Arkansas State Red Wolves (11-20) at Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (15-14)
College Basketball: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm (Lakefront Arena)
The Line: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks -4 -- Over/Under: 147 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The UL-Monroe Warhawks and Arkansas State Red Wolves will square off at Lakefront Arena this Wednesday night in 1st round of the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Championship.
The UL-Monroe Warhawks finished their regular season with an overall record of 15-14 and will enter the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Championship as the 6-seed after finishing conference play with a 9-9 record. UL-Monroe lost 2 of their last 3 games, however, played well down the stretch as the Warhawks picked over quality wins over both Georgia State and UT-Arlington over the final part of the season. UL-Monroe was led by their defense which currently ranks 83rd in scoring defense and 78th in turnover margin. On the season, UL-Monroe is averaging 70.3 ppg on 43.7% shooting from the field. The Warhawks are averaging 9.1 three-pointers per game on 36.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, UL-Monroe has been led by Travis Munnings (16.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg), Sam McDaniel (15.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg), Michael Ertel (11.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.3 apg), and Marvin Jean-Pierre (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg). Defensively, UL-Monroe is holding their opponents to an average of 68.6 ppg on 43.1% shooting from the field. The Warhawks have a rebound margin of -1.0 and a turnover margin of 1.5.
The Arkansas State Red Wolves finished their year with an overall record of 11-20 and come into the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Championship as the 11-seed after finishing 6-12 in conference play. UL-Monroe won their season finale on the road against UL-Monroe, however, the Red Wolves struggled overall down the stretch as the Arkansas State won just 3 of their last 9 games. Arkansas State really struggled defensively this season as the Red Wolves currently rank just 319th in scoring defense and 343rd in defensive FG%. On the season, Arkansas State is averaging 74.7 ppg on 44.4% shooting from the field. The Red Wolves are averaging 7.5 three-pointers per game on 34.2% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Arkansas State has been led by Deven Simms (17.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.4 spg), Ty Cockfield (14.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.0 apg), Rashad Lindsey (9.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.5 apg), and Tamas Bruce (9.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg). Defensively, Arkansas State is allowing their opponents to average 78.9 ppg on 49.2% shooting from the field. The Red Wolves have a rebound margin of -2.1 and a turnover margin of 0.8.
The Warhawks are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 19-8 ATS in their last 27 games following an ATS loss. The Red Wolves are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
Arkansas State won both matchups against Louisiana Monroe this season as Arkansas State won at home by a 75-64 margin at home in late December and won by a 83-79 margin on the road just last Saturday.
UL-Monroe uncharacteristically struggled defensively against the Red Wolves last week in the 1st half, giving up 50 1st half points to the Red Wolves, and although they didn’t pull out the victory, they did come back from an 18-point deficit to take a lead late in the 2nd half. Arkansas State can really struggle on the defense end and although they’ve won both matchups this season against the Warhawks, I just don’t see UL-Monroe struggling against as much as they did on the defense end in this matchup. I think UL-Monroe comes out strong in this one and does enough to cover this mid-range spread. Take UL-Monroe to cover.