Southern Utah Thunderbirds (10-13) at North Dakota Fighting Hawks (8-17)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 15, 2018, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: North Dakota Fighting Hawks -4 -- Over/Under: 164.5
The Southern Utah Thunderbirds will travel to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center to take on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks this Thursday night in College Basketball action.
The Southern Utah Thunderbirds won their 2nd consecutive game and improved to 10-13 (4-8 Big Sky) on the season after defeating the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, 63-54, this past Saturday. Southern Utah was outstanding defensively against Northern Arizona and pulled away in the 2nd half after a 7-1 Thunderbirds run gave Southern Utah a 60-50 lead with just 1:20 left in regulation. Southern Utah held Northern Arizona to just 28.6% shooting from the field and 7.1% (1-14) shooting from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Thunderbirds was Jamal Aytes who had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. On the season, Southern Utah is averaging 75.9 ppg on 42.8% shooting from the field. The Thunderbirds are averaging 8.1 three-pointers per game on 35.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Southern Utah has been led by Jadon Cohee (12.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.4 apg), Dwayne Morgan (12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.4 apg), Jamal Aytes (12.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg), and Brandon Better (12.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 spg). Defensively, Southern Utah is allowing their opponents to average 81.5 ppg on 48.0% shooting from the field. The Thunderbirds have a rebound margin of -3.0 and a turnover margin of 0.8.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks lost their 3rd straight game and dropped to 8-17 (3-10 Big Sky) on the season after being defeated by the Idaho State Bengals, 82-67, this past Saturday. North Dakota struggled defensively against Idaho State and allowed the Bengals to pull away in the 2nd have after taking a 66-52 lead with 8:44 left in regulation. North Dakota allowed Idaho State to shoot 53.3% from the field and 47.8% (11-23) from beyond the arc in the loss. Leading the way for the Fighting Hawks was Geno Crandall who had 28 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. On the season, North Dakota is averaging 75.3 ppg on 45.5% shooting from the field. The Fighting Hawks are averaging 6.9 three-pointers per game on 31.9% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensviely, North Dakota has been led by Geno Crandall (16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.9 spg), Marlon Stewart (11.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.3 spg), Dale Jones (11.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.2 apg), and Conner Avants (10.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.0 apg). Defensively, North Dakota is allowing their opponents to average 82.7 ppg on 49.6% shooting from the field. The Fighting Hawks have a rebound margin of -7.5 and a turnover margin of 1.8.
The Thunderbirds are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record however, are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Fighting Hawks are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 home games however, are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
Southern Utah has played better as of late, however, the Thunderbirds haven’t had a great season overall as they’ve struggled slowing down opposing offenses and come into this matchup ranked just 334th in scoring defense and 331st in defensive FG%. North Dakota has lost 6 of their last 7 games and although they can put up some points at times as they rank a respectable 136th in scoring offense, the Fighting Hawks have really been bad on the defensive end as they rank just 339th in scoring defense and 347th in defensive FG%. Southern Utah is just 2-9 on the road this season and as I think that the Fighting Hawks will be able to have their way on the offensive end against the Thunderbirds, I’m taking North Dakota to cover this small home spread. Take North Dakota to cover.