Ohio vs. Abilene Christian CBI Odds, Picks & Predictions: Matchup Advantages for Bobcats? (Monday, March 21)
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Miles Brown & Jeff Boals (Ohio)
Ohio vs. Abilene Christian Odds
-110o / -110u
|Abilene Christian Odds|
-110o / -110u
Starting on Thursday, we’re on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, the NIT and CBI will continue to roll on to give us some college basketball action early in the week.
Abilene Christian had a rollercoaster season that featured three separate win streaks of five games or more. It also lost five straight in January.
The Wildcats missed out on their chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament after losing to New Mexico State in the WAC Tournament Championship.
Brette Tanner’s group handled Troy’s elite defense in the first round, jumping out to a 20-point lead in the first half.
Ohio went on a run in last year’s March Madness, defeating the defending champions, Virginia. Now, behind their high-powered offense, the Bobcats look to make another postseason run in this year’s CBI.
How the Bobcats handle the Wildcats’ defensive pressure will be pivotal to the outcome of this second-round matchup.
Ohio found a groove in the middle of the season, winning 14 of 15 games. But down the stretch the Bobcats won just one of their final five outings entering the CBI.
Jeff Boals’ group takes care of the basketball, ranking 25th in the country in offensive turnover rate. That will be pivotal in this matchup, as Abilene Christian ranks first in the nation in defensive turnover rate.
The Bobcats will utilize their terrific ball movement to create open looks and get to the charity stripe often.
The offense has a slew of outside shooters, as the team’s top six scorers all have 90 or more attempts from deep. The group connects on 34% from 3, and should get plenty of clean looks in this matchup.
Defensively, Ohio has been sharp limiting opponents from beyond the perimeter, holding teams to 31% from deep. But the Bobcats have struggled to defend 2-point shot attempts, ranking 260th in the country.
Abilene Christian finished the season 24-10 while playing in the WAC. The group had one of the easier schedules in the conference, and really struggled when it stepped up in class.
When matching up against opponents inside KenPom‘s top-100, the Wildcats lost all four of their matchups by an average of 14 points.
The Wildcats play an up-tempo style of basketball that is reliant on forcing turnovers. The defense forces an average of 21 giveaways per game, which is the highest number in the nation. But that aggressive style of defense has caused major holes, as well.
Abilene Christian sends opponents to the free throw line at the highest rate in the country. Opponents get to the charity stripe an average of 24 times per game.
Also, the defense ranks outside the top-225 in 2-point defense (51%) and 3-point defense (34%).
The offense is relentless in attacking the rim and getting itself to the charity stripe. The Wildcats find 23% of their points at the free throw line, which is the sixth-highest in the country.
That may be difficult against an Ohio defense that can defend without fouling.
Ohio vs. Abilene Christian Betting Pick
Abilene Christian had an ideal matchup against Troy in the first round. The Trojans rank outside the top-300 in turnover rate and coughed the ball up 20 times in that matchup.
But now the Wildcats match up against an Ohio offense that turns the ball over just 10 times per game, which ranks among the top-25 in the nation.
Ohio has a high-powered offense that finds its success with 3s and from the free throw line. The Bobcats will be able to break the Abilene Christian press and find plenty of clean looks from outside.
When the Bobcats do take it to the hole, they will likely be heading to the charity stripe, as the Wildcats foul at the highest rate in the country.
Abilene Christian is reliant on turning defense into offense and getting to the free throw line. Ohio won’t beat itself in this matchup, as it takes care of the basketball and defends well without fouling.
That will be enough to take down its WAC opponent, and earn a trip to the CBI Final Four.
Pick: Ohio -1.5 (Play to -3)
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