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Western Kentucky vs Miss Valley State

Small-conference tournament champions meet when Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State open the NCAA tournament Tuesday night in the South Regional play-in game.

The Hilltoppers, surprise winners of the Sun Belt Conference tournament, are favored by 4.5 points over the Delta Devils, who got toughened-up during their 1-11 start and went on to win the SWAC regular-season and tournament titles.

WKU is 13-2 ATS in past 15 games and has won 6 in a row SU, 4 as underdogs. Meanwhile, MSVU is 20-1 SU in its past 21 games.

Dayton Arena is the location for this game, which makes it a neutral-site matchup.

Supporters of the Delta Devils have watched them go 21-12 and 2-6 ATS on the year, while the Hilltoppers are at 15-18 and 18-14 ATS. In totals betting, the Hilltoppers are 17-14-1, while the Delta Devils have a 4-3-1 mark.

View Miss Valley State vs Western Kentucky Odds and Stats.

Betting Line:
On the opening NCAAB line for this matchup, Western Kentucky sat as 4.5-point favorites.

Power Rankings / Prediction:
The power rankings show a disparity between these teams, with the Hilltoppers rated this week at No. 180 and the Delta Devils sitting at No. 152. It may or may not play a role in Odds Shark score prediction modelling that produced a 67-65 result in favor of the Delta Devils.

How They Match Up:
Rebounding is always a key handicapping consideration and Delta Devils is ranked No. 47 in NCAA hoops at 37.1 per game. Contrast that with Western Kentucky’s No. 99 mark in the paint. When it comes to three-point shooting, Western Kentucky is the No. 218-ranked team in the country at 5.7 per game, while Miss Valley State rates No. 63 at 7.5 per game.

Defensively, Miss Valley State features the nation's No. 275-rated defense on the road, allowing 74.2 points per game. Western Kentucky, meanwhile, comes in at No. 306 nationally in scoring at home.

Last time out for Miss Valley State, they were a 71-69 winner as they battled Texas Southern at home. They failed to cover in the match as a 4.5-point favorite. Miss Valley State earned a 71-69 victory over Texas Southern on Saturday, getting 19 points from Kevin Burwell at Special Events Center.

Last time out for Western Kentucky, they were a 74-70 winner as they battled North Texas on the road. They covered in the match as a 3-point underdog. Teeng Akol scored 23 points leading the Hilltoppers to a 74-70 victory over North Texas at Summit Arena on Tuesday.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Trends:
When playing on Tuesday are 7-3
After playing North Texas are 8-2
After a win are 6-4

A few Delta Devils at Hilltoppers trends to consider:
Western Kentucky is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Western Kentucky's last 6 games