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Tennessee State Tigers vs Morehead State Eagles: Flying High

College Basketball Betting Preview

The Morehead State Eagles look for their third win in a row when they host the Tennessee State Tigers in an Ohio Valley Conference contest Thursday night. Morehead State (18-7) heads into the final weekend of regular-season action in the conference in second place, two games ahead of third-place Eastern Kentucky.

The Eagles can’t catch conference champion Belmont, which is a perfect 18-0 and has a three-game lead over 15-3 Morehead State. But clinching the second seed for the conference tournament is possible with a win in this game.

Tennessee State Tigers vs Morehead State Eagles Betting Preview
Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

Tennessee State (4-17) has already been eliminated from contention for the conference tournament, as only the top eight teams make the field. The Tigers are tied for 11th place with Tennessee Tech, as both teams enter the final weekend with 3-15 marks against conference foes.

Tennessee State has lost seven of its last eight, including a 79-66 setback to the Eagles on Feb. 11. It did win two games ago over Tennessee Tech, then dropped a one-point decision to Jacksonville State on Saturday.

If you’re betting online on this contest, Morehead State is an 11-point favorite. The over/under is sitting at 130½ in our NCAAB odds.

Last Weekend

The Tigers know that they don’t have any more games after this one and a game Saturday at Eastern Kentucky. Coach Brian “Penny” Collins will certainly use that as motivation to have his team play like it’s their NCAA March Madness and try to go out with two wins.

Despite the disparity in their records, Tennessee State is actually scoring more points per game than the Eagles, 68.0-67.5, ranking eighth in the OVC. But, the Tigers are allowing 73.3 points a contest, ranking them seventh in the league, compared to the Eagles’ league-best 62.8.

Guard Mark Freeman leads the Tigers attack with 16.2 points per game and also averages a team-best 4.7 assists per contest. The sophomore struggled in the first meeting, shooting just 5-of-17 from the field, including 2-of-9 from 3-point range, and finishing with 12 points.

Freshman guard Marcus Fitzgerald Jr. chips in with 12.5 points per game, while senior forward Shakem Johnson is averaging 11.4 points and a team-best 5.5 rebounds. Johnson had a big game in the first meeting, finishing with a team-high 18 points.

Setting A Standard

With a win over Tennessee State, the Eagles can set a program record for OVC wins in a season. This year’s squad is currently tied with the 2009-10 Morehead State team that finished 15-3 in league play.

Freshman forward Johni Broome has been making college basketball news as he leads the Eagles in scoring (14.2 points per game), rebounding (8.9) and blocked shots (2.0). He is one of only three freshmen in the country — along with USC’s Evan Mobley and Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson — to lead their teams in all three categories.

Junior guard DeVon Cooper is scoring 11.9 points per game, while junior guard Skyelar Potter adds 11.8 per contest. Both have hit at least 30 3-pointers this year and are shooting better than 34.5% from beyond the arc.

Murray State is shooting 50.9% from the field as a team, which is the top percentage in the Ohio Valley Conference. They also lead the league in 3-point field-goal percentage at .370.

Eagles Fly High

While Tennessee State would like to end its season on a high note, it’s not going to happen in this one. The Eagles are trying to build for the conference tournament, so they’ll be focused on picking up the win.

Not much has changed for these teams since their last meeting, so another 13-point victory seems about right for the Eagles. When doing your college basketball betting, put your money on Murray State to win and cover.

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