You know, a lot of the attention right now is focused on the Final Four and the NCAA Tournament. But there are other tournaments going on right now that bring some fascinating matchups. One such event is the College Insider Tournament (CIT), which holds its semi-finals on Tuesday, and in one of those games the Marshall Thundering Herd will play host to the Hampton Pirates, beginning at 7 PM ET at the Henderson Center in Huntington, WV.
The winner will move to the finals, where they will take on the winner between Texas Southern and Green Bay. The CIT is designed for schools who are not among the so-called “major” conferences, so in effect, the “little guys” get a chance.
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2019 CIT Tournament Betting – Odds for Hampton vs Marshall:
In the college basketball betting odds on this CIT semi-final, as they are posted at VietBet, the home team is favored:
Marshall Thundering Herd -5
Hampton Pirates +5
Over 174 points -110
Under 174 points -110
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2019 CIT Tournament Betting – CJ’s take on Hampton Pirates vs. Marshall Thundering Herd:
Hampton has won eight of its last nine games, but they actually came into this tournament with a losing record (15-16), dropping their second-round game in the Big South Conference tourney. But they have been successful and decisive in three rounds of the CIT, beating St. Francis (NY), Charleston Southern and NJIT to get to this point.
Marshall is not necessarily a “little guy.” In fact, they were last year’s Conference USA champions and beat Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before running into the buzzsaw that was West Virginia. They went into this season looked upon by many as a favorite to win C-USA, but got derailed by a mid-season slump in which they lost seven of eight games. But they came on strong, winning eight of their last nine games. In the CIT they have beaten IUPUI (78-73) and Presbyterian (83-66), but critics might suggest that they haven’t faced a real test in the last month and a half, other than their C-USA tournament loss to Southern Miss. Will Hampton provide such a test?
Marshall senior guard Jon Elmore is winding down a great career at the school, and he’s doing it in style, as he’s had 38 points, 17 rebounds, ten assists and ten steals in the two tournament games. His backcourt mate CJ Burks, who was also named all-conference, has been hot, shooting 19 of 37 in these last two, which makes up for the 12-of-31 he was in the previous three contests.
The one thing that characterizes Marshall’s play is their intention to go fast. That’s at both ends of the floor; on defense they have forced a turnover on 21.4% of their opponents’ possessions, and offensively they get the ball up in an average of 14.4 seconds per possession – only three teams in the country take less time off the clock than that. It’s all part of the philosophy of Dan D’Antoni, brother of Mike D’Antoni, who has championed this style for years, lately with the Houston Rockets.
It would appear as if Hampton can beat the pressure; at least when you look at the fact that they are 14th best in the nation in offensive turnover percentage. But Presbyterian was tenth best in that category, and they were forced into 15 turnovers by Marshall in the quarterfinals. Hampton, one of the more experienced teams in the nation, does some other fundamental things well, like shoot free throws (79.5% – third best in nation), but since they are not great shooters from the field, they have to exploit the fact that Marshall is a very poor rebounding team, and we’re not sure they hit the boards well enough.
What we sense here, in a game between teams that are fifth (Marshall) and 31st (Hampton) in Adjusted Tempo, is that the oddsmaker may have placed this total a little high. Both can score, and both have their problems on the defensive end. But they seem to have been playing more deliberately in this CIT. So maybe an “under” could be in order.
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