South Alabama at Middle Tennessee State -10.5 O/U 142.5
Middle Tennessee State has always been a defense-first, slow paced team under long time head coach Kermit Davis. And they've struggled offensively this season (0.99 ppp) because they're without their best point guard, Jacob Ivory, who has been sidelined with a concussion. South Alabama likes to get up and down the floor but its numbers are certainly skewed having played two power conference teams (NC State and LSU) and Belmont -- all three have the ability to score big points, especially against an average mid-major team like USA. And that's exactly what they did as the trio averaged 88 ppg. But I put more stock in USA's game at Denver which had only 65 possessions and 125 points. MTSU isn't as deliberate as the Pioneers, but there's a similar amount of defensive acumen. Also note that South Alabama kicked gunner Taishaun Johnson off the team recently. Johnson was a double-digit scorer and the team's top player in terms of possessions used. Last season, Johnson attempted the most free throws on the team and hit 78%. MTSU was able to control the pace in last year's meeting with only 135 points in overtime as they beat the Jaguars 68-67 in Mobile. Expect a game below 70 possessions as we come in with a play on the under.