Saint Louis Billikens (7-2) at Houston Cougars (9-0)
|Date & Time||Sunday December 16, 2018, 3:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Houston Cougars -8 -- Over/Under: 127
The Saint Louis Billikens will travel to the Fertitta Center to take on the 24th ranked Houston Cougars this Sunday afternoon in College Basketball action.
The Saint Louis Billikens improved to 7-2 on the season after defeating the Oregon State Beavers, 65-61, this past Sunday. Saint Louis allowed Oregon State to fight back from a 49-37 deficit to take the lead late in the 2nd half, however, the Billikens defense was solid down the stretch and pulled away after taking a 62-56 lead with 1:40 left in regulation. Saint Louis shot 42.0% from the field and 66.7% (8-12) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Billikens was Javon Bess who had 24 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists, and a block.
On the season, Saint Louis is averaging 67.0 ppg on 42.6% shooting from the field. The Billikens are averaging 5.8 three-pointers per game on 32.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Saint Louis has been led by Javon Bess (14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.9 spg), Tramaine Isabell Jr. (12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 spg), Jordan Goodwin (10.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.9 spg), and Carte’Are Gordon (8.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.9 bpg).
Defensively, Saint Louis is holding their opponents to an average of 61.7 ppg on 37.9% shooting from the field. The Billikens have a rebound margin of 6.1 and a turnover margin of -1.6.
The 24th ranked Houston Cougars stayed perfect on the season, improving to 9-0 on the season, after defeating the LSU Tigers, 82-76, this past Wednesday. Houston trailed by a 50-37 margin early in the 2nd half, however, was outstanding offensively the rest of the way and pulled away after back to back buckets gave Houston a 77-72 lead with 1:29 left in regulation. Houston held LSU to just 19.2% shooting from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Tigers by a 48-35 margin in the victory. Leading the way for the Cougars was Galen Robinson Jr. who had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals.
On the season, Houston is averaging 76.1 ppg on 44.9% shooting from the field. The Cougars are averaging 9.6 three-pointers per game on 34.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Houston has been led by Armoni Brooks (16.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.0 spg), Corey Davis Jr. (15.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg), Galen Robinson Jr. (9.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.1 spg), and Nate Hinton (8.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 spg).
Defensively, Houston is holding their opponents to an average of 59.8 ppg on 37.7% shooting from the field. The Cougars have a rebound margin of 7.7 and a turnover margin of 1.6.
The Billikens are 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 Sunday games however, just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 games overall.
Houston has a tremendous start to their season led by their defense that ranks 15th in scoring defense and 19th in defensive FG%, however, it will be important for the Cougars not to overlook the Billikens who also have one of the better defenses in the country as they rank 24th in scoring defense and 21st in defensive FG%. Although I’m bit concerned about the St. Louis offense finding much success in a tough road environment, St. Louis has been able to keep games competitive all season and as I’m banking on the Houston offense to struggle a bit in this one, I’m taking the Billikens and the points.