Houston vs. Cleveland State Odds For NCAA Tournament First Round

Houston vs. Cleveland State Odds For NCAA Tournament First Round article feature image

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#2 Houston vs. #15 Cleveland St. Odds

Cleveland St Odds+19.5
Houston Odds-19.5
Moneyline+1900 / -10000
TimeFriday, 7:15 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via BetMGM

Houston vs. Cleveland St. Instant Analysis

This is going to be a very slow-paced game. The Cougars plays to the 327th-fastest tempo in the country, while Cleveland State ranks 282nd. You can also expect the Vikings to have a lot of trouble scoring because their offense ranks 199th nationally in offensive efficiency per KenPom and Houston is top-20 in defensive efficiency, giving up only 0.86 points per possession.

The Vikings don’t take a lot of 3-pointers (26.8% of their field goal attempts) and they probably won’t be able to make very many because Houston has one of the best 3-point defenses in the country allowing only 28.6% from beyond the arc.

The Cougars also are the fifth-best defense inside the perimeter, allowing only 43.0% from 2-point range, so I have a hard seeing how Cleveland State is going to even come close to scoring 60 points.

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Houston will be able to play its game offensively, but the strength of this Cleveland State team is on the defensive side of the ball, as the Vikes allowed 1.00 points per possession in the Horizon League. They turn opponents over at a high level and defend the 3-point shot well, so the stand a fighting chance of keeping the Cougars eighth-ranked offense in check. The Vikings did hold Ohio State to 67 points at the beginning of the season, so they have at least seen an elite offense this season.

I only have 127.67 points projected for this game, so I think there is a lot of value on this under if you can get it at 133 or better. — BJ Cunningham

How Houston & Cleveland St. Match Up

Cleveland St.
All stats via KenPom.

What To Know About Houston

There isn’t much that Kelvin Sampson’s Houston Cougars don’t do well. They rank ninth in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom and are sixth overall. There's really no weaknesses on a defense that has so much versatility and takes away everything in the paint. Houston is one of the country’s elite teams while playing at the 320th-ranked adjusted Ttmpo. Quentin Grimes is the leading scorer at 17.9 points for a team that is full of players between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-8, including do-everything senior wing DeJon Jarreau, who recently recorded the first Cougar triple-double since Bo Outlaw in 1993.

They are also extremely well-schooled under Kelvin Sampson. And like most Sampson, they are absolutely fantastic on the offensive glass — despite lacking elite size. The Cougars’ size and athleticism will be a problem for any team, and they’re definitely going to be a contender for a Final Four run. Houston, we have a problem and it's Houston for the rest of this field. — Matt Trebby

What To Know About Cleveland St.

Dennis Gates is one of the more underrated coaches in the country, so the Vikings have that going for them. I’m sure he will throw the kitchen sink at their first round opponent, especially with ample time to work on things after the Horizon title game on Tuesday night. After all, this is a CSU defense that will throw in zone and press at a decent clip. That said, this team just screams average in everything they do. CSU sags on the perimeter, so it gives up a ton of 3s. The Vikings just got fortunate most of the season when it came to opponents missing. They also just take so many bad shots. They pulled out so many close victories they had no business winning, including a triple overtime win over Fort Wayne in their first game of the conference tournament. They even banked in a three in double overtime to force that third extra frame.

The Vikings rank No. 1 in KenPom’s Luck metric and eighth-luckiest from a Shot Quality perspective. CSU is experienced and well-coached, but unless it can pull another rabbit out of its hat, I don’t envision them pulling off an upset as a 15 (maybe 14) seed. As I’ve mentioned before, I highly doubt we will see any 1 or 2 seeds go down in the first round this season. — Stuckey

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