My math model only favors Arkansas-Little Rock by two points and Troy arrives in town with legitimate revenge after suffering an embarrassing 72-49 loss on this floor last season. The Trojans remain one of the most underrated (and undervalued) teams in college basketball as evidenced by the fact that they are 6-0 ATS following a loss, 8-0 ATS on the road, 7-1 ATS versus .501 or greater opposition and 9-1 ATS in their last ten games overall.
The Trojans are also a profitable 5-1 ATS in their last six Sun Belt Conference affairs, 7-0 ATS as road underdogs and 6-0 ATS in their last six road games versus teams with a .601 or greater win percentage at home. Let’s also note that the road team is 9-4-1 ATS in the last fourteen meetings in this Sun Belt Conference series.
From a fundamental standpoint, Arkansas-Little-Rock is 4.8 points per game worse than average offensively (72.7 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 77.5 points per game to a mediocre offense) and 4.1 points per game better than average defensively (68.2 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.3 points per game).
Meanwhile, the Trojans are 4.4 points per game better than average offensively (46.5% FG%; 37.4% 3-PT%) and 1.9 points per game worse than average defensively. These Sun Belt Conference foes are fairly even from a fundamental perspective, although Little Rock is better at the free throw line while the Trojans are better under the boards.
What I like most about Troy is its surging attack that is averaging 80.2 points per game on 51.4% shooting from the floor and 43.8% from beyond the arc in conference play. The Trojans have also made 73.5% of their free throw attempts in Sun Belt Conference action and 74.2% of their attempts in the last five games.
Prior to its two most recent losses, Troy had put together back-to-back upsets over Georgia State (80-77; 6-point underdog) and UT-Arlington (93-71; 5-point underdog). The Trojans nearly took down USC on the road last month (82-77; 21-point underdog) and followed up that effort with a near upset at Wyoming (72-66; 8.5-point underdog).
With Arkansas-Little Rock standing at 0-4 ATS in its last four games off a loss and 2-7 ATS in its last nine games overall, grab the points with the Trojans as Oskeim Sports’ Free Sun Belt Conference Pick for Monday, January 23.
Oskeim Sports’ Sun Belt Conference Free Pick: Troy (+4) (-120)