Marquette Golden Eagles vs. South Carolina Gamecocks - East Region, First Round

Marquette Golden Eagles

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 7:39 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2017 7:39 PM GMT

What’s widely being considered as one of the tougher games to pick on Friday’s NCAA Tournament card, South Carolina faces Marquette. SBR college basketball handicapping professional Ross Benjamin breaks down this matchup for us, and his article concludes with one of his March Madness predictions.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

East Region, First Round, Thursday, 4 p.m. ET

The NCAA Tournament East Region Round of 64 slate of games will wrap up on Friday night when #7 seed South Carolina takes on #10 Marquette. This will be the first NCAA March Madness appearance for South Carolina since 2004.

At the time of this writing, March Madness odds indicate that South Carolina is either a 1.0 or 1.5-point favorite in the NCAAB odds board, and the posted total ranges from 147.0 to 148.0.

 

Something Must Give

Marquette (19-12) is one of the best offensive teams in college basketball. The Golden Eagles rank #1 nationally in 3-point shooting, making an astounding 43.0% of those attempts this season. It should then come as no surprise that Marquette is #17 in scoring offense at 82.5 points scored per game.

Unfortunately, contrary to their offensive prowess, Marquette’s play on defense has been more of the opposite. The good news in that regard, Friday’s opponent (South Carolina) is far from a dynamic offense team, and realistically would be considered well below average.

South Carolina (22-10) is the antithesis of Marquette. The Gamecocks are stout defensively, and their 64.5 points allowed per game ranks 29th out of 351 Division 1 teams. Additionally, their 5th best at defending the 3-point line, limiting opponents to a paltry 29.3% conversion rate.

As I previously alluded to, South Carolina has struggled offensively this season. As a matter of fact, their 41.5 field goal percentage ranks #310 nationally in that statistical category. Furthermore, during their last 3 contests, South Carolina has averaged a mere 62.0 points scored per game, and shot a miserable 35.6% from the field.

 Final Take and Prediction

Despite playing in a power conference (SEC), South Carolina has seen just 9 of their 32 games come against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams, and they’ve gone an uninspiring 3-6 during those contests. The Gamecocks have gone 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games, and lost straight up on 6 of those 10 occasions.

You can make a strong case for Marquette playing a much tougher schedule than what South Carolina has faced. As a matter of fact, 16 of their 31 games this season came against teams playing in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and with all being considered, they went a somewhat respectable 7-9 during those contests. One of those wins came against the East Region’s #1 seed and defending national champion Villanova Wildcats. I’ll have a slight lean toward the Golden Eagles for one of my early March Madness picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Marquette +1.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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