Cleveland State 1st Round Tournament Preview
Houston is the sixth overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and this is a team that has lost just three games all season. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by nearly 20 points per game, and they will be a popular pick to reach the Final Four this season.
Tip-off is set for 7:15 PM ET, and the game will be played at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. The entire tournament is being held in Indiana, with Indianapolis serving as the host site for a majority of the games.
The Houston Cougars are 20.5-point favorites over the Cleveland State Vikings on Friday.
Cougars Can Defend
A lot of experts have fallen in love with the explosive ability of the Houston offense, but their defense is pretty dominant as well. Houston is holding opponents to just 57 points per game, and they have faced a pretty decent schedule.
On offense, the Cougars are scoring 77 points per game, and they do have the ability to go off when they are making shots. Quentin Grimes leads the team with 18 points per game and is one of the better players in the country.
Vikings Must Make Shots
The Cleveland State Vikings are averaging just 71.5 points per game, but that number won’t be enough to pull off the upset on Friday. Cleveland State won’t be afraid to run with the Cougars, and this has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.
Guard Torrey Patton leads the team with 14.9 points and eight rebounds per game, and he will be a key player if the Vikings want to keep this game close. Tre Gomillion and D’Moi Hodge have combined for more than 20 points per game this season, and they will likely spend the most time guarding the Houston star.
Cleveland State has been winning despite shooting just 32 percent from behind the three-point line. If the Vikings shoot the ball well on Thursday, they can put some pressure on Houston.
Can Cleveland State Keep it Close?
You won’t find many sports bettors picking Cleveland State to pull off this upset, even though a 15-seed has done it before. The Vikings are pretty big underdogs, and it would take a horrible game from the Cougars for that to happen.
The biggest question is if Cleveland State can keep this game close enough to make it interesting at the end. Fans will get behind the Vikings if they continue to challenge Houston, but it will take a great effort for that to happen.
Picking Cleveland State to win on Friday is not a very good play, but the spread could be in play. The Vikings will play hard, and a hot-shooting game could allow them to keep this game within 20 points.
This team has won four straight, and they have what it takes to cover the spread.
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