North Carolina Central Eagles (19-15) at Texas Southern Tigers (15-19)
College Basketball: Sunday, March 14, 2018 at 6:40 pm (University of Dayton Arena)
The Line: Texas Southern Tigers -4.5 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Texas Southern Tigers and North Carolina Central Eagles will square off at University of Dayton Arena this Wednesday night in a First Four matchup of the NCAA Tournament.
The 16-seed Texas Southern Tigers (15-19; 12-6 SWAC) earned a 16-seed and a matchup in the First Four after finishing the season winning the SWAC conference tournament with their 84-69 victory over the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions this past Saturday. Texas Southern was outstanding on the offensive end in their victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and pulled away for the victory after taking a 75-63 lead with 3:37 left in regulation. Texas Southern shot 59.1% from the field and 47.6% (10-21) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Tigers was Trayvon Reed who had a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, and a steal. On the season, Texas Southern is averaging 77.6 ppg on 44.1% shooting from the field. The Tigers are averaging 7.8 three-pointers per game on 36.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Texas Southern has been led by Demontrae Jefferson (23.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.2 spg), Donte Clark (18.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.1 spg), Derrick Bruce (13.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg), and Trayvon Reed (9.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.0 bpg). Defensively, Texas Southern is allowing their opponents to average 79.7 ppg on 45.4% shooting from the field. The Tigers have a rebound margin of -1.9 and a turnover margin of -0.9.
The 16-seed North Carolina Central Eagles (19-15; 9-7 MEAC) eared their 2nd straight trip to the NCAA Tournament after upsetting the top-seeded Hampton Pirates, 71-63, in the finals of the MEAC Men’s Tournament this past Saturday. North Carolina Central was outstanding defensively down the stretch and pulled away late after a 7-0 Eagles run gave North Carolina Central a 65-58 lead with just :49 seconds left in regulation. North Carolina Central shot 47.3% from the field while allowing Hampton to shoot 46.3% from the field and 22.2% (4-18) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Eagles was Pablo Rivas who had 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and a steal. On the season, North Carolina Central is averaging 72.8 ppg on 46.6% shooting from the field. The Eagles are averaging 6.2 three-pointers per game on 33.9% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, North Carolina Central has been led by Raasean Davis (15.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg), Pablo Rivas (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.1 bpg), Jordan Perkins (8.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.4 apg), and Larry McKnight Jr. (6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg). Defensively, North Carolina Central is allowing their opponents to average 69.4 ppg on 41.8% shooting from the field. The Eagles have a rebound margin of 4.9 and a turnover margin of -2.1.
Trends will be updated when they are released.
Texas Southern had a brutal non-conference schedule to start the season in which the Tigers started the season with 13 consecutive losses, however, the Tigers once again had success in the SWAC as they come into this matchup with 7 straight wins. The Tigers can give up some points as they rank just 329th in scoring defense, however, they have been solid on the offensive end as they rank t-74th in scoring offense. North Carolina Central who entered the MEAC as the 6-seed was able to punch their ticket to the NCAA’s with a strong run the conference tournament and has been led by their defense that ranks 100th in scoring defense, 57th in defensive FG%, and 44th in rebound margin. North Carolina Central has some great depth, however, the Eagles can have trouble turning over the ball and as Texas Southern has been playing some of their best basketball as of late, along with the fact they’ve faced top-tier competition this season, I think Texas Southern will be able to do enough to cover this spread.