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College basketball handicapper Chris Smith breaks down Wednesday's Wichita State vs. Houston game

Wichita State vs. Houston Predictions

The Shockers head to Houston to take on the Cougars in this AAC battle. The total in this game is currently projected at around 135 which means a defensive battle is expected. That’s why I can’t help but think Wichita State can keep it close enough to cover this double-digit spread.

Houston has emerged as a borderline Top Ten team nationally under Kelvin Sampson and they have a clear advantage on this glass in this matchup and boast one of the country’s best overall defenses. They will be without the conference’s preseason player of the year, however, in Caleb Mills who decided to transfer to be closer to home this weekend.

The Cougars have played half their games without Mills so far this year, but his absence certainly will hurt on the offensive side of the ball. The Shockers meanwhile, have managed to post a 6-2 start to the season themselves despite interim coach Issac Brown being forced into duty just prior to the start of the season when Greg Marshall was forced out rather unceremoniously.

Wichita State has won 5 straight overall led by the scoring of Tyson Etienne and leadership of point guard Alterique Gilbert. The UConn transfer and former McDonald’s All America has been a steadying hand for this Shocker team as he is finally healthy and embracing the leadership role. While I expect Houston’s physicality and defensive intensity to prevail in the end, their lack of shooting and playmakers on the offensive end (Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes are the only Cougars who average double figures) leads me to believe the Shockers can cover the number in this one. I’ll take the 11.5 points with the road underdog with the expectation that this one winds up around 68-63 Houston.

BET: Wichita State +11.5 @ -105


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