- Bethune-Cookman (3-9) takes on FIU (9-4) in a SWAC/C-USA matchup Wednesday, January 5th, at 1:00 pm ET in Miami
- The Wildcats are coming off a 66-59 home win against Florida A&M Monday, while the Panthers beat NAIA program St. Thomas (FL) 95-72 at home on New Year’s Day
- See the current moneyline, point spread, and game total, plus predictions
The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (3-9) — who were picked to finish tenth in the SWAC preseason poll — aim to carry momentum of just their second victory against a Division I program on Monday into a tilt against the FIU Panthers (9-4) Wednesday from the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Tip off is at 1:00 pm ET.
FIU enters the contest as favorites according to oddsmakers and KenPom predicts the Panthers will win 72-59.
Bethune-Cookman vs FIU Odds
Odds as of January 4th, 2022.
Reggie Theus’ team saw senior forward Kevin Davis pour in 26 points and grab 13 rebounds in a seven-point victory over the Rattlers to open conference play. Junior guard Joe French — the Wildcats’ leading scorer at just under 14 points per game — scored only four on 1-of-8 shooting.
Meantime, Jeremy Ballard’s club saw four players score in double-figures in a 23-point win on New Year’s Day — which snapped a three-game losing skid. The Panthers knocked down a season-high 17 3-pointers in the win — with a total of seven Panthers sinking at least one shot from distance.
Winning Streak Brewing?
After over 10 days without taking the floor, B-CU emerged with a rare victory against a D-1 program. French was shut down by A&M, but Davis broke out with a huge effort.
Bethune-Cookman University Coach Reggie Theus win Debut SWAC Basketball Opener
* Kevin Davis led the Wildcats with 26 pts
66 Bethune Cookman (3-9) (1-0)
59 Florida A&M (2-10) (0-1) pic.twitter.com/uyhhEkMHKq
— HBCU Premier Sports & News (@HBCUSports1) January 4, 2022
Wednesday’s game against FIU was originally scheduled to be played on Dec. 19, but was postponed due to COVID issues. As for the Wildcats, they’re allowing only 69.8 points per game this season to opponents – the fourth-best mark in the SWAC and less than a point behind the overall SWAC lead in the category. B-CU has also only turned the ball over 152 times this season – the third-lowest mark in the conference
French and Davis are the only players averaging in double-digits for Theus. But three other players (Marcus Garrett, Damani McEntire and Dylan Robertson) put up at least eight points a contest. And all are either juniors or seniors. This is a relatively experienced group that can compete anywhere.
Take It to the Bank
FIU enters Wednesday’s clash boasting a 6-1 mark at home — which includes a winning margin over 18 points in those contests. The Panthers are also shooting a scorching 49.2% on its home floor. St. Thomas was the most recent victim Saturday.
FINAL – FIU 95, STU 72 🏀
— FIU Men’s Basketball (@FIUHoops) January 1, 2022
FIU jumped out to an 8-1 start to open the 2021-22 campaign — marking the best in program history. But three losses — against Eastern Michigan, Jacksonville State and Old Dominion — followed prior to Saturday’s confidence booster.
The team’s leading scorer is junior guard Tevin Brewer (15.5 ppg), who has already earned C-USA Player of the Week honors this season. He’s followed by freshman backcourt mate Denver Jones (12.2 ppg) as the only two players putting up at least 10 points per an outing. Jones earned C-USA Freshman of the Week honors last month.
Ballard’s group is one of the better squads defensively, rated 43rd in defensive adjusted efficiency and 14th in defensive 3-point field goal percentage. None of those three losses in December were by more than seven points and one (Easter Michigan) came in four overtimes!
There’s no doubt Bethune-Cookman will be confident when it heads to South Beach. Coming off a win in the SWAC opener explains that. And this is a group that been through plenty of battles.
But despite being battle-tested, most of those games have ended in defeat. Considering FIU’s exceptional ability to score the ball on its home court, I like the Panthers in this spot.