Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Sunday.
The underdogs look dangerous in the third-place game of the Charleston Classic Sunday evening when those Akron Zips (2-1, 1-1 away/neutral) take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (2-2, 1-1 away/neutral) out of the SEC at TD Arena in Charleston, SC at 6:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Akron as the underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ with odds of -110.
One Team Nipped, One Blown Out
These teams are squaring off in this third-place game because both lost their tournament semi-final matchups on Friday. Akron suspended its leading scorer and preseason All-Mid-American Conference forward Demetrius Treadwell indefinitely prior to this tournament, but that did not stop the Zips from blowing out USC 66-46 in the opening round. But Treadwell’s absence caught up to them in a 79-51 loss as 8½-point underdogs to Miami-FL in the semis.
South Carolina was involved in a much closer semi-final after being the 69-45 winning NCAA Basketball pick over Cornell in the tournament opener, but in the end the Gamecocks came up short 65-63 vs. Charlotte Friday when leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer going for the win. Thornwell finished with 20 points in the game, but only two of those came in the second half as he was a miserable 1-for-9 from the field after halftime.
Transition Baskets a Key for Akron
While Treadwell is obviously a stud, not to mention a great specimen at 6-foot-7, 236 pounds, center Pat Forsythe has actually picked up the slack rather admirably in the two games here in Charleston averaging 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds. The problem vs. the Hurricanes was that he did not get much support as the Zips were outrebounded 40-23, with the rest of the roster besides Forsythe scoring a total of 40 points on 15-for-45 shooting.
Miami also committed only 11 turnovers in the game, so Akron did not really get a chance to get its fine transition game going. The Zips scored 44 points off of turnovers in their first two games combined with both of them being victories, as the win here over USC was preceded by a season-opening 74-57 win over UMBC at home.
South Carolina turned the ball over 17 times in the loss to Charlotte and the Zips are very capable of making the Gamecocks pay if they are that sloppy once again.
Three-Point Differential Also Favors Zips
And turnovers are nothing new to the Gamecocks as they were 320th in the country in offensive turnover percentage last season at 21.3 percent compared to a national average of 18.3 percent. Sure they had a few bright moments during a 14-20 campaign with the most notable one being an upset of Kentucky in SEC play, but the sloppy ball-handling held the Cocks back from being a winning club and they do not seem to have corrected that in the early going this year.
Another sore spot has been three-point shooting as South Carolina is shooting just 27.8 percent beyond the arc thus far. That puts the favorite here at another disadvantage as Akron is hitting 36.9 percent from three-point land and that has been a big part of the Zips’ game, as a whopping 43.4 percent of their field goal attempts overall have been three-point shots!
Beating Two Majors Would Be a First
Finally, the Zips are trying to make school history here. You see, when Akron trounced USC in the quarterfinals, it marked the fourth straight season that the MAC school beat one team from a major conference. One thing that Akron has never done in its history though is beat two major conference schools in the same season, which is a feat it can accomplish over a span of four days with a win here.
Whether or not Akron gets that major outright win is debatable, but the Zips certainly have a chance to pull it off and they should at the very least stay close, so take the points vs. South Carolina in the Charleston Classic on Sunday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Akron +5½ (-110)