In a sea of college basketball games on Saturday, you have to try to pick out gems from the rough. It doesn’t always work out how you’d like, but looking deep and searching for value is what makes a good handicapper. Despite several games being cancelled on Saturday, there is still a lot of good basketball available on the hardwood this afternoon and into the evening hours.
We are going deep into the schedule, and heading to Houston for a matchup in the Southland Conference. The Central Arkansas Bears are in Houston at Sam Houston State University for a clash with the Sam Houston State Bearkats.
The Southland is shaping up to be a four-team race between Nicholls State, Stephen A. Austin, Abilene Christian, and Sam Houston State. Nicholls State is at the bottom of that group, with a record of 8-2 in the conference, while the other three are all one-loss teams in the conference going into Saturday.
Abilene Christian and Sam Houston State each sport a record of 9-1, while SFA checks in with a record of 8-1. Somebody from the Southland will be going to the NCAA Tournament, and wouldn’t put it past one of these teams pulling off a first or second-round upset. There is some hidden talent to be had in the conference. A Cinderella run might seem improbable, but an upset or two is plausible.
Sam Houston State goes into Saturday with an overall record of 15-6 and have been in good form as of late. The Bearkats have gone 12-1 since beating Rice, 82-69, way back on December 19. The only loss for Sam Houston State since then has been against SFA on the road, 78-68.
The Bearkats haven’t lost at home since last season. They’re perfect at home this season, with the only thing close to a home loss was a 86-55 defeat against Boise State on a neutral court back on November 29. They opened the season 0-3 in a tough stretch against SMU, Texas Tech, and Boise State. Since that tough run, Sam Houston State has been just about untouchable.
Central Arkansas is playing for pride and attempting to prevent falling to dead last in the Southland. It would be difficult to allow Texas A&M-CC to bypass Central Arkansas. Texas A&M-CC are winless in the conference, while Central Arkansas goes into Saturday at 2-7. Although, overall, Central Arkansas and Texas A&M-CC are both tied with a record of 3-14. Head below for our free Central Arkansas vs. Sam Houston State pick on February 13, 2021.
Central Arkansas Bears vs. Sam Houston State Bearkats NCAA Betting Odds:
Central Arkansas vs. Sam Houston State Prediction:
Central Arkansas were reasonably better last season, and they were hoping to see improvement from this team. It hasn’t been the case. The Bears finished with a record of 10-21 last season, and are going into Saturday with a mark of 3-14. There are some teams that can use Covid-19 as an excuse for playing poorly, but I don’t think Central Arkansas can go that far. Addressing their woeful defense would be a good start for Central Arkansas.
Far too often teams are exploiting their thin defense and running up the score. The Bears are 334th in the NCAA with 80 points allowed per game. Their problems travel with them on the road, as they’ve conceded 84.1 points per game as a visitor. When the offense is average and can’t make up for the porous effort defensively, you get a record of 3-14 in February. Central Arkansas has netted an average of 70.9 points per game for 199th in the country.
The Bears’ offensive efficiency drops to 66.5 points per game on the road. I see it being incredibly tough for Central Arkansas to keep pace with the Bearkats in this contest. Sam Houston State can pour it on if they’re feeling it from the field. Overall, they’re scoring at a nice clip of 80.4 points per game for 26th in the NCAA. At home they’ve been lighting up the scoreboard for a whopping 92.8 points per game.
Fresh off a 79-61 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, the Bearkats should be able to do something similar on Saturday evening. If Central Arkansas wants to hurry up and push with their offense, then Sam Houston State can likely put up way more than 79 points. However, the Bearkats’ defense has been strong in Houston as well, with just 62.9 points allowed per game. I don’t foresee Central Arkansas being able to set up offensively and find a groove. A 82-65 win for Sam Houston State is where I see this game going.