Reunion Night, City Championship Trigger Two Value Picks Thursday

Jay Pryce

Thursday, November 30, 2017 1:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 1:58 PM UTC

Out top college basketball picks Thursday feature South Carolina vs. Temple in the second Under Armour Reunion at storied Madison Square Garden, and San Diego State at San Diego in the annual I-8 rivalry.

South Carolina vs. Temple (Pick ‘em)

Site: Madison Square Garden (NYC)

Head coach Frank Martin has crafted yet another superb defense at South Carolina (5-SU, 4-1-1 ATS). The unit, which runs Martin’s unique pressure man-to-man scheme, ranks 11th in efficiency nationally. The Gamecocks allow 60.7 points per game on 37.1 percent shooting. What makes the numbers more impressive is the fact South Carolina has played five of its six contests away from home.

Martin’s defense has proven tough to beat on a fair court. South Carolina is 15-8 SU and 15-6-2 ATS on neutral hardwood in his tenure. The defensive stats are consistent with this year’s figures, yielding 64.9 points per game on a 39.6 opponent field goal percentage.

Temple is off to one of its best starts in program history, winning its first three road games for the first time ever. The streak was snapped on Sunday 87-83 at La Salle, despite the Owls never trailing until the final 1:05 minutes. The Explorers went 14 of 15 from the charity stripe. Temple likes to shoot from deep. Head coach Fran Dunphy’s men led the American Athletic Conference with 9.0 3-pointers per game last season, and are draining 10.0 to begin this campaign.

It is tough for most college programs to find their shooting touch away from home, which is true for the Owls. It proves more even more difficult vs. teams defending the perimeter well. Since the start of last season, Temple is 3-7 SU and 5-5 ATS outside of Liacouras Center when facing opponents allowing 31 percent or fewer from behind the arc. The Gamecocks enter yielding 27.4 percent from the area.

Temple has a history of shooting poorly in neutral court games, too, and should come up well short of projections against an elite South Carolina defense. In the last four years, the Owls average 69.5 points on 38.8 percent shooting in this spot. At the time of publication, market numbers place Temple’s team total at a 71.5 over/under. It will be lucky to hit the mid-60s. Pick the Gamecocks at a pick ‘em to win outright.

Free NCAAB Pick: USC at pick'emBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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San Diego State (-4) at San Diego

Legendary San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher retired at the end of last season following 18 years of service. Expect little change moving forward. The team appointed Brian Dutcher, Fisher’s assistant his entire tenure, as the new man in charge.

Mountain West media voted the Aztecs to finish second in the conference despite a lackluster 9-9 campaign last season. Scoring proved the primary issue, averaging just 68.5 points per game. Led by forward Malik Pope, Dutcher returns his top three point-getters. Perhaps a little maturation is all the trio needed. The team is putting up 83.7 per night through seven games this year.

San Diego is looking for its first 6-0 start as a Division I program with notable wins over San Jose State and Arkansas Little-Rock. The victories are coming via strong defense, particularly from the 3-point area. The Toreros rank second in the country in 3-point defense (19 percent), surrendering 3.1 per game. Two transfers are reinvigorating the program: Isaiah Wright (14.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.2 apg) from Utah and Isaiah Pineiro (13.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) from Portland State. This is San Diego's Super Bowl, if you will. It will be ready:

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The @USDBullpit has their tickets and we're ready for tomorrow night's matchup against San Diego State in the JCP.

Join us 🎟 » https://t.co/hiEyOElGTD#GoToreros pic.twitter.com/wUo0VDwlNU

— USD Men's Basketball (@usdmbb) November 30, 2017
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In the last decade, the Aztecs are 10-1 SU in the I-8 series, including 4-0 at Jenny Craig Pavilion. They are winning by 6.3 points per game at Linda Vista.

The Aztecs topped the Toreros 98-79 in an exhibition contest prior to the season opener. The situation is different this time around. Three of Dutcher’s top six players (Max Montana, Trey Kell and Pope) are questionable to suit up, leaving the Aztecs with just eight scholarship players -- three of them freshmen. Defense should still rule for San Diego State: the Toreros average 58.1 points on 41.8 percent shooting in the series in the last 10 years. Since the shot-clock changes, they’ve put up 53 and 59 -- though one game was outdoors at Petco Park. San Diego State will suffer offensively, but we’re not ruling out it grinds out a win. Pick ‘under’ the total for your best bet.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 136Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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