Welcome back to the fifth edition of Mid Major Money. So far this season this series has a 6-4 record and I’ve got two more picks for today’s mid-major action. We’ll dive into those two games and why they have value for today’s smaller college basketball slate.
At 9:00 PM ET, the Toreros of USD will be hosting the Longwood Lancers. The Toreros are favored by -3.5 at home and they’ll be my first play of the night. San Diego under new head coach Steve Lavin is off to a 4-3 start to the season and scoring at a very high level.
Despite dropping their last two games I think tonight is a perfect bounce-back opportunity against the Lancers. According to KenPom, Longwood has a defensive efficiency rating of 102.5 which is ranked 197th in the country, this is good news for San Diego, especially with the way they’ve been shooting the ball.
Eric Williams Jr. is averaging a team-high 17.2 ppg but Jase Townsend and Seikou Sisoho Jawara are also averaging in double figures as well. The Toreros are shooting 37.6% from three this season leading to them averaging 81.1 points per game. This team loves playing at home, picking up all four of their wins on their home court while the Lancers have yet to win a road game this season.
When the Lancers have played competition that is not inferior they have struggled to produce offense. All of Longwoods big offensive games this season have come against below-average competition, when the Lancers are challenged they struggle to produce the same scoring output.
San Diego has been a really good second-half team this season, averaging 42.8 second-half points so if that trend can continue tonight I think the Toreros can pull away and cover.
Two of the best mid-major teams early this season will face off tonight with the 6-0 Sam Houston State Bearkats heading to Nevada to take on the 6-1 Wolfpack. I’m expecting a close game and for the Bearkats' stellar defense to keep them in the game the entire time.
Sam Houston State is 30th in the country in defensive efficiency rating according to KenPom so they match up well with this Wolfpack team averaging 71.5 ppg and has scored 62 or less in points in a game three times this season. The Bearkats are allowing an average of only 48.3 points to be scored a game.
Offensively Qua Grant has been leading this highly efficient Bearkats team in scoring with 12.8 ppg. Sam Houston State has a 48.5% field goal percentage so far this season and has taken highly efficient shots to lead them to this 6-0 start. Look for Donte Powers to keep the Bearkats in this game with shooting as well as he enters tonight of a 4 for 5 night from three in their last game. The Bearkats are a nice underdog play to round out the night.