NCAA Basketball Pick: Western Carolina vs. Wofford

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 20, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

The Western Carolina Catamounts have won five straight games and they are a perfect 4-0 in Southern Conference play as they visit the Wofford Terriers on Monday.

The visiting team comes in on a nice roll Monday night when those Western Carolina Catamounts (11-8, 2-7 away) pay a visit to the Wofford Terriers (7-10, 4-3 home) at Johnson Arena in Spartanburg, SC at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Western Carolina as a scant road underdog for this contest with the current line at +1 with odds of -113.

Western Carolina began this season going 7-8 in non-conference play, although some of the losses did come to major conference schools such as Oregon, Georgia and Virginia Tech. The Catamounts have started to flex their muscles since the start of Southern Conference play though as they are off to a 4-0 start, making them one of two teams undefeated in the conference so far along with Chattanooga.

Wofford played even a more taxing non-conference slate as it ranked 57th in the country in SOS, but that has not had the desired effect for the Terriers as they are off to a 2-3 start inside the Southern, beating only a Samford team ranked 310th on the Pomeroy Ratings and 339th ranked Citadel.

Western Carolina is ranked 215th on Pomeroy overall, making it the third highest ranked Southern team behind Elon (164th) and Davidson (188th) even though each of those teams has a conference loss. The Catamounts may rank 185th in the country in defensive efficiency while allowing 71.9 points per game overall, but they lead the conference in efficiency during Southern games.

The key to that defense has been the ability to force turnovers as they lead they are forcing them on 24.9 percent of possessions vs. Southern opponents, easily the best in the conference in those games, and the Catamounts rank a very respectable 59th nationally in that category across all of their games at 20.6 percent against a national average of 18.5 percent.

Western Conference also grades out well in three-point defense at 31.8 percent overall to rank 77th nationally and a miniscule 26.9 percent inside the Southern, again easily the best in the conference.

Wofford lost to the likes of Minnesota, Saint Louis, VCU and Georgia in non-conference play, but their horrific 310th ranking in adjusted offensive efficiency is adjusted for schedule and the fact that the Terriers are 236th in offensive turnover percentage at 19.4 percent makes for a nightmarish matchup vs. the Western Carolina defense. Also playing here at home has not really been much of an advantage with Wofford going a modest 4-3 in Spartanburg.

Western Carolina has won the last two head-to-head meetings including an 82-59 romp the last time the Catamounts visited here, and we again expect better talent to trump home court in this spot, as Wofford is ranked 70 spots lower than WCU on Pomeroy at 285th.

Thus, look for Western Carolina to emerge triumphant on the road on Martin Luther King Day Monday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Western Carolina +1 (-113)

comment here