MTSU vs. Western Kentucky Prediction, Odds and Key Players for C-USA Semifinal (Back the Blue Raiders)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for MTSU-Western Kentucky. 

Middle Tennessee forward Jared Coleman-Jones (31) passes the ball during the mens    game against
Middle Tennessee forward Jared Coleman-Jones (31) passes the ball during the mens game against / HELEN COMER/The Daily News Journal / USA

Middle Tennessee State is coming off an upset as a nine-point underdog in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament over Louisiana Tech on Thursday. Do they have another upset in them against No. 3 Western Kentucky needing two more wins to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017?

Western Kentucky needs two wins to make March Madness for the first time since 2013. The high-speed Hilltoppers opened the conference tournament by making quick work of New Mexico State, 89-69. Can they pull away on Friday? Here’s the betting breakdown of the matchup with a best bet. 

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MTSU vs. Western Kentucky Odds, Spread and Total

MTSU vs. Western Kentucky Betting Trends

  • MTSU is 11-19 ATS this season
  • Western Kentucky is 17-11 ATS this season
  • MTSU is 6-13 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Western Kentucky is 9-8 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 14-16 in MTSU games this season
  • The OVER is 14-14 in Western Kentucky games this season

MTSU vs. Western Kentucky How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, March 15 
  • Game time: 3 p.m. EST
  • Venue: VBC Propst Arena
  • How to watch (TV): CBS Sports Network
  • MTSU record: 14-18
  • Western Kentucky record: 20-11

MTSU vs. Western Kentucky Key Players to Watch


Jared Coleman-Jones: The forward turned in a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double in the Blue Raiders’ quarterfinals win over Louisiana Tech on Thursday. Coleman-Jones averages 11.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season. 

Western Kentucky 

Rodney Howard: The former averages 10.3 points per game but came up huge in the quarterfinals against New Mexico State, pouring in 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench. Howard has scored in double figures in four of the last six games. 

MTSU vs. Western Kentucky Prediction and Pick 

Western Kentucky ended the regular season on a four-game losing streak to drop to the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. One of those defeats was at the hands of MTSU, which pulled out a 74-72 victory over the Hilltoppers at home on Feb. 24. 

The biggest question when facing Western Kentucky is can you match the pace? The Hilltoppers play at the No. 1 tempo in the nation, according to KenPom, and their average possession length (14.6 seconds) is the fourth-fastest in the country. MTSU’s defense can make life difficult in Western Kentucky, though. The Blue Raiders are above-average in most major shooting metrics and could cause some problems by forcing turnovers. Western Kentucky is No. 254 in turnover percentage. 

MTSU has to rely on its defense to hang around because the Blue Raiders’ offense is last in Conference-USA in scoring at just 66 points per game and shooting percentage (40.5%). MTSU is top-5 in the league in 3-point shooting, though, and shoots triples nearly 42% of the time, which is No. 63 in the nation. Western Kentucky can get hurt from the perimeter, too, ranking No. 7 in the conference defending shots from 3-point range. MTSU is 6-13 ATS as a dog this year, but has covered in this spot in four of its last seven attempts. Back the Blue Raiders with the points. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.