Grand Canyon Antelopes (21-10) at Utah Valley Wolverines (21-9)
College Basketball: Friday, March 9, 2018 at 9:00 pm (Orleans Arena)
The Line: Utah Valley Wolverines -2 -- Over/Under: 140 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Grand Canyon Antelopes and Utah Valley Wolverines will square off at Orleans Arena this Friday night in the semifinals of the WAC Men’s Tournament.
The 3-seed Grand Canyon Antelopes improved to 21-10 (9-5 WAC) on the season after defeating the UMKC Kangaroos, 77-74, last night in the quarterfinals of the WAC Men’s Tournament. In a tight back and forth game in the 2nd half, Grand Canyon took the lead for good after a 6-0 Antelopes run gave Grand Canyon a 75-72 lead with 1:05 left in regulation. Grand Canyon shot 40.0% from the floor and 74.3% (26-35) from the FT-line in the victory. Leading the way for the Antelopes was Alessandro Lever who had 29 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal. On the season, Grand Canyon is averaging 74.3 ppg on 43.0% shooting from the field. The Antelopes are averaging 7.7 three-pointers per game on 32.9% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Grand Canyon has been led by Joshua Braun (12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.5 apg), Alessandro Lever (11.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.3 apg), Oscar Frayer (9.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 spg), and Casey Benson (9.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.6 apg). Defensively, Grand Canyon is holding their opponents to an average of 64.3 ppg on 39.9% shooting from the field. The Antelopes have a rebound margin of 2.2 and a turnover margin of 2.0.
The 2-seed Utah Valley Wolverines improved to 22-9 (10-4 WAC) on the season after defeating the 7-seed CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners, 81-74, last night in the quarterfinals of the WAC Men’s Tournament. Utah Valley held a 43-31 lead at halftime and pulled away after taking a 72-60 lead with just 2:09 left in regulation. Utah Valley shot 47.2% from the field, 45.5% (10-22) from beyond the arc, and 84.0% (21-25) from the FT-line in the victory. Leading the way for the Wolverines was Jake Toolson who had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. On the season, Utah Valley is averaging 78.5 ppg on 48.6% shooting from the field. The Wolverines are averaging 8.0 three-pointers per game on 38.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Utah Valley has been led by Kenneth Ogbe (13.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.5 apg), Akolda Manyang (12.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg), Conner Toolson (12.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.5 spg), and Brandon Randolph (11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.1 spg). Defensively, Utah Valley is holding their opponents to average of 67.3 ppg on 41.2% shooting from the field. The Wolverines have a rebound margin of 6.7 and a turnover margin of -1.3.
The Antelopes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Wolverines are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
Grand Canyon and Utah Valley split their regular season series as the Antelopes won by a 60-59 margin at home in late February while the Wolverines won by a 68-56 margin on the road in late January.
Grand Canyon has won three straight games and has been led by their defense this season which comes into this matchup ranked 14th in scoring defense and 11th in defensive FG%. Utah Valley has won 5 of their last 6 games and has been solid on both ends of the court this season as they come into this game ranked 63rd in scoring offense and 51st in scoring defense. Both of these teams have solid defenses, however, the difference in this one will be the Utah Valley offense which is far better than what Grand Canyon brings to the table. I’m taking Utah Valley as I think they’ll pull away late in this one to cover this small spread.