NCAA Tournament First Round: (2) Houston (24-3) vs (15) Cleveland State (19-7) prediction and college basketball game preview.
Houston vs Cleveland State Broadcast
Date: Friday, March 19
Game Time: 7:15 pm ET
Venue: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN
Houston vs Cleveland State Game Preview
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Why Cleveland State Will Win
The Horizon League champs – both regular season and tournament – don’t to anything at a particularly high level, but they’re rock-solid without any massive weaknesses except for one (more on that in a moment).
There’s zero size or bulk, but it’s an aggressive team that attacks the ball, generates steals, and does just enough on the glass to not have a problem. They’re more likely to lock down and make it a half-court, mid-level scoring game, but they’re not bad on the move.
It was a million years ago – mid-December, actually – but the Vikings were able to hang with Ohio State in a 67-61 loss. They got to the rim, held the Buckeyes down from three, and were even on the boards.
Why Houston Will Win
Again, it was a long, long time ago, but they got obliterated 101-46 by Ohio – a 13 seed against Virginia – and lost to Toledo to open up the season, and that Ohio State loss exposed the team’s one glaring flaw.
Cleveland State is occasionally awful on the free throw line.
It lost to the Buckeyes by six helped by six missed free throws – Ohio State made 12 more – and hasn’t hit 80% on the line in the last 15 games. Of course, Cleveland State is hoping just to get this game down to free throws and keep it that close, and that’s going to be an issue.
Houston cranked it all back up after a mid-February loss to Wichita State, rolling through the rest of the AAC schedule and surviving Memphis twice along the way.
Cleveland State doesn’t have the D to clamp down on the Cougars once they get rolling.
What’s Going To Happen
Beyond Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson returning to the site of his old gig in Bloomington, there shouldn’t be anything too interesting about this. Cleveland State doesn’t do enough from three to be a problem, and it can’t hang with the Cougars once this gets into a bit of an up-and-down game.
Houston vs Cleveland State Prediction, Line
Houston 86, Cleveland State 64
Bet on college basketball with BetMGM
Line: Houston -20, o/u: 134.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 2.5
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