NCAA Basketball Picks: Fade WCU vs. South Car. ATS Despite Hefty Spread

Jordan Sharp

Monday, November 30, 2015 3:30 PM GMT

While it may not be one of the more glamorous games on the NCAA baketball odds, tonight the Gamecocks of South Carolina are set to face off against Western Carolina.

Carolina Looks To Stay Undefeated
South Carolina is the only other team in the SEC besides Kentucky that has currently not lost a game, and tonight they face off against the Western Carolina Catamounts of the Southern Conference. The Catamounts have lost all three of their road games so far this season SU, and tonight is by far their toughest test since traveling into Cincinnati and getting beat 97-72. The Bearcats were -20 ½ favorites in that game. With the Gamecocks enjoying one of the more unprecedented home stands to begin a college basketball season, it would not surprise me to see Carolina dominate the game at home.

Five South Carolina players have opened the season scoring in double figures, and while it’s been against lower tier non-conference opponents, the Catamounts might fit that narrative as well. Western Carolina’s leading scorer from last year, James Sinclair is gone and it might be a rebuilding season in Cullowhee. While the Catamounts have some capable scorers this season as well, they are going up against a Gamecocks team that has covered all of their games ATS at home, and is averaging nearly 86 points per game.

While their opening six wins have been against lesser teams, Carolina did beat Tulsa a week ago tonight, which was their first real test. Most of the SEC is playing for second place behind Kentucky, but if South Carolina can get out to a solid non-conference record, it could propel their confidence into the New Year, where they have several games against ranked conference opponents. It remains to be seen if their hot start will mean anything, but I think coach Frank Martin is intense enough to make his team believe that they need to dominate this game in preparation for tougher games against Vanderbilt, LSU and Kentucky down the road.

 

The Sharp Pick
Dating back to last season, the Catamounts are 1-5 SU in their last six road games, and against a potential up and coming team in South Carolina, it’s hard to see them covering here. While it doesn’t mean much, in the last 11 seasons, these two teams have played four times, and South Carolina has covered all four games, and won by an average margin of victory of 22.5 points.

While the Gamecocks don’t possess any top 20 talent like their neighbor to the north in another conference, or even their conference foes Vandy, LSU and UK, they do have some solid players. Their two Lithuanian big men have seen their averages skyrocket to start the season, and if Sindarius Thornwell or Duane Notice can could get hot for a game, this team could easily win by 20 points. South Carolina’s opponents are shooting only 41.4% from the field to start the season, so even though it’s a lot of points, I’m not betting against the Gamecocks to lose this one. Their defense is simply too good under Martin to lose SU or ATS at home right now. Against the NCAA basketball odds, the clear NCAA basketball pick is taking the Gamecocks tonight.

NCAA Basketball Pick: South Carolina -18 at Heritage

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