NCAA Basketball Pick: Elon Phoenix vs. Furman Paladins

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, February 24, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

The Elon Phoenix are second in the Southern Conference at 10-3, two games behind Davidson in the loss column, as they look to avoid a slip-up on the road at Furman Monday.

There could be a closer game in the Southern Conference Monday night than the positions of the two teams in the conference standings suggest when the second place Elon Phoenix (17-11, 6-6 away) pay a visit to the 10th place Furman Paladins (9-18, 6-6 home) at Timmons Arena in Greenville, SC at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has Furman as a decided home underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of -110.

Elon 10-3 inside the conference but it is probably just playing to hold on to the second seed in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament, as its only chance of winning the conference is if it wins its last three games beginning with this one and conference leader Davidson (13-1) loses at home to a poor UNC Greensboro team this Thursday before ending the season with a head-to-head meeting with the Phoenix on Saturday.

Furman will definitely participate in the opening round of the tournament as it is currently in 10th place in the 11-team conference at 3-11 with no realistic hope of finishing higher than ninth. The good news is that the Paladins cannot drop in the Southern standings as The Citadel is 0-14 with two conference games remaining.

Despite the standings of there teams, we do not expect Elon to have a cakewalk tonight, as this team rarely does away from its home in Elon, NC. The Phoenix are just 6-6 in true road games this season while actually getting outscored by -1.4 points per game in those contests, and all three of its conference losses have come on the road. Those three losses came to a Samford team rankled 305th on the Pomeroy Ratings, Chattanooga (269th) and Western Carolina (229th).

So in a weak Southern Conference that is ranked 30th among the 33 Division I conferences according to Pomeroy, not enough separates the top teams in the conference from the bottom teams to merit a team like Elon that has had its troubles on the road being favored by this much away from home.

Furman may have just three conference wins but two of those have come within the last three games after beating Appalachian State Saturday and both of those recent wins have come here at home where the Paladins are actually 6-6 compared to 3-12 on the road.

One reason for that is that Furman plays much better defense at home than away as the Paladins are holding opponents to just 41.3 percent shooting overall here in Greenville. In fact their interior defense has been good vs. Southern Conference foes regardless of the venue as they are third in the conference in two-point defense at just 47.8 percent.

Thus, while Furman may or may not win outright, the Paladins should remain scrappy at home as usual and take this contest down to the wire.

[gameodds]14/259192/?r-1=43-238-92-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Furman +7 (-110)

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