Horizon League Championship Odds, Picks, Predictions: Wright State vs. Northern Kentucky Betting Preview (March 8)

Horizon League Championship Odds, Picks, Predictions: Wright State vs. Northern Kentucky Betting Preview (March 8) article feature image

James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Robinson.

  • Wright State and Northern Kentucky go to battle Tuesday with the Horizon League Tournament title on the line.
  • The Norse enter as short favorites, but is that where the value lies?
  • Jim Root of Three Man Weave breaks it all down from a betting perspective below.

Updated Wright State vs. Northern Kentucky Odds

Tuesday, March 8
7 p.m. ET
Wright State Odds
-110o / -110u
Northern Kentucky Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It may not be the matchup everyone expected, but there is zero debate that both of these squads earned their way to the Horizon League Championship game.

Wright State, the 4-seed in the bracket, rolled over the 1-seed, Cleveland State. The Raiders never led by less than nine for the entirety of the second half. It was a mega-impressive effort from a team that had some defensive foibles early in the season

Northern Kentucky, meanwhile, suffocated Purdue Fort Wayne into one of its worst offensive performances this century. The Norse have mastered Darrin Horn’s matchup zone, and they have now won 14 of their last 16 contests.

Both teams grade out extremely similarly as potential NCAA Tournament teams. Barring a smattering of upsets in other league tournaments, they are likely destined for 16-seeds. However, climbing to a 15 is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Wright State Raiders

Scott Nagy’s squad goes as its offense goes. The Raiders have the best attack in the conference, thanks in large part to its deadly big three.

Grant Basile and Tanner Holden are fantastic weapons at this level. Basile is unstoppable on the block with his arsenal of drop steps and half-hooks, and he has great touch for a big man, too. Holden is a versatile southpaw who is equally comfortable knocking down triples or slashing to the rim.

Both players spend plenty of time at the charity stripe. They rank No. 1 and No. 4 in the Horizon League in both free throws made and attempted.

The third member of that trio, Trey Calvin, is the maestro of it all. He controls the game and feeds Basile and Holden, but he also excels at creating for himself when the opportunity presents itself.

The bench is not deep. Wright State ranks 355th nationally in bench minutes. Keaton Norris plays big minutes, per KenPom, but Andrew Welage and CJ Wilbourn are bit players who will not look to score.

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Northern Kentucky Norse

Quite the opposite of the Raiders, NKU is here because of its defense. The Norse zone is a riddle that most foes have yet to solve. It morphs and moves with the offense’s alignment, and it removes any hope of scoring via dribble penetration.

Offensively, NKU has multiple guards capable of creating for themselves and others off the bounce.

Marques Warrick is the headliner thanks to his three-level scoring ability. Trevon Faulkner (physical strength) and Bryson Langdon (devastating quickness) are matchup problems in their own rights, and Horizon Freshman of the Year Sam Vinson has emerged into a jack-of-all-trades.

This is not a great shooting team, but the Norse guards do convert enough to maintain some inside-out balance.

NKU also boasts a center platoon that can wear down opponents inside. Adrian Nelson and Chris Brandon essentially split the minutes 50/50, but they are eerily similar players. Both are high-effort 6-foot-8 bruisers who can finish inside and bother foes at the rim.

Most importantly, though, each center is one-man wrecking crew on the glass. Both players rank inside the top 10 nationally in offensive rebound rate — a wild for two players on the same team.

Wright State vs. Northern Kentucky Betting Pick

Northern Kentucky won both regular-season meetings. Though neither was a runaway, the Norse exhibited some clear advantages that look repeatable on Tuesday night.

NKU crushed the Raiders off the bounce in both games, taking advantage of a season-long issue in the Wright State defense. The Norse combined to shoot 46-of-72 (63.9%) from inside the arc, and that could continue against the soft Wright State interior.

Wright State also did not score above 1.0 points per possession in either matchup — a problem considering this team is based around offense. The Raiders rank in just the 20th percentile in scoring efficiency against zones, per Synergy.

Nagy will need to figure out some quick fixes there for Wright State to have a chance.

The matchup advantages are too clear for me to ignore here. Add in the fact that NKU has been surging for two months, and the Norse are the pick.

Pick: Northern Kentucky +1 (Play to -1)

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Jun 20, 2024 UTC