Long Beach St 49ers and Kansas St Wildcats Clash for Diamond Head Classic Championship

Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic – Championship Game
Stan Sheriff Center – Honolulu, Hawaii
Long Beach St 49ers vs Kansas St Wildcats
Sunday, December 25, 2011, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: pick
Current Line: Long Beach St -1 1/2
Opening Total: 141 1/2
Current Total: 143
Opening Money Line: LBSU -110 / K-State -110
Current Money Line: LBSU -125 / K-State +105

Frank Martin and the Kansas St Wildcats take on a dangerous Long Beach St team in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu Christmas night.

Long Beach St, coached by Dan Monson, are 7-5 this season. The 49ers take on the 9-1 Kansas St Wildcats, coached by Frank Martin, in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic Sunday night.  The 49ers beat #15 Xavier 68-58 in the quarterfinals of this tournament Thursday. However, Xavier is decimated by suspensions due to a brawl a couple of weeks ago, and the Musketeers have since dropped 3 games in a row. LBSU beat Auburn 64-43 in the semifinals here Friday. The 49ers have road losses to San Diego St, Montana, Louisville, Kansas, and North Carolina. The latter 3 are all ranked in the top 15 in the polls. Long Beach has wins over Idaho, Pittsburgh, and Boise St.

Kansas St beat Southern Illinois 83-58 in the quarterfinals in Honolulu and beat UTEP 78-70 in the semifinals. The only loss for the Wildcats this season came at home to West Virginia in double overtime. Kansas St has wins over George Washington, Virginia Tech, and Alabama. Kansas St leads the series 3-2 against Long Beach St but the teams haven’t played since 2000.

Long Beach averages 74 points a game and is giving up 67 points a game. The 49ers are shooting 47% from the field including 35.2% from three point range. The 49ers make 70.3% of their free throws. Long Beach St averages 34.6 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +3. The 49ers average 14.2 assists, 14.6 turnovers, 7.9 steals and 2.8 blocks a game. LBSU opponents are shooting 43.5% from the field, including 34% from 3 point range. The 49ers force 16 turnovers a game.

Long Beach guard Casper Ware is the leading scorer for Long Beach averaging 16.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5  steals a game. He leads the team in assists. Larry Anderson averages 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals a game. He makes 44.2% of his three point attempts. T.J. Robinson averages 12.3 points, 10 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.1 steals a game. Guard/Forward James Ennis averages 9.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks a game. He leads the team in blocks and steals. Eugene Phelps averages 9.3 points, and 6 rebounds a game.

Kansas St is outscoring opponents 77-63 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 44.5% from the field including 32.3% on 3 point shots. KSU makes 66% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 41.9 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +6.7. Kansas St is #7 in rebounding in the country.  K-State averages 15.2 assists and 15.2 turnovers, 6.3 steals and 5.8 blocks a game. Kansas St opponents are shooting 37.3% from the field, including 27.3% on three pointers. The Wildcats force 16.7 turnovers a game.

KSU forward Jamar Samuels averages 12.1 points, and 7 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. He also averages 1.1 assists and 1 steal a game. Will Spradling averages 11.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists a game to lead the team along with 1.1 steals a game. He makes 42.5% of his three pointers. Thomas Gipson averages 11.2 points, 7.1 rebounds a game to lead the team, and 1 assist a game. Rodney McGruder averages 10.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game. Jordan Henriquez averages 8.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks a game to lead the team. Martavious Irving average 1.3 steals a game to lead the team. Forward James Watson is out indefinitely due to being ineligible.

Kansas St is 4-3 against the spread and the total is 5-2 this year. Long Beach is 6-4 ATS and the total is 5-5 this season. The 49ers are 4-0 ATS overall, against teams with winning records, and in non-conference games, 10-1 in Sunday games, 8-1 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 6-2 in neutral site games, and 2-6 after a cover. The Wildcats are 3-7 ATS in neutral site games.

Long Beach will not be intimidated against Kansas St  as they have close hard fought losses to likely tournament teams San Diego St, Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina, all decided by 13 points or less. The 49ers don’t have a lot of size but they are very quick and can disrupt the flow of larger teams. The college basketball handicappers respect Long Beach as the line moved from a pick to the 49ers -1 1/2. I think Kansas St wins late to escape with the tournament title, but Long Beach is very dangerous.

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