Pirates To Hand Gamecocks 1st Loss

Seton Hall Pirates player in action

Willie Bee

Monday, December 12, 2016 3:18 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 3:18 PM GMT

It's not a great card by any means on Monday, but one matchup intrigues us enough for a free NCAA basketball pick as South Carolina tangles with Seton Hall in New York.

A team presently undefeated against a defending conference champion? Sounds like a great way to start a new week on the college hoops slate.

Not generally known for their basketball prowess, the South Carolina Gamecocks represent the unbeaten half of the equation while Seton Hall is the latter after the Pirates won the Big East last season. They'll collide at Madison Square Garden in the Under Armour Reunion Tournament, a doubleheader featuring Auburn against Boston College in the evening's first tilt at the famed arena. FOX Sports 1 expects the Gamecocks and Pirates to tip around 9 PM (ET), and the sports books are expecting a tight affair offering Seton Hall at -2 with a 136 point total.

The 'reunion' part of this matchup is a bit of a stretch considering the two schools have met just once before on the hardwood, that contest took place back in 1974. They also met at Madison Square Garden in the tilt nearly 43 years ago, and current Tulane head coach Mike Dunleavy was the star for in South Carolina's 75-74 decision with 24 points.

 

'Cocks To Be Without Leading Scorer Once Again

Sindarius Thornwell is the stud these days for the Gamecocks, or at least he was until getting suspended earlier this month for what head coach Frank Martin termed "a mental mistake." The 6-5 senior was averaged over 18 PPG in SC's first seven contests, each a victory and including upset victories at Syracuse and at home vs. Michigan.

The Gamecocks, who take the floor for the first time in over a week, proved they could win without Thornwell the last time out with a 70-54 triumph against Florida International, but it wasn't enough to beat the NCAA basketball odds that closed -20½. The final also wasn't enough to reach the total for the 5th-straight South Carolina 'under.'

This is the sixth neutral site game this year for Kevin Willard's squad, Seton Hall coming in with three consecutive wins for a 7-2 record. The Pirates won back-to-back games last week in the Pearly Harbor Invitational, taking down Hawaii by a 68-57 count to just miss the -11½ spread and then beating California 60-57 as 1 point pups. Their two setbacks came just before Thanksgiving to Florida and Stanford in the AdvoCare Invitational.

 USC Needs Help Off Bench

Martin turned to freshman Rakym Felder to absorb some of Thornwell's missed minutes in the FIU clash, but picking up the scoring was left to guards PJ Dozier and Duane Notice. They responded with 20 and 27 points, respectively, but got a little help from the rest of the team.

Where the Gamecocks will really miss Thornwell tonight is on the defensive end of the floor in matchups against Seton Hall's Khadeen Carrington. The Brooklyn native leads the Pirates with 20.0 PPG and should have a vocal fan base in the stands, which leaves me willing to give up the bucket with a free college basketball pick on Seton Hall.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Seton Hall -2 Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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