The Florida International Panthers and the Rice Owls meet Saturday in college basketball action from Tudor Fieldhouse. FIU is fresh off a Thursday game versus Louisiana Tech. In that one the Panthers lost by a single point in overtime. As for Rice, they played Florida Atlantic in their Thursday game. The Owls ended up losing in a blowout there. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
The Panthers’ season hit a .500 record through 22 games as the team went 11-11 overall. FIU went just 2-5 in the next seven games however, losing to UAB, Rice, UTEP, Middle Tennessee and UTSA alongside wins over Charlotte and LA Tech.
In the Louisiana Tech rematch on Thursday, FIU blew a 42-28 halftime lead and had to go to overtime. The Panthers were outscored 10-9 from there and lost a tough one 77-76. Peter Krivokapic was tops on 25 points in 39 minutes during the defeat.
Over on the Rice side, they were 15-7 across their first 22 outings this season. The Owls also hit a 2-5 stretch after that, featuring losses to North Texas, Florida Atlantic, UTSA, UAB and Charlotte with wins otherwise versus FIU and Western Kentucky.
Matched up against Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Rice was dismantled 57-28 in the first half. The Owls kept the pace 46-46 from there in a blowout loss 103-74. Leading team scorer Quincy Olivari posted 16 points in 29 minutes of work.
ANDREW’S FREE PICK
I’m going to stay with FIU. This one’s going to come down to which team bounces back better; both are coming off (very different) tough losses. Florida International has lost five straight games, but they’re staying competitive. The Panthers have fallen by more than seven points in just one of those outings and by five points or fewer in each of the last three. One of those five losses was a February 11 matchup at FIU Arena versus Rice. The Owls ended up taking that one 85-78 thanks mostly to a 44-38 second half. The Panthers will have to play their best basketball in this road rematch but I think they can power out a cover if all goes well.