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Youngstown State vs. Kent State - 11/11/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Kent State Golden Flashes (22-14) at Youngstown State Penguins (13-21)

College Basketball: Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm (James A. Rhodes Arena)

The Line: Youngstown State Penguins +4.5 -- Over/Under: 155 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 3

The Youngstown State Penguins will travel to James A. Rhodes Arena to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes this Saturday night in the Coaches vs. Cancer Doubleheader.  

The Youngstown State Penguins didn’t have any answers on the defensive end last season and struggled en-route to an overall record of just 13-21. Youngstown State earned the 9-seed in the Horizon League Tournament after finishing conference play with a 5-13 overall record, however, did make some noise in the conference tournament after upsetting top-seeded, Oakland, in the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Northern Kentucky in the semis. Youngstown State will enter this season with a new head coach in Jerrod Calhoun and although they did lose three starters from last year’s team, the Penguins do return two important pieces in Cameron Morse (22.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.0 spg) and Francisco Santiago (11.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg). Braun Hartfield (8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg) also returns and is expected to crack the starting five this season. Youngstown State and Calhoun brought in a bunch of new players in incoming freshman and JC transfers and will hope that Naz Bohannon and Tyree Robinson can make immediate impacts. Youngstown State finished last season ranked 92nd in scoring offense (76.9 ppg) and 68th in assists per game (15.1) however, will need to improve a defense that ranked 333rd in scoring defense (82.3 ppg) and 290th in defensive FG% (46.2%).

Youngstown State vs. Kent State - 11/11/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Kent State Golden Flashes look to continue to momentum from last year’s team that made the NCAA Tournament and finished the season with an overall record of 22-14. Kent State earned the 6-seed in the MAC Tournament after finishing conference play with a 10-8 record, however, made an impressive run and punched their ticket to the NCAA after upsetting the top-seed Akron Zips in the championship game. Kent State couldn’t continue their success in the NCAA Tournament and was eliminated in the 1st round after falling to the UCLA Bruins. Kent State will have a hard time replacing Jimmy Hall who finished last year averaging a double-double (19.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg), however, has a great player to build around in Jaylin Walker (15.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg) who was named the MAC Tournament MVP. Also returning with Walker are starters Jalen Avery (5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.2 apg) and Mitch Peterson (5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg). The Golden Flashes will home that newcomers Jonathan Nwankwo and Akiean Frederick can help replace the production loss by Jimmy Hall. Kent State was outstanding on the glass last season ranking 24th in rebound margin (5.9) and decent on the offensive end ranking 87th in scoring offense (77.0 ppg) however, will hope to improve on the defensive end after ranking T-199th in scoring defense (73.0 ppg).

The Penguins are 3-5-2 ATS in their last 10 games and just 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Kent State. The Golden Flashes are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games and finished last season 17-13-2 ATS.

Youngstown State has a great backcourt in Cameron Morse and Francisco Santiago, however, the Penguins will need to have some of their supporting cast step up if Youngstown State is going to contend in the Horizon. Kent State has consistently produced solid teams and although they don’t have Jimmy Hall, they have enough talent to once again compete for the MAC Championship. Youngstown State will have trouble again this season on the defensive end as I think that Kent State is the more well-rounded team, I’m taking Kent State to cover in this one. 

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