Montana State Bobcats (13-18) at North Dakota Fighting Hawks (11-19)
College Basketball: Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 3:05 pm (Reno Events Center)
The Line: North Dakota Fighting Hawks -1 -- Over/Under: 154.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Montana State Bobcats and North Dakota Fighting Hawks will face off at the Reno Events Center in the 1st round of the Big Sky Men’s Championship this Tuesday night.
The Montana State Bobcats finished their regular season with an overall record of 13-18 and earned the 9-seed in the Big Sky Men’s Championship after the Bobcats finished conference play with a 6-12 record. Montana State was decent on the offensive end this season, however, the Bobcats really struggled defensively throughout the year which really showed over the past month as Montana State has currently lost 8 of their last 9 games. On the season, Montana State is averaging 76.1 ppg on 42.5% shooting from the field. The Bobcats are averaging 7.9 three-pointers per game on 34.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Montana State has been led by Tyler Hall (17.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.7 apg), Harald Frey (13.3 ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3 apg), Keljin Blevins (9.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.0 apg), and Joe Mvuezolo Jr. (7.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg). Defensively, Montana State is allowing their opponents to average 79.0 ppg on 47.6% shooting from the field. The Bobcats have a rebound margin of -0.2 and a turnover margin of 0.9.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks finished their year with an overall record of 11-19 and come into the Big Sky Men’s Championship as the 8-seed after finishing conference play with a 6-12 record. North Dakota won 3 of their last 5 games to finish the regular season and although the Fighting Hawks did an excellent job this season creating turnovers, the Fighting Hawks struggled keeping opponents off the score board as they were one of the worst teams in the country in terms of scoring defense and defensive FG%. On the season, North Dakota is averaging 75.8 ppg on 45.9% shooting from the field. The Fighting Hawks are averaging 7.1 three-pointers per game on 33.2% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, North Dakota has been led by Geno Crandall (16.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.0 spg), Conner Avants (11.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Dale Jones (11.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.1 apg), and Cortez Seales (10.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg). Defensively, North Dakota is allowing their opponents to average 81.8 ppg on 49.3% shooting from the field. The Fighting Hawks have a rebound margin of -6.4 and a turnover margin of 1.7.
The Bobcats are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall and just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games. The Fighting Hawks are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games and 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games following a ATS win.
Montana State and North Dakota split their regular season series as the Bobcats won by a 79-68 margin at home in early January while the Fighting hawks won by a 75-74 margin in early February.
Montana State’s defense really struggled over the final month of the season as over the Bobcats past six games, which were all losses, Montana State allowed their opponents to average 89.7 ppg. Montana State played better towards the end of the season and has an offense that can put up some points as the Fighting Hawks currently rank 119th in scoring offense and 114th in FG%. North Dakota has won 2 of the last 3 matchups against Montana State and as I just don’t see the Bobcats defense being able to slow down the Fighting Hawks offense in this one, I think North Dakota does enough to cover this small spread. Take North Dakota to cover.