Norfolk State vs Morgan State: College Basketball Prediction (2/21/22)
The Norfolk State Spartans will travel to Hill Field House in Baltimore, Maryland for a matchup against the Morgan State Bears. These teams have been opposites throughout the season. Norfolk State boasts an 18-5 record, while Morgan State owns an 8-13 record thus far. They’ve had varying amounts of success in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) as well. The Spartans boast a 9-1 conference record, leading the way. The Bears have only posted a 3-6 conference record through 9 games. According to KenPom, Norfolk State is projected to win the MEAC, while Morgan State is expected to finish sixth. In this article, I’ll break down my favorite bet for Norfolk State vs Morgan State.
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These teams have found different amounts of success against the spread (ATS) this season. Norfolk State boasts a 13-6-1 record, covering in 68.4% of their games. This is one of the highest cover percentages in the NCAA, and they’re covering by an average of 3.2 points per game. The Spartans haven’t been as good on the road, although they boast a 7-5 ATS record in those contests.
Morgan State hasn’t been nearly as successful, recording a 5-12 ATS record. They’ve covered in only 29.4% of their games. They’re failing to cover by an average of 5.7 points per game as well. The Bears have struggled with a 1-4 home ATS record this season, failing to cover by an average of 2.4 points per game.
Norfolk State’s been the best team in the MEAC by a wide margin. They rank first or second in the conference in more categories than not. Meanwhile, Morgan State ranks last in several categories.
The Spartans quietly feature a versatile offense. They lead the MEAC in two-point percentage while ranking second in three-point percentage. A big part of this game is that the Bears allow significantly more points inside the arc rather than outside of it. Morgan State also features the worst FTA/FGA percentage in the MEAC and one of the worst in the entire country.
Norfolk State boasts the ability to get to the line. One major issue si that they have several players that have struggled from the line throughout the season. With that being said, Joe Bryant ranks in the top-200 of the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. He also ranks third in the nation with a ridiculous 94.3% free throw percentage. Essentially, when he gets to the line, it’s automatic points per the Spartans.
While I expect Norfolk State to find offensive success at every level on the floor, I don’t expect the same for Morgan State. They’ve seen mixed results with their shot throughout the season. The Bears should be able to get to the line as well, and they’ve been shooting better since the start of conference play. With that being said, the Spartans force teams to shoot threes against their defense. Morgan State’s struggled from beyond the arc throughout the season, and I don’t expect that to change against a defense that is allowing opponents to shoot only 29.3% from deep this season.
When looking at Norfolk State’s bad losses, they’ve struggled to defend from beyond the arc. Morgan State isn’t a team that features the shooters to consistently threaten from deep in this game.
There is one more key that could potentially offset the clear offensive/defensive advantages for the Spartans. They’ve struggled with turnovers throughout the season, while the Bears have forced turnovers throughout the season. With that being said, Norfolk State leads the MEAC in turnover percentage. They don’t allow a ton of steals, but the Spartans have plenty of self-inflicted turnovers.
The first game between these two went roughly as expected with Norfolk State winning by 20 points. Although we shouldn’t expect sure a massive win here, the opportunities should be similar. The Spartans had 15 turnovers, which is significantly higher than their season average. With that being said, they found success in each level offensively. Morgan State also shot only 16.7% from deep, which should increase slightly in this game.
Norfolk State is currently making a push tournament the NCAA tournament. They don’t have any good wins throughout the season, but that doesn’t truly matter. Morgan State isn’t a good team, ranking 321st in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency at the moment. This may not be a sneaky team to make noise in March, but they can continue to find success against the MEAC.
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