Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. East Carolina Pirates Betting Preview
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeremiah Davenport.
- The Cincinnati Bearcats take on the East Carolina Pirates in Sunday college basketball action.
- First-year Cincinnati head coach never beat the Pirates at his previous stops, but can he get the job done in this meeting?
- Keg thinks so and he explains why in his betting preview below.
Cincinnati vs. East Carolina Odds
-110o / -110u
|East Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
Cincinnati will hit the road to East Carolina looking to bounce back after one of its more embarrassing losses of the season against Temple.
The Bearcats held a 37-25 lead heading into halftime, but they could not find the bottom of the basket in the second half. Cincinnati went 1-for-14 from 3-point range and 4-for-15 inside the arc, eventually losing the game, 61-58.
The Owls are the lowest-ranked team, per KenPom, the Bearcats have lost to this season. It was also the sixth time Cincinnati has held a team to under 35% shooting and the second in ACC play.
The Bearcats have now had a lead with less than two minutes to play in their past two losses, which is the difference between second and fifth place in the AAC right now.
Meanwhile, East Carolina looks to end a three-game losing streak, returning home after two embarrassing road losses in which it lost by a combined 60 points.
These teams met previously on Jan. 12 in a game similar to Cincinnati’s most recent. The Bearcats went to the half with a 20-point lead, but against ECU, they held off a second-half comeback to win, 79-71.
However, they did not cover the 11-point spread, one of Cincinnati’s three ATS losses as a favorite this season.
The Bearcats lead the all-time series, 16-2 and are 7-2 on the road against the Pirates. However, during his tenure at UNCG, Wes Miller was 0-4 against ECU.
Can the first-year Bearcats head coach secure his first career win over the Pirates?
The Bearcats offense hasn’t been great, but it doesn’t have to be, as they boast the 30th-ranked defense in adjusted efficiency.
On offense, the Bearcats are averaging 71.4 points per game. They’re the third-best team in the AAC when it comes to rebounds, averaging 38.6 per contest.
While they don’t post impressive shooting percentages anywhere on the floor, Cincinnati doesn’t get discouraged. The Bearcats rank 30th nationally in field goal attempts and 68th in 3-point attempts.
David DeJulius leads Cincy and is one of just two players on the team averaging double-digit scoring performances with 13.4 points per game. Jeremiah Davenport isn’t far behind with 13.3 per contest and leads the team with 5.1 rebounds per game.
Defensively, Cincinnati is one of the best teams in the country, ranking 29th in scoring defense. It’s limiting opposing teams to just 62.9 points per contest.
It leads Division I in opponent effective field goal percentage, holding the opposition to 42%. The Bearcats are also top-10 in opponent 2- and 3-point percentages.
Cincinnati is winning games on defense, and it’ll need an impressive performance on the road to beat the Pirates. The Bearcats are 1-3 in their last three games away from Fifth Third Arena.
The East Carolina offense hasn’t been the worst, but it’s likely to struggle against one of the best defenses in the country. The Pirates average 71.2 points per game and 35.8 rebounds per contest, which isn’t far from the Bearcats.
But it’s a much different story on defense.
The Pirates have been one of the worst teams in AAC play when it comes to turnovers and blocks, and both are areas in which Cincinnati can take advantage.
East Carolina has three players scoring in double digits, led by Tristen Newton at 17.7 points per game. Vance Jackson comes in at second with 11.6, followed by Brandon Suggs at 10.1 per contest.
On defense, the Pirates are struggling, allowing opposing teams to rack up 72.2 points per contest. As opposed to Cincinnati, the NCAA leader in effective field goal percentage on this end of the floor, ECU ranks 210th.
However, its most significant mismatch against the Bearcats will be because of its style of play.
The Pirates play at the second-fastest pace among AAC teams, which is a big reason why they rank 243rd in opponent field goal attempts and 280th in opponent 3-point attempts.
Cincinnati doesn’t play at a lightning-fast pace, but giving it even more opportunities to shoot won’t bode well for ECU.
Cincinnati vs. East Carolina Betting Pick
The Pirates hold a significant advantage in free-throw shooting, hitting at 74.5% to rank 74th. In contrast, Cincinnati has been the third-worst in the conference at 67%.
Cincinnati gives up many fouls, and the Pirates force a lot as well. But I don’t think the ECU defense will keep it close enough for that to matter.
I’m taking Cincinnati at -4.5 and would bet it as high as -6.