Middle Tennessee vs. UAB Blazers - C-USA Championship - 3/14/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
UAB Blazers (18-15) at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (19-15)
College Basketball: Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm (Legacy Arena)
The Line:UAB Blazers -2.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: Fox Sports 1
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and UAB Blazers will face of in the Conference-USA Championship Finals this Saturday afternoon at Legacy Arena.
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (19-15) used a big second half to upset the UTEP Miners 53-50 to advance to the finals of the C-USA Championship. Middle Tennessee State, who earned the 6-seed with a 9-9 conference record, has been able to defeat the 3-seed Old Dominion Monarchs along with the 2-seed UTEP Miners on way to the Finals. The Raiders shot 35.7% (5-14) from beyond the arc and 73.3% (22-30) from the free-throw line in the victory. Leading the way for Middle Tennessee was Perrin Buford who had 17 points and 5 rebounds. The Raiders are ranked 151st in the RPI Standings and have played the 140th ranked SOS. The Raiders have been led by Reggie Upshaw Jr. (10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 apg) and Perrin Buford (7.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg). Middle Tennessee is averaging 64.1 ppg (ranked 260th) on 41.7% (ranked 266th). The Raiders average 6.6 three-pointers per game (ranked 145th) on 35.5% three-point shooting (ranked 122nd). Middle Tennessee is holding opponents to 62.3 ppg (ranked 70th) on 43.8% shooting (ranked 216th). The Raiders are averaging 6.2 spg (ranked 184th) and have a rebound a margin of 3.3 (ranked 73rd).
USA TODAY Sports
The UAB Blazers (18-15) upset the 1-seed, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 72-62 in OT to play for a chance for an automatic bid in the NCAA Championship. UAB earned the 4-Seed in the conference championship with a 12-6 conference record. UAB held Louisiana Tech to 12.5% (3-24) from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Bulldogs by a 39-26 margin. Leading the way for the Blazers was Tosin Mehinti who had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. UAB is ranked 165th ranked in the RPI Standings and has played the 121st SOS. On the season, the Blazers have been led by Robert Brown (12.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.0 apg) and Chris Cokley (8.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg). UAB is averaging 68.6 ppg (ranked 141st) on 42.7% shooting (ranked 211th). The Blazers shoot 74.7% from the free-throw line (ranked 21st) and average 13.7 turnovers per game (ranked 273rd). Defensively, UAB is allowing opponents to average 68.1 ppg (ranked 227th) on 42.3% shooting (ranked 136th). The Blazers average 5.2 bpg (ranked 18th) and pull down 36.34 total rpg (ranked 74th).
The Blue Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. the Conference USA and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win. The Blazers aver 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a ATS win and 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games overall.
Both Middle Tennessee and UAB pulled off upsets to reach the Conference USA finals and a chance to win an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. UAB was able to defeat Middle Tennessee in both matchups this season (54-49 @ MTSU; 100-95 (3 OT) @ Home). UAB struggled towards the end of the regular season however, has found their rhythm in the conference tournament. Middle Tennessee has been one of the more solid programs in C-USA as of late, and even though they were supposed to take a step back this year after losing their top four scorers from last year, they’ve found a way to make it to the Championship game this year. Similar to their regular season games, I expect this championship game to be a close one and I’m going to back Middle Tennessee as they are the better defensive team. I'm taking Middle Tennessee and the points in this one.