Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Denver Pioneers
The Denver Pioneers and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers battle it out on Monday in Sun Belt Conference Tournament semi-final game in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Pioneers are -9 point favorites over the Hilltoppers.
The Denver Pioneers took care of the South Alabama Jaguars in their Sun Belt quarterfinal game as Joe Scott’s team won by 11 but now they set their sites on the conference championship game. Denver has gone 11-5 in the Sun Belt this season, they are 1-0 in neutral site games, and they finished in third place in the conference standings. Chris Udofia is averaging 14.5 points and 5.2 rebounds, Brian Stafford is averaging 14.3 points, and Royce O’Neale is averaging 9.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. As a team the Pioneers are averaging 68.3 points and they are shooting 48.9 percent while defensively they are allowing 60.3 points and their opponents are shooting 43.4 percent. With an 84 RPI and a 194 strength of schedule Denver has one hope of going to the NCAA Tournament, winning this game.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers didn’t finish the season with a winning record overall or a winning record in the conference but Kevin McDonald’s team is playing their best basketball of the season. WKU knocked off FIU and Arkansas Little Rock in their first two Sun Belt Tournament games after closing out their season by beating first place Middle Tennessee State. The Hilltoppers are 7-9 in Sun Belt play, 2-3 in neutral site games, and they finished tied for seventh place in the conference standings. Derrick Gordon is averaging 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds, George Fant is averaging 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds, and Kahlil McDonald is averaging 8.1 points. As a team Western Kentucky is averaging 64.7 points and they are shooting 39.2 percent while defensively they are allowing 68.1 points and their opponents are shooting 43 percent. WKU lost to Denver by 13 in their last meeting but they hit this one on a four game winning streak.
Denver is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games overall, 4-1 against the spread following a win, and 1-4 against the spread in their last five neutral site games. Western Kentucky is 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall, 4-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 8-2 against the spread following a game which they covered. The underdog is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings of these two.
I like the Hilltoppers in this game plus the nine points. I feel they will keep this game tight throughout.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers +9 Denver Pioneers