With three games remaining in Sun Belt Conference play, the Marshall Thundering Herd remains in striking distance of winning the regular season title. We’ll preview their game tonight against Georgia Southern before going over my best play for the action.
After picking up back-to-back wins, Georgia Southern is back to .500 in conference play and 14-13 overall. Prior to their small win streak, the Eagles had lost four straight games, but thanks to leading scorer Andrei Savrasov’s recent scoring outburst, the Eagles' offense is back on track.
Savrasov has shot above 61.5% from the field over the last two games and has put up a double-double in three straight games, so it’s safe to say he is putting the team on his back to carry them through the tail end of the year. The Eagles' offense has been inconsistent for most of the season, leading to them being ranked 255th in the country in offensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
Arguably their biggest strength this season has been their defensive ability, as over their last four games, they have allowed 64 or fewer points in three of them. For the season, Georgia Southern is holding opponents to an average of 68.2 points per game and has a defensive efficiency rating that ranks 165th, according to KenPom.
Even with these numbers, the last time these two teams met, it was a high-scoring game that saw the Eagles walk away with an 81-76 win. Outscoring the Thundering Herd may be one of the Eagles' best offensive accomplishments this season since Marshall is averaging 81.5 points per game, which is the 9th highest average in the country.
The second-place team in the Sun Belt has won four of their last five games, which has led to them being ranked 61st in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. A big reason for the high offensive output is tempo, as the Thundering Herd run at the 22nd highest tempo in the country and have attempted the most field goal attempts per game.
The point total for this game is currently set at 146.5 points, and I’ll be taking the over as my play in this one. The over is 8-4 when Georgia Southern is coming off a win, and in the last meeting between these teams, the Eagles showed that they are comfortable running at a high tempo.
The most impressive part of the Eagles' win over Marshall earlier in the season is that they could score 81 points in the game while only going 3-8 from three. Managing to score 81 points, with only nine of them coming from beyond the arc, shows that the Eagles dominated with paint scoring and were able to make high-quality looks all game, which is a good indicator they can find success again in a fast-paced game.
On the offensive end for Marshall, they are second in the country in field goals made per game, and they are fresh off shooting 50% from the field in 62 shot attempts. Taevion Kinsley and Andrew Taylor have both been scoring at a high level as of late, and in the previous matchup, the Eagles struggled to contain the two of them, so it's likely the two of them carry the Herd to another solid offensive performance.