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Sam Houston is taking on Cal Baptist tonight. Who should you take tonight? Ben Rajavuori has you covered.
ANALYSIS

Sam Houston vs. Cal Baptist Prediction: WAC Tournament Breakdown and Prediction

The second round of the Western Athletic Conference is underway, and one of two WAC matchups today features the Sam Houston State Bearkats against the Cal Baptist Lancers. Sam Houston won the only regular-season meeting between the two in a 73-68 win on the road. Can Sam Houston repeat that performance and pull out another win on a hopeful run to the big dance?

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Sam Houston vs. Cal Baptist Prediction

The Bearkats had a pretty impressive season for a team that no one expected to do much coming into the year. They went 13-5 in conference play and only lost one game at home. It all starts with Savion Flagg for this team. The six-foot-seven senior leads the team in scoring with 18.7 points per game and rebounding with 8.1 per game.

Cal Baptist will need to stop him in the paint to win this one, and I'm not sure they can. The Bearkats aren't really an offensive team though. They rank 37th in the nation in points allowed per game at 63.7, and they are 56th in the nation in turnovers forced per possession. This matches up well against a Cal Baptist offense that is 300th in the nation, with 14.1 turnovers per game. I expect Sam Houston's defensive pressure to wear on Cal Baptist and for the Lancers to finish with at least 15 turnovers tonight.

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Cal Baptist had an up-and-down season this year, going 7-11 in conference play. However, most of their wins were against the bottom of the conference, though they had one marquee win against Utah Valley back on January 15.

If there's one thing the Lancers do well on offense, it's spread the ball. They have four players averaging double-digits, and they rank fourth in the nation in assist per field goal made. The Lancers will have to take care of the ball today, though, if they want a chance. They were able to eke out a one-point win over UT Rio Grande Valley yesterday, but they had 19 turnovers in doing so and lucked out by shooting well over their season field goal percentage. I doubt they will shoot 65% inside the arc and 44% from three again against this Sam Houston defense.

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Another aspect of this game is the rest advantage for Sam Houston. Cal Baptist had to fight hard down to the last possession last night, whereas Sam Houston has been off for almost a week. Some fatigue could set in in the second half for the Lancers, which only hurts their case for more turnovers.

Offensively, these teams are pretty similar, and both shoot a lot of threes. Sam Houston actually holds the better three-point percentage in conference play by about one percent. The most significant difference tonight will be the defense. Sam Houston forces more turnovers, allows fewer second-chance points, and holds opponents to lower field goal percentages. Defense always trumps in March. Therefore, I like Sam Houston to take care of business today.

Also, there is another trend for today. Like I said yesterday with Delaware, I'm not usually a trends guy, but there's another for today's game if trends are your thing. Favorites in the Western Athletic Conference tournament are 39-4 straight up over the last seven years and 21-9 against the spread on single-digit lines. With all that said, Sam Houston should be able to come away with the win tonight.

Sam Houston vs. Cal Baptist Line Movement

Sam Houston vs. Cal Baptist Pick

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Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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