The Chicago State Cougars are coming off arguably the most prosperous week in the school’s Division I college basketball history with road wins over previously-ranked Northwestern and Valparaiso and return home to face the UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros on Monday.
UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros vs. Chicago State Cougars (-2, 144.5)
The rise of Chicago State has been directly linked to their effort on the defensive side of things as the Cougars are 19th in the nation in turnovers forced on a per possession basis as slower tempo team, ranked 255th in possessions per game entering the week.
The Cougars face a UT Rio Grande Valley team that has struggled to take care of the ball, ranking 269th in the nation in turnovers committed on a per possession basis and have not hit the shots they have taken, as the Vaqueros are 346th in 3-point shooting percentage at 26.2%.
The biggest issue Chicago State has experienced this season has been making 3-point shots, ranking 307th in the country overall in 3-point shooting percentage and with making just 25.3% of their 3’s at home, which ranks 318th of the 348 Division I teams that had played at least one home game entering Sunday.
The outside shooting should tick upwards for the Cougars against a Vaqueros defense that is 297th overall in points allowed on a per possession basis and have allowed at least 74 points to every Division I opponents they have faced, all while ranking 312th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
While Chicago State does not have ideal size on the roster, they should also win the battle on the glass against. Vaqueros team that is 354th in the country in rebound rate, allowing opponents to grab an offensive rebound on 34.6% of their missed shots.
UT Rio Grande Valley owns just one Division I win this season and with Chicago State’s having allowed 73 points or fewer in four straight games, the Cougars will win their third straight game on Monday.
The Play: Chicago State -2