Houston (21-1) at Central Florida (16-4)
When: Thursday, February 7th, 2019
Where: CFE Arena,
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: CBSSN
Opening Odds: Houston -1/128.5
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The Central Florida Knights look to stay in the American Athletic Conference race and extend the nation’s longest home winning streak at the same time when they host the 12th-ranked Houston Cougars on Thursday night. The Knights sit 1.5 games back of first place Houston and Cincinnati in the conference standings and rebounded nicely from an ugly 20-point loss to Memphis on January 27th. UCF, who has the 14th-best field goal percentage defense (39.3 percent) in the country, jumped out to a big lead versus UCONN last Thursday and held on for a 73-67 victory – their 31st straight at home. The Cougars come in with an even better defense, holding opponents to 36.3 percent from the floor and 26.2 percent from 3-point range – both second-best in Division 1. Houston also played last Thursday and avenged their only setback of the season when they knocked off Temple 73-66 at home. The Owls earned a four-point win in Philadelphia against the Cougars back on January 9th. Houston has held each opponent to 70 points or less in their current six-game winning streak. Houston leads the all-time series 14-10 including winning five of the last six and UCF is just 5-44 against ranked teams in their program’s history.
While the Cougars posses one of the toughest defenses in the country, their offense can struggle at times and are ranked 219th in FG% (43.8) and hit just 34.4 percent of their threes. Just two players average double-digit points including junior guard Armoni Brooks (14.8), but he was held to a season-low three points against Temple, but played just 14 minutes because of early foul trouble. Guard Corey Davis Jr. leads the team with 15.0 points a game and had 24 against the Owls. Senior point guard Galen Robinson Jr. averages just 8.1 points a game, but is second in the conference with 5.3 assists per contest.
The Knights are a little better on offense, averaging 73.6 points a game and shoot a conference-best 46.8 percent from the field, but its the defense that carries the team. Senior guard B.J. Taylor leads the team with 16.9 points a game and had his first 20-point game (21) since he totaled 24 in the AAC opener against Temple. Second-leading scorer Aubrey Dawkins (15.1) was held below 10 points for the second straight game after he scored in double digits the first 18 contests. Guard Ceasar DeJesus came off the bench against Temple and scored a season-high 11 points and has connected on all eight of his shot attempts over the last two games.
Houston is the better team, but UCF is no slouch, especially at home. They have just five wins all-time versus ranked teams, but two of them came in the last two seasons and are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 against teams with a high winning percentage (.600). I like the Knights’ efficient offense to find some success here against the Cougars in what should be a terrific game.
Pick: Central Florida +2
- Cougars are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS loss.
- Cougars are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Cougars are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 road games.
- Cougars are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Cougars are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Cougars are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 vs. American Athletic Conference.
- Cougars are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Cougars are 21-8-2 ATS in their last 31 games following a straight up win.
- Cougars are 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall.
- Knights are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Knights are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games.
- Knights are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Knights are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Knights are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Knights are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. American Athletic Conference.
- Knights are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- Knights are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 6-0-1 in Cougars last 7 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 5-1 in Cougars last 6 Thursday games.
- Under is 6-2 in Cougars last 8 road games.
- Under is 6-2 in Cougars last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 6-2 in Cougars last 8 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 5-2 in Cougars last 7 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 5-0 in Knights last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 5-2 in Knights last 7 home games.
- Under is 5-2 in Knights last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 20-9 in Knights last 29 Thursday games.
- Over is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings.
- Cougars are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
- Over is 8-2-1 in the last 11 meetings in Central Florida.