Florida Gulf Coast beat Ohio in their inaugural matchup last season. How will the second matchup go now that the two teams meet on Saturday to open up the 2015-16 betting season?
Florida Gulf Coast is coming off a productive season where they went 22-11. Along the way was an important win against Ohio where they won by 17 and pounded them along the glass. They outrebounded them 44-33. That will probably be a concern again for Ohio given how they’ve looked in exhibition. They are fresh off a win over Indiana Tech 73-57 but Ohio was outrebounded 49-37.
Florida Gulf Coast did lose a lot from last year’s team as All-Atlantic Sun performers Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson are gone. Also gone is Jamail Jones, who started for the team on the wing. And even their starting center is out as Demetris Morant is out until next month. They’re not the Atlantic Sun preseason favorite and they’re lacking plenty of experience. They have talent but this is a team that’s going to need time to develop.
As for Ohio, they’re heading into their second season under Saul Phillips. They’ve been picked to finish third in the MAC according to preseason polls, which slots them behind Akron and Kent State. They’ll be led by Junior forward Antonio Campbell, who was named to the Preseason All-MAC East Division Team.
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Ohio gets home-court advantage in this one and that could be significant. They have an all-time record of 445-142 at home. They typically have a very strong attendance, which helps charge the team up. They’ve led the MAC in attendance in seven of the last nine seasons.
As for Florida Gulf Coast, they clearly prefer to be the home team on most nights. Last season, they were just 6-6 in away games compared to a whopping 13-4. That’s a big difference as they only won one out of every two home games compared to a healthy 76.5% winning percentage when they were at home. Home-court advantage will tilt the scales towards Ohio in this one.
FGCU has lost a bunch off of its roster and it won’t help matters that most-time starting returning center Demetris Morant is out too. The 6’9 junior isn’t expected back before December as he’s deal with a leg injury. In his stead will be Antravious Simmons but he basically has no collegiate experience.
What’s The Pick?
There’s only one returning starter for FGCU and the high expectations for this once-dominant Atlantic Sun team have dimmed…for now. Might they be better down the road? It’s possible. But for now, it’s hard to trust them on the NCAA Basketball odds. Look for Ohio to get some revenge on what happened last season. They have rebounding issues but it won’t be a problem in the opener against FGCU, who won’t be able to own them inside like they did in last year’s matchup. Take Ohio with your NCAA Basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Ohio at The Greek