself last season. They even lost Colin Smith, Terrell Allen, Dayon Griffin, and Chad Brown, each of their next four leading scorers.
They somehow managed to lose each of their top seven guys from last season, and as such pretty much completely started from scratch this year. It was an unprecedented amount of turnover, and unsurprisingly they haven’t been as good as a result. They are relying on a whole bunch of transfers and young guys, which has led to a lot of inconsistency on offense. They haven’t had much chemistry, and they are shooting just 31.9 percent from downtown while turning it over 13.5 times per game. Barring a miracle run in the conference tournament, they won’t be going back to March Madness. They’re just 4-8 in their last 12 games, and those four wins all came against some of the conference’s weaker teams. When they played this same Wichita State team just a few games ago, they lost and gave up 87 points.
FREE PICK: UCF +3
Click Here for ALL of Tonight’s BEST BETS!
INCLUDING THE 500-UNIT BLOWOUT PLAY!