UALR Gameday: Sun Belt West lead on the line as Trojans host Denver

Denver at UALR7 p.m. tonight
Jack Stephens Center
Vegas says: Denver by 4

Michael Javes has the potential to be a big X-factor tonight.

He’s become a solid presence in the paint for UALR since the start of the new year. That’s quite a change from the last UALR-Denver game when Javes didn’t even get in the game.

At the time, the word was that Denver was a bad matchup for him. But he was forced back into the rotation by the shoulder injury to Will Neighbour during that Denver game. And he’s responded.

It will be interesting to see if he’s made himself a better matchup for Denver in the past three weeks.

BTH Keys
Tonight’s keys aren’t really any different from the keys the last time UALR met Denver on Dec. 31.

BIG START: Denver is a tremendously difficult team to come back on because they use their offense effectively to bleed the clock. But the Pioneers also aren’t necessarily a great comeback team. That makes the first half key tonight.

BOARD IT: Denver gets outrebounded by 5.1 per game and the Trojans held a 34-25 rebounding advantage in the first meeting. It will take a similar effort tonight.

TAKE CARE: Denver is not a big-time pressing or even pressure defense team. The Pioneers play solid half court defense and force opponents into unforced errors. UALR can’t afford those type of turnovers tonight.

FREE TIME:  Denver is a solid free throw shooting team at 78.8 percent. The Pioneers are also really efficient on offense and you can’t afford to give them free chances to shoot with the clock stopped.We've seen Denver play some chippy games of late, something that plays into the inexperience of Saturday night Sun Belt officials.  In the last meeting, UALR needs to beat Denver at the line. In the last meeting, Denver went there 28 times. That's too many.

Vegas, baby
Denver is a four-point favorite over UALR tonight. The Trojans have beat the spread eight of the past nine times they’ve been underdogs.

UALR’s victory at Denver apparently means nothing. Nor does Denver’s 0 for lifetime record in games played in Little Rock (or North Little Rock). Everyone’s going with the Pioneers tonight:

  • Omni Rankings (11-5): Denver 61, UALR 58
  • Jeff Sagarin (14-7): Denver 79, UALR 73
  • CBS Sports line (14-7): Denver 66, UALR 62
  • The Sports Network (13-8): Denver 68, UALR 62
  • Real Time RPI (12-9): Denver 66, UALR 65
  • Combination: Denver 68, UALR 64