Southern Illinois vs. Air Force - 11/13/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Air Force Falcons (0-0) vs. Southern Illinois Salukis (0-0)
NCAA Basketball: Friday, November 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm (SIU Arena)
The Line: Southern Illinois -5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN 3
The Air Force Falcons will travel to SIU Arena to take on the Southern Illinois Salukis this Friday night in the MW/MVC Challenge.
The Air Force Falcons had a tough start to their conference play last year but finished the year winning 6 of their last 12 MW games and ended their season with a 14-17 (6-12 MW) record. Offensively, Air Force averaged 65.7 ppg (ranked 217th) on 47.4% shooting (ranked 29th). The Falcons shot 37.1% from beyond the arc (ranked 67th) however grabbed just 30.0 rpg (ranked 332nd). Defensively, Air Force allowed their opponents to average 65.1 ppg (ranked 135th) on 44.2% shooting (ranked 235th). Air Force lost their top two players from last year’s team in Max Yon (12.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.2 apg) and Marek Olesinski (9.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.8 apg). The Falcons will have Zach Kocur (8.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.1 apg) and Trevor Lyons (7.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg) returning for this season. Air Force has generally tried to slow down the pace of the game and utilize their talented shooters however, until they find some answers down low and on defense, Air Force will most likely once again struggled this season.
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The Southern Illinois Salukis suffered through a tough 2014-15 season in which they ended the season with a 12-21 (4-14 MVC) record. Offensively, the Salukis had real trouble scoring the basketball as they averaged just 59.6 ppg on 41.9% shooting (ranked 261st). The Salukis had trouble grabbing rebounds last season as they averaged just 31.2 rpg (ranked 315th). Defensively, Southern Illinois allowed their opponents to average 61.9 ppg (ranked 55th) on 44.4% shooting (ranked 252nd). Teams really hurt the Salukis with the three-pointer as teams shot 37.9% (ranked 327th) from beyond the arc. Southern Illinois had a rough offseason as multiple players including Jordan Caroline (9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Deion Lavender (6.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg) decided to leave the program. The one bright spot for the Salukis is that their best player, Anthony Beane (16.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.1 apg) is returning. Head coach will be heavily relying on junior college transfers Mike Rodriguez and Leo Vincent to make immediate impacts for the Salukis. Southern Illinois has a lot of questions marks outside of Anthony Beane and could be in for a long season if they don’t find some offense outside of Beane.
The Falcons are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 Friday games however, are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games. The Salukis are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Friday games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games.
Both of these teams didn’t put up much offense last season and with Air Force most likely going to try and slow down the game, I imagine this this could be a very low scoring game. Air Force lost their two best scorers from last year and although Southern Illinois will be relying heavily on their junior transfers and freshman, they do have the best player on the court in Anthony Beane and I think they’ll be able to hold the Air Force offense in check and cover this small spread at home. Take Southern Illinois to cover.