Western Kentucky vs. North Texas Odds & Pick: How to Bet the Conference USA Tournament Championship (Saturday, March 13)
Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Charles Bassey.
- The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers face the North Texas Mean Green in the Conference USA Tournament Championship on Saturday night.
- The Hilltoppers are led by star Charles Bassey, which could give them an advantage in the second half.
- Stuckey breaks the title game down below and shares how he's betting the game.
Conference USA Championship
Western Kentucky vs. North Texas Odds
|Western Kentucky Odds||+1|
|North Texas Odds||-1|
|Moneyline||+100 / -118|
|Time | TV||Saturday, 9 p.m. ET | CBSSN|
|Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.|
Western Kentucky and North Texas will meet for the first time all season for all of the marbles in the C-USA conference championship game. The winner will be the lone league representative in the dance.
Let’s quickly profile each team and then look at where one might find some betting value.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers | (20-6, 11-3 C-USA)
WKU has loads of experience and the most talented roster in the league — led by 6-foot-11 pro prospect Charles Bassey on the low block and senior wing Taveion Hollingsworth.
The Toppers are capable from 3 (see: Davidson transfer Luke Frampton), but they are far from an elite jump-shooting team nor do they rely on the long ball for offense.
WKU wants to attack in transition, where it is absolutely deadly, or work it in inside to Bassey in the post. Those are their two most efficient means of offense by a country mile.
The defense has been rock solid (without fouling) during league play, but it is a bit vulnerable on the perimeter against teams that can really shoot.
Western Kentucky also thrives on the boards on both ends. The Toppers don’t allow many second-chance opportunities (so that they can get out in transition) and putbacks are crucial for their offense.
WKU has been maddeningly inconsistent at times and turns it over a bit too frequently with a freshman point guard, but it certainly has enough talent to win a game or two in the tournament if they bring their A-game and get a decent matchup.
North Texas Mean Green | (16-9, 9-5 C-USA)
The Mean Green have one of the most experienced rosters in the country and are led by one of the most underrated coaches in Grant McCasland.
North Texas earns its money on the defensive end, where it ranks in the 94th percentile in points per possession allowed in the half-court, per Synergy. In three games in the conference tournament, opponents have scored 56, 55 and 48. It’s relentless on that end of the floor, where it constantly forces bad shots and turns teams over.
And while the offense doesn’t put up extremely gaudy numbers, that’s more of a result of the Mean Green’s snail-like pace (347th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom). Ultimately, it’s a fairly efficient unit (especially in transition when they do actually run), led by the inside-out senior duo of guard Javion Hamlet and big man Zachary Simmons.
That said, they aren’t a great offensive rebounding team (partly by design) and have been plagued by turnover issues throughout the season.
Betting Analysis & Pick
After a mini-slump to end the season, a veteran North Texas group found its game again just in time. However, that late-season slide cost it the double-bye that WKU enjoyed. That means North Texas will be playing its fourth game in four days. That’s not ideal for a team without the luxury of much depth right now.
The Mean Green basically played only six players against Louisiana Tech yesterday, and Hamlet has played all but five minutes in the first three games. Yes, they play at a very slow pace which helps, but fatigue could certainly become a factor in the second half.
If Bassey is fully fit (been dealing with back issues), he should get his inside, and the Toppers should control the glass.
However, North Texas does have some favorable matchup advantages. It can exploit WKU’s turnover issues and has the shooting prowess to take advantage of a vulnerable perimeter defense. It also does a decent job of keeping teams out of transition, which is key against WKU.
In a game I make a true coin flip, my favorite angle here is to look for Western Kentucky 2H (or live late 1H) if trailing at halftime. I really do believe the legs may start to go in the second half for NT.
Pick: WKU 2H.