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Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech - 12/28/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-4) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (8-5)

College Basketball: Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm (E.A. Diddle Arena)

The Line: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers -7 -- Over/Under: 148.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: beIN Sports

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will travel to E. A. Diddle Arena to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this Thursday night in College Basketball action.

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs won their 2nd straight game and improved to 9-4 on the season after defeating the Fort Wayne Mastodons, 85-76, this past Friday in the championship game of the New Orleans Shootout. Louisiana Tech led by a 38-30 margin at halftime and held off a late Mastodons run which saw Fort Wayne get within two points of the lead, to secure the victory. Louisiana Tech shot 52.5% from the field and 50.0% (10-20) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Jacobi Boykins who had 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. On the season, Louisiana Tech is averaging 81.8 ppg on 47.7% shooting from the field. The Bulldogs are averaging 8.6 three-pointers per game on 39.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Louisiana Tech has been led by DaQuan Bracey (16.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.2 spg), Jalen Harris (15.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg), Jacobi Boykins (14.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.1 spg), and Derric Jean (9.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.6 apg). Defensively, Louisiana Tech is allowing their opponents to average 70.5 ppg on 43.0% shooting from the field. The Bulldogs have a rebound margin of 1.6 and a turnover margin of 1.7.

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Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech - 12/28/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers improved to 8-5 on the season after defeating the Austin Peay Governors, 72-55, this past Friday. Western Kentucky trailed by a 32-30 margin at halftime however, was outstanding defensively in the 2nd half and pulled away after a 17-4 run gave the Hilltoppers a 66-52 lead with 4:04 left in regulation. Western Kentucky shot 58.8% from the field and forced the Governors into committing 17 turnovers in the victory. Leading the way for the Hilltoppers was Darius Thompson who had 21 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 steals. On the season, Western Kentucky is averaging 77.8 ppg on 49.9% shooting from the field. The Hilltoppers are averaging 5.7 three-pointers per game on 37.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Western Kentucky has been led by Darius Thompson (14.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.8 spg), Taveion Hollingsworth (13.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 spg), Lamonte Bearden (12.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.0 spg), and Justin Johnson (12.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.3 apg). Defensively, Western Kentucky is allowing their opponents to an average of 69.2 ppg on 43.6% shooting from the field. The Hilltoppers have a rebound margin of -0.2 and a turnover margin of 3.8.

The Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. C-USA opponents however, just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games. The Hilltoppers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.

Louisiana Tech has had a decent start to their season and has been strong on the offensive side of the ball as the Bulldogs rank 53rd in scoring offense and 72nd in FG%. Western Kentucky has won just 2 of their last 5 games however, the Hilltoppers have been impressive so far this season and are a well-balanced team that ranks T-111th in scoring offense, T-120th in scoring defense, and 37th in turnover margin. Louisiana Tech has some solid offensive players, led by DaQuan Bracey, however, Western Kentucky has picked up some key wins against Purdue and SMU this season and as I think their defense will give Louisiana Tech some problems, I’m taking Western Kentucky to cover this spread at home. 

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