Appalachian State at Louisiana-Monroe
|Date & Time||Tuesday March 12, 2019, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks -7.5 -- O/U: 159.5
The Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks meet in a Sun Belt tournament first round matchup from the Fant-Ewing Coliseum on Tuesday.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers qualified for the tournament as the last place seed, entering at the #10 spot after finishing the regular season with a 11-20 overall record, including 6-12 in conference play. Appalachian State booked themselves tough in the non-conference portion of their schedule with losses to Alabama, Purdue, Wichita State, East Carolina, Georgetown and USF, but more impressively, all of those losses came by 10 points or less. Conference play started rough for the Mountaineers, opening conference play with 6 straight losses followed by 3 straight wins. The wheels wouldn’t get back on track though as Appalachian State lost 6 of their last 9 games down the stretch, barely qualifying for the conference tournament. Ronshad Shabazz led the Mountaineers in scoring with 18.5 points per game while Justin Forrest was 2nd in scoring and 1st in assists with 15.7 points and 2.5 assists per game. Isaac Johnson was 3rd in scoring as well as Appalachian State’s leading rebounder with 10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Appalachian State is averaging 79.9 points per game on 45.3% shooting from the field, 35.7% from behind the arc and 71.4% from the foul line this season.
The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks come into the conference tournament as the #7 seed, finishing with a 16-14 overall record, including 9-9 in conference play, losing out to Coastal Carolina on a head-to-head tiebreaker for the #6 seed in the conference tournament and a first round bye. ULM had some tough tasks of their own, with losses to Texas, Michigan State, Ole Miss and LSU in the non-conference part of their schedule. ULM was fairly streaky in conference play, alternating back-to-back wins and back-to-back losses through their first 8 games of the season before splitting their last 10 games down the stretch to finish back at square one, at .500 in conference at the end of the regular season. Daishon Smith led the Warhawks in scoring and assists with 22 points and 3.9 assists per game while Michael Ertel was 2nd in scoring with 15.1 points per game and Travis Munnings was 3rd in scoring and 1st in rebounding with 14.3 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game this season. JD Williams was ULM’s 4th double-digit scorer, averaging 12.6 points per game this season. As a team, Louisiana-Monroe is averaging 78.3 points per game on 45.1% shooting from the field, 38.9% from behind the arc and 77.6% from the foul line, the 7th-best free throw percentage in the country this season.
Appalachian State is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a loss while the under is 5-1 in their last 6 games overall. Louisiana-Monroe is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a losing record while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games following a win. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.
Louisiana-Monroe is the better team here in my opinion, so I understand the Warhawks being favored at home in this one. However, Appalachian State has had the better season offensively, and given that the underdog has had a lot of success in this matchup along with the fact that the two meetings in the regular season were decided by a combined 7 points, I think the points are the way to go here.