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Western Kentucky vs. Southern Mississippi - 12/30/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (7-7) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (9-5)

College Basketball: Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm (E.A. Diddle Arena)

The Line: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers -16.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: HSSN; Fox College Sports - Central

The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles will travel to E. A. Diddle Arena to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this Saturday afternoon in College Basketball action.

The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles lost their 3rd straight game and dropped to 7-7 (0-1 C-USA) on the season after being defeated by the Marshall Thundering Herd, 85-66, this past Thursday. Southern Mississippi trailed by a 35-25 margin at halftime and couldn’t fight back after Marshall took a 69-46 lead with 8:17 left in regulation. Southern Mississippi allowed Marshall to shoot 46.3% from the field and was outrebounded by the Thundering Herd by a 47-26 margin in the loss. Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was Tyree Griffin who had 19 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. On the season, Southern Mississippi is averaging 71.1 ppg on 45.0% shooting from the field. The Golden Eagles are averaging 6.7 three-pointers per game on 32.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Southern Mississippi has been led by Cortez Edwards (17.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.2 spg), Tyree Griffin (14.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.9 spg), Dominic Magee (10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg), and Kevin Holland (7.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.2 apg). Defensively, Southern Mississippi is allowing their opponents to average 69.1 ppg on 44.8% shooting from the field. The Golden Eagles have a rebound margin of -3.9 and a turnover margin of 5.6.

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Western Kentucky vs. Southern Mississippi - 12/30/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers won their 2nd straight game and improved to 9-5 on the season after defeating the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 69-69, this past Thursday.  Western Kentucky went into halftime with a 38-29 lead, however need two late FT’s by DaQuan Bracey and a key defensive play by Dwight Coleby in the closing seconds to hold on to the victory. Western Kentucky shot 39.3% from the field and 45.5% (5-11) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Hilltoppers was Dwight Coleby who had a double-double with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, and a steal. On the season, Western Kentucky is averaging 77.1 ppg on 49.2% shooting from the field. The Hilltoppers are averaging 5.6 three-pointers per game on 38.0% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Western Kentucky has been led by Darius Thompson (13.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.8 sg), Taveion Hollingsworth (13.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 spg), Justin Johnson (12.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.2 apg), and Dwight Coleby (11.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg). Defensively, Western Kentucky is allowing their opponents to average 69.1 ppg on 43.2% shooting from the field. The Hilltoppers have a rebound margin of -0.4 and a turnover margin of 3.6.

The Golden Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up loss however, are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Hilltoppers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.

Southern Mississippi has done a nice job creating turnovers on the season as they come into this game with the 9th ranked turnover margin, however the Golden Eagles have struggled overall on the offensive end as they rank just 265th in scoring offense, 180th in FG%, and 277th in 3P-FG%. Western Kentucky has won 3 of their last 4 games and although the Hilltoppers don’t have much depth, Western Kentucky has been solid on both sides of the ball this season as they rank T-130th in scoring offense, 36th in FG%, and 117th in scoring defense. Southern Mississippi is just 2-7 away from home this season and as Western Kentucky does a good job of protecting the basketball, I think the Hilltoppers do enough on their home court to cover this large spread. Take Western Kentucky to cover. 

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