NCAA Basketball Pick: Grab Eastern Wash. to Keep it Close vs. Western Carolina

Joe Catalano

Monday, December 14, 2015 6:12 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 6:12 PM UTC

The Eastern Washington Eagles (5-5) square off against the Western Carolina Catamounts (3-6) in the Gotham Classic. See who we like as our NCAA basketball pick for tonight.



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NCAA Basketball Pick: Eastern Washington +4 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. EST tonight at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, North Carolina. At 5Dimes, the Catamounts are a 4 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 148 on the NCAA basketball odds.

Western Carolina has been somewhat of an embarrassment, losers of 4 out of their last 5 games and by big margains, but we must remember; all of these losses were on the road. The Catamounts get to play on their home floor tonight and against a team that's weak on enemy territory.


Looking For the Hot Hand
While the Catamounts average 72 points per game, their shooting from the field is abysmal at just 38.7% . Usually a weak shooting team has one player that can knock down shots when necessary, but this is a team that's a volume shooting team. This means that they're going to be hounding the boards and looking to hoist up as many shots as possible.


Mike Brown and Torrion Brummitt
Luckily for Western Carolina, their two best players also happen to be their two best rebounders. At just 6 foot 3, senior guard, Mike Brown is able to control the boards, averaging a healthy 6.2 rebounds per game and he also leads the Catamounts in scoring at 16.8 points per game. Brown is a fierce defender at 2 steals per game and can knock down his shots from the charity stripe. That said, he's averaging 38.7% from the field. Look for Brown to take matters into his own hands as he's averaging nearly 14 shots per game. He's played well in his last 2 games, averaging 19 points per game and I expect Brown to be the go to guy.

Power forward, senior Torrion Brummitt, does most of his work inside the paint with his 6 foot 7, 240 pound frame. Brummitt is averaging 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He compliments Brown very well and this will be the Catamounts method to attempt to win a very winnable game. Brummitt is a fierce defender that should give the Eagles trouble, but he'll need to stay out of foul trouble as this has been his Achilees Heel. Look for a solid effort out of Brummitt. This big man is very consistent on both ends of the court.


Back to the Low Level Competition
Give the Eastern Washington Eagles credit for their schedule as they last played the Pittsburgh Panthers, but unfortunately for the Eagles, they came out on the losing end, getting pounded, 84-51. Now, they get a winnable game, but they must be able to show something away from home as they've had no success on the road.


Austin McBroom and Venky Jois
The Eagles are a team that rely heavily on their stars and players such as McBroom and Jois play a massive amount of minutes. While McBroom is the go to guy offensively, averaging 17.6 points per game and shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc, Jois does the dirty work, averaging 14 points, 7.2 rebounds 3.2 assists, and 2.1 blocks.

If this game is close, the Eagles don't want the basketball in the hands of Jois as he's shooting just 43.8% from the free throw line. That said, Jois is a key a figure on a a team, which only averages 31 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. He will need to put up a monster game on the road.

The one major advantage that Eastern Washington has over Western Carolina is their offense as they shoot nearly 50% from the field and average 81 points per game.

Lock the Eagles as the NCAA basketball pick to get on track on the road as they are the superior team in this game.

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