Arkansas Razorbacks vs. IPFW Mastodons - 11/11/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
IPFW Mastodons (24-10) at Arkansas Razorbacks (16-16)
College Basketball: Friday, November 11, 2016 at 8:00 pm (Bud Walton Arena)
The Line: Arkansas Razorbacks -12 -- Over/Under: 153.5 See the Latest Odds
The IPFW Mastodons look to shake up the SEC early with a visit to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks on opening night.
The IPFW finished with their 3rd straight winning season for the 1st time in program history after finishing 24-8, including 12-4 in Summit League conference play, good for the top seed in the Summit League conference tournament. The Mastodons reached the semifinals before dropping a 69-68 heartbreaker to North Dakota State. However because the Mastodons were a regular season champion who were also the #1 seed in the league tournament, they received an automatic bid to the NIT where they lost in the opening round to San Diego State. The big challenge for head coach Jon Coffman will be finding the scoring to replace 3 of IPFW’s double-digit scorers from last year in Michael Calder, leading scorer Max Landis and Joe Reed, all of whom graduated. The trio of seniors combined for just under 40 points per game for the Mastodons last season. Luckily, Coffman has star guard Mo Evans returning and sophomore John Konchar in the backcourt as IPFW’s guard heavy lineup looks to bolster their backcourt depth. Despite the departures, IPFW still remains as the preseason favorite to repeat as Summit League conference champions in the 2016-17 Summit League poll.
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The Arkansas Razorbacks finished with their 6th straight .500 or better season after finishing 16-16 overall, including 9-9 in the conference to finish 9th in the SEC, before falling to the Florida Gators in the 2nd round of the SEC tournament by a final score of 68-61. Razorbacks nation felt a great deal of disappointment as the team failed to deliver on high expectations following a 27-win season in 2014-15. The key for the Razorbacks this season will be finding a third musketeer to join in the scoring as Anthlon Bell graduated following the 2015-16 season. Bell finished 3rd on the team last season with 15.7 points to go along with 2.9 rebounds and 1..2 assists. The Razorbacks will however retain their top duo of scorers in Dusty Hannahs and Moses Kingsley for at least one more season, while pulling in a trio of 4-star recruits according to ESPN’s scouting reports. Arkansas will need to get out to a flying start this year if they want to replicate the success from a couple of years ago, and against the Mastodons it will be no easy task, however I’m sure Arkansas will be out to prove they are worth their top 5 SEC preseason poll ranking and much, much more.
IPFW is 27-9-5 ATS in their last 41 non-conference games and 36-15-2 ATS in their last 53 road games while the over is 23-9 in their last 32 overall. Arkansas is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games while the under is 5-0 in their last 5 overall and 7-2 in their last 9 home games.
At first I was leaning towards IPFW and the points, however after seeing that they’ve lost nearly 40 points per game from the 3 seniors that graduated, I quickly shifted towards Arkansas. IPFW is way too reliant on their guard play and probably won’t be able to hang with Arkansas in terms of size. I wouldn’t be surprised if IPFW hangs around in the first half, but look for Arkansas to pull away late for the cover.
Lay the points with Arkansas.