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Both teams come in to this game with the same 2-2 conference record…But, that is where their similarities end…The Bobcats are a poor road team and have lost 3 of their last 4 away from home….While Troy, on the other hand, thrives at home where they just pulled off a big upset over conference favorite, Texas Arlington.
Troy’s strength is on the offensive side, where they can score in all 3 phases…While Texas St’s strength is on the defensive end, where they are allowing the fewest points per game, in the Sun Belt conference.
If this game was being played 15 years ago, I probably take the team with the better defense…However, in this day and age, it’s the offense that puts you in position to win games…So with that said, today I am siding with the Trojans of Troy as they possess a potent scoring/shooting offense along with a big rebounding edge…2 important keys to winning on a consistent basis.
EDGE #1:…..Troy has a potent balance offensive attack.
The Trojans currently have the 2nd ranked scoring offense in the conference averaging 81.2 ppg….Texas St meanwhile, ranks last in the conference in points scored averaging just 68.4 ppg…Troy is also ranked 2nd in the conference in FT% shooting averaging 70.2% from the line…Texas St struggles from the line averaging just 64.4% shooting…In addition, Troy is ranked 4th in the conference in FG% shooting averaging 46.1% from the field…while Texas St average just 44.3%….Lastly, Troy is ranked 2nd in the conference in 3pt FG% shooting, averaging 37.0% shooting from long range….Texas St again is ranked near the bottom at 11th, and average just 31.4% shooting from long range.
Side Note: Texas St in road games is averaging a poor 58.7% from the FT line, and average just 17 attempts.
Ok…now that we established that Texas St is not a good offensive team this season, compared to the potency and accuracy that the Trojans posses…It is only fair to acknowledge that defense, not offense, is what the Bobcats hangs their hat on…Currently the Bobcats are ranked 1st in the conference and 21st in the nation in scoring defense and FG% defense, allowing opponents to score just 62.9 ppg and shoot just 39.5% against them…In addition, the Bobcats also rank 5th in the conference in 3 pt FG% defense, allowing just 31.8% shooting from downtown…Those defensive numbers are solid…I will give them that…But, in this game, I don’t believe that their defense will be enough to keep the Trojan’s offense to those low % or to just score 62.9 points either.
One of the reasons why I feel the Bobcats will struggle to do that, is because the Trojans are not a one player team or a team that is reliant on just one or two players to carry the majority of the scoring load…No, that is what this Bobcat team relies on, because they lack consistent and accurate scorers…In fact, the Bobcats only have 2 players that are averaging double-digit scoring, with Gilder (16 ppg) and Pearson (12.8 ppg)…This lack of consistent scoring options is why the Bobcats have no choice but to focus on playing stout on defense, with the hopes that it will keep them competitive enough to pull out a win.
Still, if you look at their points average in true road games, you will see that the Bobcats, even with a top ranked scoring defense, are averaging a negative scoring margin of -7.0…Overall, the Bobcats have a +5.6 scoring margin….But in true road games like this one, they have a negative scoring margin which will lead to another loss.
As for the Trojans, they have 5 players that are averaging double-digit scoring with another averaging just under 10 points pg…In all games overall, the Trojans have an average scoring margin of +9.1…However, in their games played at home, the Bobcats average an even higher 93.9 ppg, while allowing just 67.1 points against them…Thus bringing their scoring margin in home games, to a whooping +26.8 points.
Side Note: In Troy’s big win over Texas Arlington, their offense showed their balance and potency…as they scored 93 points on 58.9% shooting…They also went 17-of-31 from behind the arc…And their ball movement and control was solid as they had 22 assists on 33 FG makes and a 38-33 rebounding advantage…All of that balance helped them overcome 17 total turnovers compared to the Mavericks’ 7.
EDGE #2:…..Troy is the superior board bangers.
Troy has been solid on the boards this season, where they are averaging 40.1 rebounds per game, which is ranked 24th in the nation…while their opponents average just 34.9 rebs against them….Currently, they are also ranked 49th in the nation in rebounding margin with a +5.6 advantage….And in games played at home, Troy is averaging 47 rebounds, while they allow opponents to grab just 32.6…Troy’s rebounding margin in home games is now +15.0.
Texas St, on the other hand, is poor in rebounding as they ranked 250th in the nation, averaging 34.4 rebounds per game….And, they also rank a low 210th in the nation in rebounding margin, with a .1 edge.
The big edge however, is in offensive rebounding where the Trojans are averaging 12 offensive rebs pg, while only allowing opponents to grab 8 against them.
EDGE #3:…..Troy is at home where they play solid on both ends.
The Trojans have been a solid home team so far, while the Bobcats have not played or fared so well on the road…Overall the Trojans are putting up some solid points and shooting at a good percentage…And in their games played at home, their offensive averages and percentages are even better…In fact, at home the Trojans are averaging 93.9 ppg, 50.8% shooting from the field and a solid 43.2% shooting from long range…In addition, they are also averaging 4 more three-pointers made, which brings their average to 12 three-point bombs in home games.
Side Note: Troy’s offense at home is averaging a solid 20 assist to just 15 turnovers.
On the defensive end, the Trojans are also playing well, as they hold opponents to an average of 67.1 ppg, 36.0% shooting from the field and just 31.4% from long range…And in their last game vs conference favorite Texas Arlington, they held the Mavericks offense to 71 points on just 36.1% shooting from the field and just 16% shooting from long range (4-of-25)….while they scored 93 points, shot 58.9% from the field and 54.8% from long range, dropping a total of 17 three-point bombs on 31 attempts.
One thing to note, is the win, and the Trojans performance over a talented Texas Arlington team, is not something to just overlook…That was an impressive win as the Mavericks are one of the few Mid-Major teams to have an RPI in the top 50…Texas Arlington already beat Texas by 11 at Texas and also then 12th ranked St Mary’s team on the road by 15 points…This is why many are considering them a Cinderella team in March.
Texas St may have the conferences best scoring and 3pt FG% defense, but they are only ranked 5th in 3pt FG% defense…Texas St will have trouble shutting down the Trojans long range game, and that is what I see the Trojans using to take control, forcing the Bobcats out of their game plan…Texas Arlington came into the game vs Troy with the 30th ranked 3pt FG% defense, allowing just 30.7%…but they got lit up by the Trojans, who again, dropped 17 three-point bombs on them.
Side Note: Troy is ranked 1st in the conference in 3 pointers made per game, averaging 9.4…Texas St ranks last in the conference only averaging 5.9 three’s made per game.
Nothing tells me the Bobcats defense can do any better…and especially when S Alabama, who ranks last in the conference in 3pt FG% shooting, averaging just 30% from long range, was able to shoot 10-for-24 for 41.7% on them.
This road game (see Side Notes) doesn’t work or help the Bobcats out in any way…But, it does provide the home team several advantages and is why I jumped on board.
Side Note: Since joining the Sun Belt Conference, Texas State’s record in road games is just 6-25.
Side Note: The Home team is 4-1-1 ATS the last 6 games in this series.
Bottom line is Troy has the more potent and balanced offensive attack, which the Bobcats simply do not have the personal to keep up with…In addition, besides the big edge in offensive scoring, the Trojans will also have a bigger advantage in rebounding as they are average a +5.6 rebounding margin overall…but a +!5 rebounding margin in home games..
The Trojans +9.1 scoring margin along with their overall +5.6 rebounding margin is to huge of an obstacle for the Bobcats to cover, as they are one of only two teams in the conference who average scoring under 70 points per game.
Still, even if the Bobcats were able to somehow successfully stop or match the Trojans scoring and rebounding margins…How can anyone expect the Bobcats to stop them, from dropping their average of 12 three-pointers at home, when they couldn’t even stop the worst 3 pt FG% shooting team in S Alabama from dropping 10 threes on them…And also especially after the best overall team in the conference, Texas Arlington, was unsuccessful as well in their attempts to prevent the Trojans long range game from going off.
The Bobcats may play solid on the defensive end…but their lack of a decent scoring offense and poor rebounding, not to mention their struggles on the road, is simply to much of a disadvantage for them to be successful against the Trojans in this game….Because of that, I see only one way to go here…and that is with the home team………GO TROJANS!
Side Note: Texas St is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games played on Monday.
Side Note: Texas St is the dog…and the dog is 0-4-1 ATS the last 5 game in this series.
Side Note: Troy is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs teams with a winning record.
Side Note: Troy is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win.
Side Note: Troy is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games overall.