Tonight’s 76-game college basketball slate features a heavy dose of Sun Belt Conference play, and one of those games features the App State Mountaineers taking on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’m targeting the point total for my best bet.
Coastal Carolina will come into tonight with a 2-4 conference record and fresh off a loss to Georgia State in which they lost 100-66. Unsurprisingly, since they just allowed 100 points to be scored, the defense has been a real issue for the Chanticleers all season. Coastal currently has a defensive efficiency rating of 108.9, which is 288th in the country, according to KenPom.
A real problem for them defensively has been limiting opponents from three-point range, as teams are averaging 10.1 made three-pointers per game and shooting 35.8% from behind the arc. In their most recent loss, Georgia State knocked down 16 of their 28 three-point attempts in the game for a 57% shooting percentage, and while that is an outlier game, it amplifies the struggles they’ve had with running shooters off the line.
Offensively the Chanticleers have not been much better, as their 102.1 offensive efficiency rating on KenPom is ranked 209th in the country. Coastal has not scored more than 67 points since December 29th, and they’ll be challenged on that end of the floor again tonight as App State has held opponents to an average shooting percentage of 41.2%.
The Mountaineers are coming off their third conference win of the season in a game in which they held Troy to just 45 points. High-level defensive play is essential for them since their offense is ranked 308th in points per game this season.
KenPom currently has the Mountaineers' offensive efficiency rating listed at 98.3, which is ranked 289th in the country. Donavan Gregory leads the team in assists per game and is second on the team in scoring, but he will need to become more consistent shooting-wise if the Mountaineers want to rise in the conference standings.
The point total for this game is currently set at 138, and I’ll be taking the under as my play in this one. The under is 6-2 in the Mountaineers' last eight games, and with the defensive-minded style of basketball they have been playing, I think that trend continues.
These two teams played each other on January 5th, and the game ended with 125 total points being scored, with the point total closing at 136. Aside from the outlier game by the Chanticleers in their last outing, I don’t see any reason why tonight’s total is set two points higher than the first time around.
Both teams will likely be without key scoring contributors as App State's leading scorer Tyree Boykin is questionable with a foot injury after missing the last game. Coastal may be without Jomaru Brown, who led the Chanticleers in scoring the last time these two teams met. For teams already struggling with offense, these losses will continue to be detrimental to both sides on that end of the floor.