Trio of Monday Picks: Could Western Michigan Upset South Carolina?

Jay Pryce

Monday, November 13, 2017 2:18 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 2:18 PM UTC

Here's a trio of free college basketball picks from a hefty Monday night schedule. Included are predictions for the Western Michigan-South Carolina, Charlotte-Oklahoma State, and Chattanooga-UAB matchups.

Western Michigan at South Carolina (-10.5)

The Mid-American Conference coaches picked Western Michigan to win the league title this season after bowing out to Ball State in the second round of last year’s championship. Coach Steve Hawkins, who has claimed nine West division crowns in 15 years, returns four starters. Best of the bunch is point guard Thomas Wilder, an All-MAC first-teamer and NBA prospect who put up 19.4 points and 3.8 assists per game last season.

South Carolina fields few from last year’s Final Four squad. Head coach Frank Martin is in rebuilding mode with five freshmen, five sophomores, and two lone seniors -- both graduate transfers brought in to fill out the backcourt. Last year’s ultra-talented trio of guards, Sindarius Thornwell, P.J. Dozier, and Duane Notice, are gone. Junior forward Chris Silve (10.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg in 2016 ) is expected to carry the load, and the frontcourt is the focus for this team. Any bit of foul trouble could spell doom for the Gamecocks moving forward.

The last time Martin coached a squad this young was in the 2013-14 season. It finished 14-20 SU and won just five conference games. The Gamecocks have a stronger base this time around, but expect a large step back. Pick Western Michigan plus the points.

Free NCAAB Pick: WMU +10.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Charlotte at Oklahoma State (-13)

Oklahoma State basketball is in disarray following an FBI investigation into corruption singled out former associate head coach Lamont Evans as a culprit. The aftermath sees new head coach Mike Boynton without last year’s second-leading scorer Jeffrey Carroll (17.5 ppg). The university is withholding the star guard from play pending an ongoing review of the program. The Cowboys did not need him in a 78-47 win over Pepperdine in the season opener, but played sloppy and uninspired nonetheless. The Waves are winners of nine of their last 25 games. Charlotte, a much tougher opponent, will likely expose Oklahoma State’s turmoil.

The 49ers play at one of the fastest paces in the country and will test a thin Cowboys bench. They put up a program-best 116 points in a season-opening win vs. Methodist and aim to carry the momentum into Gallagher-Iba Arena. Take the points with Charlotte in what should be a fun high-scoring encounter.

Free NCAAB Pick: Charlotte +13Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Chattanooga at UAB (-12.5)

Chattanooga is full of fresh faces from last year’s squad that won 19 games. Lamont Paris, a former associate head coach at Wisconsin, is the new man in charge. Prince has a single senior on the team (Trayvond Massenburg) and missing six players (Greg Pryor, Jonathan Burroughs-Cook, Chuck Ester, Casey Jones, Tre' McLean and Justin Tuoyo) that combined for 1,772 points last year. Underclassman comprise nearly the entire team, which means scoring might be tough to come by early in the season, especially when overmatched by opponents like UAB.

Since 2006, UAB is 73-10 SU at home against non-conference opponents. The Blazers should have no trouble topping the inexperienced Mocs here. The best bet is with the total, however. The ‘under’ is 31-13 in UAB’s last 44 non-conference home games. Chattanooga will struggle to find points, but Paris will bring the same tough-nosed, disciplined, defense-oriented philosophy that’s proven successful for decades at Wisconsin to the team. A decent defensive effort keeps the score down.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 139Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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