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In today’s matchup we have two teams that come in with almost identical winning records…ODU has a 9-5 overall record and Marshall has a 9-6 overall record…However, what is not identical about these two teams is how they play ball…ODU plays a very slow “watching the paint dry” methodical kind of game, while Marshall likes to play an up-tempo faster paced style…Two different methods and coaching philosophies are at play here…But, I am siding with the Thundering Herd as I believe that their explosive offense at home, will be able to dictate the style of play in this game…And that, along with some other reasons I listed below, is why I am on Marshall tonight.
I personally don’t necessarily like ODU’s style of play…However, I have to respect the fact that it has led to them possessing the 2nd ranked scoring defense in the nation, that allows just 56.4 ppg…Currently, the Monarchs are only 2nd to 9th ranked Virginia’s scoring defense which allows only 48.6 ppg…ODU’s slow style of play has limited their opponents field goals per game, and has also helped them keep their opponents average to a low 38.8% shooting from the field in the process…But, ODU has also done well on the boards where they rank a solid 7th in the nation in offensive rebounding and 30th overall in rebounding per game…Their strong play on the boards reminds me a little of Kent St, a team who we backed on Tuesday, due in part to their strong offensive and defensive rebounding.
So why, you may be wondering, with such a strong defense and solid rebounding, am I going against the Monarchs today?…Well, for one, ODU is not playing this conference game at home…which is where Kent St played when they beat Ball St…And second, because unlike Kent St, ODU doesn’t have a strong scoring offense or possess accurate shooting, especially in road games, for me to side with them…In fact, ODU’s offense overall is ranked 347th in the nation in scoring, avg. 59.1 ppg…They are ranked 348th in the nation in FG% shooting, avg. 36.5% from the field…They are ranked 346th in shooting from downtown, avg. 27.8%…And, they are ranked 344th in shooting from the line, avg. a low of 61.1%.
Currently, ODU’s offensive averages in road games, drops even lower for most categories…as they average just 58 points per game, 35.9% shooting from the field, 29.9% shooting from downtown and just 58.6% shooting from the line, on the road…Remarkably, even with their struggles on the offensive end, the Monarchs solid defensive play has enable them to win 9 games so far on the season.
Still, even with all of that said, I can’t ignore this Marshall team that is 7-0 at home so far this season…where they average a solid 89.3 ppg (8th in the nation), a solid 49.4% shooting from the field, 35.9% shooting from downtown and who averages 20-26 FTM-ATT and 77.2% shooting from the line…Furthermore, I also like how Marshall in home games play a lot better in one very important key area, than ODU has in their games on the road…That important key area is in ball movement/control where Marshall averages 16 assists to just 11 turnovers at home, which ranks the Herd 45th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio…ODU, on the other hand, has struggled in this key area averaging just 11 assists while committing an average of 16 turnovers in their games on the road…This is not a good stat for a team like ODU, as turnovers limits their possessions even more.
Side Note: Marshall is ranked 8th in the nation in scoring and has already scored 89 and 94 points in their first two conference games played.
Marshall at home, is where they also have played their best on the defensive end…In fact, in home games, they have held opponents to average 14 less points then what they score…They have held opponents to just 40.7% shooting from the field and just 29.3% shooting from downtown…Marshall, at home, has also been good at limiting their personal fouls to an average of 16 pg…while getting their opponents to commit an average of 23 personal fouls against them…This is another area which gives Marshall edge in this game…as the Monarchs have averaged committing 22 personal fouls in their road games…Still, ODU somehow in their last game vs N Texas, were fortunate to pull off a win as the Mean Green, who is a 70+% FT shooting team, missed 9 freebies from the line…Well, that luck won’t carry over to this game…as I am not expecting this Herd team, who averages 20-26 FTM-to-ATTs at home and a solid 77.2% shooting from the charity line at home, to miss that many freebies…No way ODU benefits from that happening again.
Side Note: In Marshalls last game, which they won on the road, they held Florida Atlantic to under 20% shooting from downtown.
Side Note: Also, in Marshalls last game…9 different players scored in the game, while 8 different players also grabbed rebounds.
Bottom line is if defense was enough and winning on the road in conference play was easy to do, and especially with a low scoring and bad shooting team like ODU is…then yeah, I would be all over the Monarchs…But, as we have seen in recent days…even high nationally ranked teams, who also possess top nationally ranked defenses as well as offenses, wasn’t enough to guarantee them a win on the road in conference play…If that is still hard to believe, just ask #1 Villanova, #21 Va Tech, #9 Virginia and #12 WV…how they did in their conference road games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
ODU may have a solid 9-5 record so far…But, they had the luxury of playing 6 straight games and 7 of their last 9 games at home…The Monarchs haven’t played in hostile enemy territory in about a month…And this, I feel will work against them in this game today…Marshall, on the other hand, has played the opposite with 5 of their last 6 games and 7 of their last 10 games played on the road…The Herds last “lined” game at home was back on December 10th, where they put up 111 points in their win over a solid Toledo squad.
So, with this game being like a homecoming, as well as the first conference home game for the Herd, I am expecting the Cam Henderson Center to be rockin’ and full of energy which will only help the Herd tonight…With the home crowd excited to see their team take the floor, I am also expecting Marshall and their solid core of double digit scorers to be able to harness that energy to dictate, score and control this game well in their favor…ODU may be able to slow down the game at times, but I don’t believe they will be able to consistently keep the defensive pressure on all of the Herds scorers or prevent them from getting to the line, where they are very good at banking those freebies.
Remember, the Herd was able to beat these Monarchs twice last season and that team averaged scoring 69 ppg…10 more points, then this seasons team is struggling to putting up…Again, ODU got lucky in their last win at home over N Texas, where they shot a dismal 28.1% from the field and just 19% from downtown…Tonight, that luck stops and the Herd extends their winning streak over the Monarchs to 3 straight….Who are we?…….WE ARE MARSHALL!
Side Note: ODU is just 5-11 ATS in their last 16 road games, after playing 3 or more straight games at home.
Side Note: ODU is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU win.
Side Note: Marshall is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games…And, they are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs teams with a winning record.
Side Note: Marshall is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs teams with a winning record.