CBI Championship Odds, Pick & Prediction for Pepperdine vs. Coastal Carolina: Back the Chanticleers (March 24)
John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Essam Mostafa
- No, it's not Saturday's Sweet 16, or Thursday's NIT quarterfinals, but there's a championship on the line tonight in college basketball.
- Pepperdine takes on Coastal Carolina in Daytona Beach in tonight's CBI final.
- The teams are playing their third game in four days, so Stuckey explains why fatigue may factor into the game.
Pepperdine vs. Coastal Carolina Odds
You may be going through some college basketball withdrawal after this past weekend, especially after having NCAA tournament games on a Monday for the first time. Well, don’t worry…we do have some weekday action to bridge the gap until we get to the Sweet 16 on Saturday.
Before we get to the NIT quarterfinals Thursday night, we have the CBI final tonight between Pepperdine and Coastal Carolina.
So, will the Chants or Waves become the 13th champion of the CBI? Let’s take a closer look.
Ride the Waves
Pepperdine decided to partake in this tournament on the other side of the country in Daytona Beach, Fla. — so you had to think it obviously had some desire to be here. The Waves then won each of their first games by double digits (against Longwood and Bellarmine) despite trailing at the half in both contests.
Pepperdine is led by the dynamic duo of Colbey Ross and Kessler Edwards, who each average right around 17.5 points per game. Ross runs the show as the point guard. He’s not only capable of putting up up 30 points on any given night, but he also finished third in the country in assists per game in the regular season. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-8 Edwards leads the team in rebounds but is also a dead-eye shooter from beyond the arc.
The Waves prefer to play at a quick pace (46th Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom) but try to keep their opponents out of transition by not crashing the offensive glass. They are a much better perimeter defense than they are at the rim. While Pepperdine held opponents to only 28.6% shooting from beyond the arc (7th), it allowed them to shoot 54.6% from two (315th) and 62.1% at the rim (285th).
After a comprehensive victory over Bryant, the Chants defeated Stetson in overtime to secure a spot in the CBI final. The latter came despite an uncharacteristic poor day at the charity stripe where they went 15-32.
Coastal Carolina also plays at a top-50 Adjusted Pace nationally and thrives when it can get out in transition, which it does at a top-20 rate in the country. Junior shooting guard Devante’ Jones is the go-to scorer, averaging just under 20 ppg, but the team has decent balance with four players averaging double digits. Jones is also a workhorse on the glass (7.2 rpg) — trailing only freshman big Essam Mostafa (9.0 rpg) in that category. While Coastal does have major turnover issues (304th), it excels on the offensive glass (14th).
Defensively, head coach Cliff Ellis will use a myriad of zone looks and throw in a press at times as well. As a result, the Chants do allow a high frequency of three-point attempts (341st) but do a decent job of forcing and contesting tough looks (46th in 3P%).
Betting Analysis & Pick
Neither team has a ton of depth, so playing a third game in four nights could be an issue, although I think Coastal is a bit better off in that department as Pepperdine is not currently at full strength playing without third-leading scorer Jan Zidek. And while Coastal did go to overtime last night, it did play the earlier game, which might help a bit.
Also, from a preparation standpoint, I give the edge to head coach Cliff Ellis, who I trust more in a quick turnaround than Lorenzo Romar. Coastal also is a more difficult team to prepare for with all of its different looks on defense, especially since Pepperdine didn’t really see much zone this season.
In regards to the on-court matchup, Pepperdine won’t really expose Coastal’s turnover issues and the Chants should get enough offensive rebounds if their shots aren’t falling for any extended period. Coastal also does a much better job of protecting and getting to the rim, which could be critical in a game where fatigue may become an issue.
And while Pepperdine does do a decent job of preventing opponents from getting out and running, their transition defense (24th percentile, per Synergy) is very poor. That could spell trouble against a Coastal offense that ranks in the 91st percentile in that same category. The advanced metrics also suggest the Chants should enjoy some success on offensive putbacks and when they play through the post.
Talent-wise, Pepperdine is the superior team with Edwards and Ross. However, I think Coastal will stay close throughout and have a shot to win late. After all, the Chants only lost two games by more than six points all season.
This one might simply come down to shooting variance and which team has less fatigue, but I do think there is some value in the underdog here. I also don’t hate a first half play, as I wouldn’t be shocked if Coastal’s defense stumps Pepperdine early and the Waves go into the half trailing for a third straight game in this tournament.
Jones vs. Ross should be a fun way to end this tournament. I think we get a close one.
Pick: Coastal Carolina +5 | Play up/down to +4.5