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Pick on the Total for Kennesaw State-Austin Peay on February 8

VSiN’s Greg Peterson goes over the best betting options for Thursday’s college basketball matchup between the Kennesaw State Owls and Austin Peay Governors.

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NCAA Basketball: Austin Peay at Memphis Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kennesaw State Owls and Austin Peay Governors are both 4-5 in Atlantic Sun play entering Thursday’s showdown in Tennessee with both teams looking to start a surge up the conference standings.

Kennesaw State Owls (-2, 155) vs. Austin Peay Governors

These two teams’ tempos could not be further apart with Kennesaw State leading the nation in total possessions per game and Austin Peay ranking 331st in this category. And while Austin Peay ranks just 272nd in points allowed on a per-possession basis, it still presents a matchup that can slow down Kennesaw State.

Out of the 362 Division I teams in percentage of field goal attempts that come from 3-point range, the Owls rank 39th with 43.6% of their shots coming from beyond the 3-point arc but now face a Governors’ defense that allows opponents to shoot just 30.1% from 3-point range at home this season, good for 77th in the nation.

The Governors are unlikely to get a lot going from the perimeter on offense, either, ranking 169th in 3-point shooting percentage on top of coach Corey Gipson changing his approach from when he coached largely the same core of featured scorers that he had at Northwestern State last season.

Demarcus Sharp was Northwestern State’s leader in points per game last season and is now Austin Peay’s scoring leader this season but after leading all qualifying Division I players in 3-point shooting percentage last season, he is only shooting 6.7% from distance this season.

Both teams also have been two of the worst in the nation at making free throws with Kennesaw State ranking 309th in free throw shooting percentage at 67.7% and Austin Peay ranking 358th in home free throw shooting percentage at 60%.

This aids a pair of defenses that surrender a lot of points via free throws as 20.3% of points surrendered by Austin Peay are from free throws, which ranks 111th in terms of highest percentage in the nation. Over 24.9% of the points Kennesaw State allows when playing on the road come from made free throws, which ranks 31st.

In regulation play (excluding overtime), Austin Peay has allowed 72 points or fewer in 20 of its 24 games while averaging just 66.2 points per game against Division I teams this season.

With Austin Peay’s ability to bring games to a screeching halt and both teams having massive free throw issues, Thursday’s game will be much lower scoring than what we’ve seen throughout the season from Kennesaw State.

The Play: Kennesaw State vs. Austin Peay Under 155