Western Michigan Broncos (1-0) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0)
NCAAB: Monday, November 13, 2017 at 8:00pm EST
Line: South Carolina -12
The South Carolina Gamecocks will do battle with the Western Michigan Broncos in early season action Monday night from the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC. The Broncos went 16-16 last season and handled Siena Heights by a 103-72 score on Saturday, and the Gamecocks defeated Wofford 73-52 in their season opener and posted a 26-11 record last season.
Broncos Enter Season with High Expectations
The Western Michigan Broncos enter the season filled with high expectations and are a favorite to finish at the top of the MAC West. They hammered Siena Heights by a 103-72 score in their season-opener. Thomas Wilder led the way offensively with 16 points on 6 for 10 shooting in the win. Wilder was named to the MAC West preseason all MAC team after averaging a sizzling 19.3 points on 46% shooting last season and is one of the best players in the MAC conference. Reggie Jones chipped in with 11 points in the win. The sophomore guard averaged 9.4 points last season on 45% shooting, and should post double-digits in points this season. Brandon Johnson tallied 14 points in the season-opening win on Saturday and should also see an increase in production after averaging eight points last year. The Broncos did lose Tucker Haymond who averaged 14.8 points last season, however, depth is not an issue and they return an abundance of experience.
The Broncos were voted to finish in first place in the MAC West in the preseason coaches and media poll. They scored an average of 75.5 points per game last season, ranking them 118th overall. Western Michigan allowed an average of 75.2 points last year, placing them 255th overall.
Gamecocks in Transitional Year
The South Carolina Gamecocks are expected to regress this season after reaching the Final Four last season behind outstanding defensive play. They lost three of their top four scorers which included Sindarius Thornwell. They faced an easy opponent in their season opener, cruising to a 73-52 win over Wofford on Friday night. Chris Silva came one point short of a double-double in the win, netting nine points along with ten rebounds. The Gamecocks will be leaning on Silva to have a big season offensively. The 6-foot-9 junior forward averaged 10.2 points along with 6.1 rebounds per game last season. Maik Kotsar led the offensive charge in the season-opener, sinking 13 points on a solid 5 for 10 mark from the field. The Gamecocks will need the sophomore forward to step up offensively after averaging 5.8 points last year. South Carolina brought in Wesley Myers on a transfer from Maine in the offseason. The senior guard averaged a terrific 16.9 points last season and should help fill the scoring void.
The Gamecocks were selected to finish 11th out of the 14 teams in the SEC in the preseason media poll. Last season they scored an average of 73.2 points per game, ranking them 179th overall. They allowed an average of 65.2 points, good for 32nd in the Country.
The Western Michigan Broncos are:
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are:
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite.
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games after winning by at least 20 points in their previous game.
I am taking the points with Western Michigan in this contest. South Carolina lost three of their top four scorers from last season, and they are facing a strong Broncos team poised to be one of the best teams in the MAC. They return Thomas Wilder who averaged over 19 points last season and feature strong scoring depth. This is a high spread and Western Michigan has enough depth to keep this one close against a Gamecocks team in a transitional year.