Idaho State vs. Utah
Tip off: 9 PM EST
Spread: IDST -2.5
M/L: IDST -145, UTA +125
Odds taken from Bookmaker
Last season wasn’t so great for the Bengals, who finished with a 9-20 record, and were 4-12 in Big Sky play. They didn’t qualify for the Big Sky tournament, nor any other post season tournaments, and they probably won’t this year either…
That’s because they are off to a 2-7 start, and the only teams they have beat have been Colorado Christian and North Dakota. Then again, we are talking about Idaho State, a team whose toughest opponent is in-conference, which isn’t saying much. They were faced with the unpleasant prospect of facing a major conference opponent when they challenged Oklahoma on opening night, as they lost by four, pretty predictably.
They are led by Melvin Morgan and Chase Grabau, who average a collective 23.5 points per game, roughly 35% of the Bengals offense. The 5’11” Morgan has put up 20+ points three times already, but his scoring average is off-set by a 1 point game against Boise State and a scoreless game in which he only played 11 minutes against North Dakota. If he and Grabau can get some help from their teammates, the Bengals may be able to win some games, but still will probably fail to qualify for tournament play this season, as well.
Since Utah has made the move into the Pac-12, things have gotten a lot worse, but the change in conference really has nothing to do with it since conference play doesn’t begin for another few weeks, anyway. They have basically lost all of their games, as I don’t think you can count a 3 point victory over San Diego Christian as a true win.
The Utes are near the bottom of every major statistical category and have lost most of their games very badly with only one being by less than 10 points (Montana State on Nov 19th). They were just thoroughly dominated by BYU and were blown out by now-ranked Harvard on November 24th.
Josh Watkins is about the only Utes’ player worth taking notice of. Watkins puts up 17.3 points per game and has scored over 20 points three times this season, not coincidentally the two closest Utes games have been Watkins’ better games, as well. While putting up 20+ points per game may look good, it will likely take bigger contributions from Jason Washburn (10.2 ppg) and Chris Hines (8.8 ppg). The Utes have only 3 players averaging more than 5 per game, and they employ an ineffective 9 man rotation, due not to depth, but lack of talent.
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