The UNCG Spartans (21-6, 12-2 SoCon) will try to extend their five-game winning streak against the Mercer Bears (14-13, 7-7 SoCon) at Hawkins Arena. Action begins at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 17, 2018.
UNCG Spartans vs. Mercer Bears Free Preview
In the Spartans last matchup, they were victorious over the Citadel Bulldogs, 82-66. With 15 points and eight rebounds, UNCG’s Isaiah Miller played well. UNCG dominated nearly every stat category in the game. They had an offensive rebounding percentage of 27.8 (below their season average of 34.1) and an effective field goal percentage of 0.538 (above their season average of 0.530). For those same stats, Citadel was 14.0 and 0.458, respectively.
The Bears come in on a high note after thoroughly outplaying the VMI Keydets in their last game, 82-58. Mercer’s Jordan Strawberry led the way, contributing 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Mercer dominated nearly every facet of the game. They had an absurd free throw rate of 0.360 (above their season average of 0.270) and an offensive rebounding percentage of 26.9 (below their season average of 33.1). VMI was 0.050 and 17.5, respectively, for those same stats.
The game should be a showdown of strength against strength as the prolific offense of Mercer takes on the stingy defense of UNCG. The Bears rank 25th in offensive efficiency, while the Spartans are sixth in defensive efficiency. Furthermore, the Spartans rank 49th in offensive rebounding percentage (33.8 percent), while the Bears rank 47th in defensive rebounding percentage (74.7 percent).
Both teams have had a player trending in the right direction over their last five games. For the Spartans, it’s been James Dickey, who has averaged 10.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, while the Bears have gotten great contributions from Ross Cummings (18.0 points).
These teams have already met once this season. The Spartans won 70-66. UNCG had a much better turnover percentage (11.5 vs. 23.4). Mercer, meanwhile, had a better effective field goal percentage (0.500 vs. 0.456). Francis Alonso was the games leading scorer with 17 points.
UNCG Spartans vs. Mercer Bears Betting Prediction
College Basketball Prediction: SU Winner – Mercer, ATS Winner – Mercer, O/U – Under
- The Spartans rank 16th in blocks allowed per game (2.4) while the Bears rank 111th (3.4).
- Mercer is fifth in the NCAA with 29.4 rebounds allowed per game while UNCG is 13th with 30.5 rebounds allowed per game.
- UNCG averages 26.9 three pointers per game, which ranks 24th in the nation. Mercer ranks 267th in three pointers allowed per game (25.7).
- The Spartans rank ninth in assists allowed per game (10.0) while the Bears rank 192nd (14.4).
- UNCG ranks 16th in steals per game (8.2) while Mercer ranks 155th (5.8).
- The Bears average margin of victory in their last five games has been 6.8, down from 7.3 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Spartans have scored an average of 74.8 points per game (0.8 above their season average) and allowed an average of 57.6 points per game (5.1 below their season average).