An intriguing mid-major matchup between Eastern Kentucky and Kennesaw State will be played tonight in Kennesaw. Both teams have gotten off to solid starts this season, and we’ll be previewing the game before getting into my best bet for the action.
Eastern Kentucky enters tonight on a three-game winning streak, bringing their record to 8-6. The Colonels' fast-tempo offense has warranted an average of 62.5 field goal attempts per game, which is 25th in the country. Despite putting up a large number of shots per game, the Colonels have yet to find a lot of shooting success this season.
In their last game, EKU put up their best offensive performance this season over a D1 team, scoring 88 points and shooting 47% from the field. We’ll see if they can carry that momentum into tonight and start to improve their 45.6% effective shooting percentage.
Junior Devontae Blanton has led the way for the Colonels in scoring, averaging 16.2 ppg and shooting 43.5% from three, but it’s up to the rest of the starters to be more effective shooting the ball.
On the defensive end, the Colonels will need to step it up a bit if they want to limit the strong three-pointing shooting Owls. Kennesaw State only averages 67.4 points per game, but they are 14th in the country in three-point shooting percentage and 57th in three-pointers made per game. The Owls leading scorer, Chris Youngblood, has been able to shoot 44% from three this season while averaging 13.6 points per game.
Defensively the Owls' defensive efficiency rating of 102.4 which is ranked 178th in the country according to KenPom. This team's biggest defensive strength is their rebounding ability, as they enter tonight with a 77.3% defensive rebounding percentage. The interesting matchup tonight will be on the boards, as the Owls rank 11th in the country in offensive rebounds allowed, but the Colonels rank 18th in offensive rebounds per game.
Kennesaw State can currently be found as -5.5 point favorites in this ASUN conference game, and I’ll be backing the Owls as my best bet. The Colonels have struggled to limit their opponent’s three-point shooting this season, which plays perfectly into the Owls' offensive game plan and could make it difficult for EKU to keep pace offensively, especially with their lack of shooting efficiency.
EKU is fifth in the country in luck rating on KenPom, and I don’t think that can continue tonight against a conference opponent that has the ability to limit their primary offensive strength. A few of the Colonels' wins can be attributed to their offensive rebounding ability, as the last time they were outrebounded, the Colonels only managed to score 61 points.
The Owls are 8-3 ATS and have yet to lose a game at home this season, so between their three-point shooting ability and slight rebounding advantage, I think they can remain undefeated at home while also covering.
Kennesaw State (-5.5)