North Texas FIU NCAA hoops free pick
This has not been a good time for the North Texas Mean Green, as what looked like it might be a great season has turned into a near-disaster. Now they have an opportunity to make up for it, as they do battle with the FIU Panthers in the first round of the Conference USA tournament, scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, TX.
It will be televised on ESPN Plus, and BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice before the game for better odds, and then the chance to place wagers after the game has started through the facilities of Live Betting Ultra.
North Texas started out a little like its football team did, like a house on fire. They won 16 of their first 17 games, losing only to Oklahoma. But things have gone south since then, and some of it had to do with injuries that they suffered. But even after getting a lot healthier, they were not able to stop their skid. It has now reached seven - both straight-up and against the spread - after last Saturday's 73-58 defeat at the hands of the same FIU team they'll be facing on Wednesday night.
FIU is a team that has conditioned itself to turning up the volume on everyone. Jeremy Ballard, a former assistant to Shaka Smart, known for his "havoc" defense at VCU, pledged to make all opponents play FIU's game, and to keep the pressure on for all 40 minutes. The Panthers have led the nation in steals this season, and any team that has difficulties handling the ball are going to risk folding under such pressure.
North Texas did just that in this last game, turning the ball over 21 times. FIU, which has the fastest Adjusted Tempo in the nation, will not dial down the pressure by any means.
In the college basketball betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Mean Green, playing not far from home, is the favorite:
North Texas Mean Green -2.5
FIU Panthers +2.5
Over 146.5 points -110
Under 146.5 points -110
The first time FIU and North Texas hooked up, Grant McCasland's team had only six available players, and without depth they were not in any shape to handle the tempo the Panthers sought to establish, even though they did their best to slow the pace to a crawl. But what has to be somewhat disconcerting is that UNT failed even when they had closer to a full contingent of players. The final was 73-58, and that was based on North Texas' inability to get back into the game after falling well behind.
Ryan Woolridge was only able to play nine minutes in that game, and was ineffective (two points), which indicates he is still being affected by a leg injury he suffered that kept him out of a couple of games. This is an incredibly important contributor, who is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, may be the team's best defender, and had been a true iron man to this point. If he isn't 100%, that might leave more responsibility in the hands of Roosevelt Smart, who was the MVP of last year's College Basketball Invitational (CBI), which North Texas won.
Well, the Mean Green has now lost to FIU under two distinct sets of conditions. And we would concede that FIU is not a great shooting teams, particularly fro long range, and they are not likely to get a whole lot of second-chance opportunities. However, when you consider that North Texas is 257th in the category of offensive turnover rate, we know that the Panthers can be successful in forcing their style of game. And we're not interested in guessing when UNT is going to break out of its funk. So we will grab the points with the go-go guys from Florida International.
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