Dave’s Free Play, Thanksgiving Day, 11/27/14
No blog today, just the free play for the day. Enjoy your holiday!
11/27 03:00 PM CBB (539) CAL STATE FULLERTON vs. (540) WRIGHT STATE
Take: (539) CAL STATE FULLERTON +6.5
If you look at the pre-season projections, Wright State is much more highly thought of than is Cal State Fullerton. The Raiders figure to reside in the upper half of the Horizon, while the Titans are projected to be at or at least near the bottom in the Big West. That might well be the case, but thanks to the matchups we’ll see today in this game, I believe the underdog has a decent chance to get the mild upset.
Wright State coach Billy Donlon’s game is pressure. Wright State was one of the best teams in the country last season at forcing turnovers. But the current edition of the Raiders has zero starters back from last season, and the defense is not where it needs to be just yet. That’s key here. Fullerton has definite shortcomings, but the strength of the team is its backcourt tandem of Alex Harris and Lanerryl Johnson, and that combo should be able to handle whatever Wright State throws at them.
Harris is off an especially awful game by his standards, so I would expect him to enjoy a bounce back to at least some extent today. Johnson is a jaycee transfer who has stepped right into the lineup and is playing well. I believe they can neutralize the Arceneaux/Hopkins combo and if that’s the case, I don’t know where the big advantage is for Wright State.
The Raiders are off to a 3-1 start that includes a win over a respectable Belmont entry plus a good road win at Charleston Southern. That’s not bad, especially considering that Wright State is without a couple of key bench guys, so their depth chart is a bit depleted.
If you’re just playing off the power rankings, Wright State is definitely the chalk here, so no argument with the number being where it is. But when breaking down the personnel and the team tendencies, I expect the Titans to take away what the Raiders want to implement defensively, and that should out this game into the coin flip category. That being the expectation, Cal State Fullerton plus a fairly generous spot looks like the right side to me.