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Saturday’s NCAA Hoops Play – 1/7/2017

Saturday’s NCAA Hoops Play – 1/7/2017

TOP RATED PLAY ON: 

Ball State -4  

On Tuesday, we faded these Cardinals and won a Top Rated Play selection on Kent St…Today though, we are backing the Cardinals vs Bowling Green…as I like the matchup and edges that they will have over the Falcons.

One thing to note, is that even though the Falcons are picked by many to finish in the basement of the MAC…they won’t be taken lightly by these Cardinals, as the Falcons has dominated this series between the two schools…The Falcons have currently won 5 of the last 6 against the Cardinals…And it was only last season that the Cardinals were finally able to break their losing streak to the Falcons…Still, I believe that the Cards will be able to do it again today because of several Key Edges/Advantages that they currently have on their side in this matchup…See below.

1ST BIG EDGE……The Cardinals gets an edge with this one being played at home…And, it is also the first conference game being played at home this season…So, I am expecting the players as well as their fans to be pumped up and ready to give their team a strong Home Court Advantage.

Bowling Green is not so fortunate, as this will be their 2nd straight road game and also their 2nd straight game against a top conference team…They also come into this one, off a hard fought emotional loss at Akron, where they had their best offensive output of the season, including the rebounding and FT edges…yet still lost by 5 points…The Falcons were psyched up for that game against the conference’s top team in Akron…And I believe that that close loss will still be on their minds today…Furthermore, because the Falcons shot way above their averages and their track record of inconsistency, I also believe that they will not be able to duplicate that offensive output or the emotional energy they played that game with either…Remember, this game is again on the road…where the Falcons have only experienced negative outcomes, as their 0-6 road record this season can attest too.

Side Note: I don’t care that Bowling Green has been competitive in their road game losses…When a young team like Bowling Green suffers continued multiple losses, close or not, it quickly can become habit forming for them…Who knows, with all the close losses on the road, maybe they already accepted that they won’t/can’t win on the road…At least we know Ball St will be in a better frame of mind. 

2nd BIG EDGE…..Ball St returns 4 starters and 7 reserve players from last season 21 game winning team.

Last season, Ball St was able to win 21 games and capture a share of the MAC West division title, surprising many people…This season though, they were strongly picked to finish 2nd in the MAC West division and even received 12 first place, out 36 total votes…That vote of confidence for Ball St say a lot as this is the highest that the Cardinals have been rated since coach Whitford took over 3 seasons ago.

Again, the reason why many have picked the Cards to finish so high this season is due to the fact that they have 4 starters and 7 reserve players from last season, who returned…Those players represents 5 of their top 6 scorers from last season, which also includes pre-season All-Conf Forward House…What this also translates to in offensive production, is that 76% of last seasons scoring returned for the Cardinals…In addition, what this also provides the Cardinals is team continuity and chemistry.

Bowling Green, on the other hand, return 3 starters and 2 reserves who contributed a little off the bench…But, they did lose their two top and most important players in forward Spencer, who led them in scoring and 2nd in rebounding and guard Joseph, who was their floor general and assist leader…The lost of these two players is huge for this young Falcon team and one of the main reasons why they have struggled with consistency.

Side Note: Bowl Green was voted by media and coaches to finish last in the MAC conference this season.

Currently, the Cardinals are averaging 77.6 ppg, 46.3% shooting from the field (3rd in the conf), 38.3% from downtown (3rd in the conf) and 69.2% from the line…In addition, Ball St is ranked 1st in the MAC in assists, averaging a solid 16.6 assist per game…And they are also ranked 4th in the conf, averaging 9.1 three’s made per game as well.

Bowling Green is allowing opponents to score 72.7 ppg overall…However, in their 6 road games, they have allowed 79.3 ppg and 49.7% shooting from the field.

Side Note: In Bowling Green’s last road game at Akron…they allowed the Zips to score 89 points, shoot 56% from the field and hit 10 of their 22 shots from downtown.

3rd BIG EDGE …..Ball St continues to play solid on the defensive end…Last season, the Cardinals were known for playing solid on defense…where they allowed just 40.5% shooting from the field, which ranked 2nd in the conf & 40th in the nation…And they only gave up 68.8 ppg, which ranked 56th in the nation…This year, the Cardinals has continue to play strong on the defensive end and especially at home.

In fact, in home games, the Cardinals are only allowing opponents to score 63.9 ppg, 40.2% shooting from the field and just 28.7% shooting from downtown…At home, the Cardinals also are dominant on the boards as they average 42 rebs per game (12 offensive rebs), while holding opponents to just 34.1 rebs.

In the Cards last game loss to Kent St, they gave up 100 points and were out boarded 38-30…However, you have to remember, that that game was on the conf road and Kent St is ranked in the top 5 in the nation in rebounding, not to mention that they also was unconscious in their free throw shooting, hitting a whopping 31-of-31 from the line….Ball St though, did manage to put up 90 on Kent St’s solid defense and also shoot 47.6% from the field as well…Today against Bowling Green’s defense they won’t have that same problem.

Bottom line is before the Cards lost at Kent St on Tuesday, they were the hottest team in the MAC winning 5 straight games…Now Akron, after they beat this Falcons team, has the longest winning streak in the conf at 5 games…Still, vs this young and inconsistent Bowling Green team, the Cards have all the Key Edges that will propel them to their first conference win…The Cards have the better balanced scoring offensive mix of guards and big men down low…They also will have the defensive and rebounding edge in this one…And, they are catching a demoralized Falcons team off a close emotional hard fought lost.

All of that, along with home court advantage, should be more than enough for this Cardinal team to bring home the bacon with a solid double digit win over a Falcons team that has been a constant thorn in their side for many seasons….Today, at the Worthen Arena I expect the Cards to get back to their winning ways with a solid victory over this projected MAC cellar dweller…..GO CARDS!

Side Note: Bowling Green is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games played on Saturday.

Side Note: Bowling Green is 4-11 ATS in their last 15 conference games.

Side Note: Bowling Green is 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games vs teams with a winning record over .600.

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