Middle Tennessee State (8-3) vs Miami FL (10-1)
When: Monday, December 25th 2017
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPNU
Opening Odds: Miami -7
Two teams that were so close to playing in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic will have to settle for third place, when the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders battle the Miami Hurricanes on Christmas Night in Honolulu. Miami shot an ice-cold 34% in Saturday’s 63-54 loss to New Mexico State, while Middle Tennessee State’s defense fell apart late in an 89-84 setback to Southern California. After opening the tournament with an easy 75-57 victory over host Hawaii, the Hurricanes trailed at the half for the first time this season against New Mexico State and were only 2-for-18 from 3-point range. Guards Dejan Vasiljevic and Bruce Brown Jr. combined for 28 points for a Miami team that entered the game as one of four remaining unbeaten teams in the country. Center Dewan Huell contributed 10 points and nine rebounds, but the Hurricanes committed 14 turnovers and were outrebounded 43-38. The Blue Raiders led USC by as many as nine points in the second half but saw its bid for an upset win fall short in the final minutes. The loss dropped Middle Tennessee State to 12-10 against Power 5 teams since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Huell leads the Hurricanes in points (13.3) and rebounds (6.5) as Miami was off to their best start since 2007-08 before Saturday’s loss to the Aggies, who recorded their first win over a ranked team in 10 seasons. Guards Lonnie Walker IV (9.3 points) and Chris Lykes (6.2) played key roles in the team’s 10-0 start but missed all 10 of their field-goal attempts and were held to a combined three points against New Mexico State. The Hurricanes are second in the nation in scoring defense at 57 points per game but scored 20 point less than there 74.7 average on Saturday.
Forward Nick King had 28 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to USC, which shot 57.8% from the field, including a blistering 68.2% in the second half. The Blue Raiders sent the Trojans to the foul line 33 times and struggled to contain big man Chimezie Metu, who scored 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting. King averages team highs of 22.9 points and 6.9 rebounds to lead the Blue Raiders, whose resume includes wins over SEC foes Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. Middle Tennessee State will begin C-USA play with three-straight on the road beginning Saturday.
I really like this Middle Tennessee State team. They play well against the Power 5 teams and should be able to hang with Miami, who will be disappointed that they’re not playing for the Diamond Head Classic Championship.
Pick: Middle Tennessee State +7
- Blue Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Monday games.
- Blue Raiders are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Blue Raiders are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Blue Raiders are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a straight up loss.
- Blue Raiders are 26-12 ATS in their last 38 games overall.
- Blue Raiders are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
- Hurricanes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Hurricanes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
- Hurricanes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.
- Hurricanes are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
- Hurricanes are 7-19-1 ATS in their last 27 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 6-1 in Blue Raiders last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 10-2 in Blue Raiders last 12 Monday games.
- Under is 4-1 in Blue Raiders last 5 overall.
- Under is 16-5 in Blue Raiders last 21 non-conference games.
- Under is 6-2 in Blue Raiders last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 20-8-1 in Blue Raiders last 29 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 4-0 in Hurricanes last 4 overall.
- Under is 4-0 in Hurricanes last 4 non-conference games.
- Under is 4-0 in Hurricanes last 4 Monday games.
- Under is 8-1-1 in Hurricanes last 10 neutral site games.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Hurricanes last 6 vs. Conference USA.
- Under is 20-7 in Hurricanes last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.