Utah Valley Wolverines (20-11) vs. Abilene Christian Wildcats (20-9)
March 9, 2022 11:30 pm EDT
The Line: Abilene Christian Wildcats -3 / Utah Valley Wolverines +3; Over/Under: 135
(Get latest betting odds)
The Utah Valley Wolverines & Abilene Christian Wildcats will square off at Orleans Arena this Wednesday night in the 2nd round of the WAC Tournament.
The 7-seed Utah Valley Wolverines improved to 20-11 on the season after defeating the 10-seed Chicago State Cougars, 69-47, this past Tuesday. Utah Valley was dominated Chicago State on both ends of the court and easily pulled away in the 2nd half after taking a 55-35 lead with 10:27 left in 2nd half. Utah Valley shot 49.0% from the field & 54.5% from beyond the arc while holding Chicago State to just 28.6% from the field & 25.9% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Wolverines was Fardaws Aimaq who had 20 points, 6 rebounds, & 1 assist.
On the season, Utah Valley is averaging 71.1 ppg on 45.2% shooting from the field. The Wolverines are averaging 6.2 three-pointers per game on 36.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Utah Valley has been led by Fardaws Aimaq (18.9 ppg, 13.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.3 bpg), Justin Harmon (11.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.5 apg), Connor Harding (10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.8 apg), & Blaze Nield (7.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.9 apg).
Defensively, Utah Valley is holding their opponents to an average of 64.6 ppg on 39.0% shooting from the field. The Wolverines have a rebound margin of 8.2 and a turnover margin of -4.1.
The Abilene Christian Wildcats finished their regular season with an overall record of 20-9 and earned the 6-seed in the WAC Tournament after finishing conference play with an 11-7 record. Abilene Christian finished their non-conference portion of their schedule with a 9-2 record with their best wins coming against UT Arlington & Drexel. Abilene Christian Struggled at the beginning of conference play, losing 5 of their first 7 games, however, the Wildcats were solid down the stretch and come into the WAC Tournament winning 9 of their last 11 games.
On the season, Abilene Christian is averaging 76.9 ppg on 43.6% shooting from the field. The Wildcats are averaging 6.7 three-pointers per game on 30.6% from beyond the arc. Offensively, Abilene Christian has been led by Coryon Mason (12.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.7 apg), Airion Simmons (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.8 spg), Mahki Morris (10.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.4 spg), & Cameron Steele (8.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.2 spg).
Defensively, Abilene Christian is holding their opponents to an average of 66.0 ppg on 43.5% shooting from the field. The Wildcats have a rebound margin of -1.6 and a turnover margin of 9.0.
The Wolverines are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Wednesday games & 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game. The Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games as a favorite & 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Abilene Christian defeated Utah Valley in their only matchup of the season as the Wildcats defeated the Wolverines by an 80-76 margin at home in late December.
Abilene Christian has been led by their defense, which has done a great job of forcing turnovers, however, this is a team that struggled against the better teams in the WAC this season as against the top-5 seeds in the WAC Tournament, Abilene Christian went 0-7 against them. Utah Valley has been solid on the defensive end this season as they come into this game ranked 43rd in scoring defense & 17th in defensive FG% and between the fact that Utah Valley is 3-0 on neutral courts this season and that they arguably have the best player on the court in Fardaws Aimaq, I think the play here is to take Utah Valley and the points. Good Luck!