Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#695 Cleveland State vs.
#696 South Carolina
Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#695 Cleveland State University
#696 University of South Carolina
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The South Carolina Gamecocks will host the Cleveland State Vikings in early season non-conference play Friday night from the Colonial Life Arena. Cleveland State finished with a poor 10-12 record last season and were routed 75-53 by Missouri State on Tuesday night. South Carolina posted a 16-16 record last year and crushed Wyoming 66-32 in their latest action.

Cleveland State Falls to 0-2 on the Road

The Cleveland State Vikings are a rebuilding squad that will have their struggles this season. They were handed two blowout defeats already which both took place on the road. The Vikings lost 85-50 to Minnesota, and 73-53 against Missouri State, while their lone win occurred against Division II Edinboro. The Vikings lost four of last year’s top five scorers.

A freshman in Hugo Ferreira has led the way offensively through the first three games. The guard out of Portugal was able to score 13 points in the season-opening loss to Minnesota, and he is posting 9.7 PPG on 45% shooting.

Cleveland State also brought in Torrey Patton on a transfer over from Akron. The junior guard brings some much-needed experience to the table. He did not play last season and logged an average of 3.3 points in 2017-2018. Jaalam Hill is their leading returning scorer with 11.2 points. The senior guard did not suit up inthe first three games due to a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will play.

The Vikings were projected to finish in last place in the Horizon League preseason poll, and they are ranked 318th in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. Cleveland State is averaging 60.7 points through three games, pegging them down at 322nd in D1. They are allowing an average of 70.7 points, placing them 214th overall.

South Carolina Tips-Off Season with Two Easy Wins

The South Carolina Gamecocks have registered two blowout wins to open the season. The Gamecocks smashed North Alabama 77-55 in their home opener, and they were 17 point favorites in a dominating 66-32 home win against Wyoming in their latest action.

The Gamecocks no longer have two of their top three scorers from last season and are counting on a big season from A.J. Lawson. The sophomore guard finished second in team scoring with 13.4 PPG last season, and he has scored a combined 20 points on 5 for 15 shooting in two games this year.

Justin Minaya should also be in for a breakout season. The sophomore forward only played in five games in 2018-2019, but he averaged a solid 7.9 PPG and 4.2 rebounds per game the previous season. Minaya only scored six points on 1 for 7 shooting in Sunday’s win over Wyoming and 17 points in the opener. Coach Frank Mason brought in Jaire Bolden who logged 11.2 PPG two seasons ago over in a transfer from George Washington. The junior guard is locked in early, scoring a combined 25 points on a terrific 60% clip from the field.

The Gamecocks were predicted to finish down at 10th place in the 14-team SEC in the preseason poll, and are placed 58th overall in Ken Pomeroy's rankings. South Carolina averaged 72.7 points last year, placing them 166th overall. They conceded an average of 72.4 points, positioning them 204th overall.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I am selecting South Carolina in this one. Cleveland State is a young team that is going to have trouble winning with any consistency this season. They lost four of their top five scorers. The Vikings were demolished in their only two games against DI opponents, falling 85-50 to Minnesota, and 73-53 to Missouri State, so this spread is more than attainable for South Carolina.

Furthermore, the Gamecocks defense has completely silenced their two opponents against North Alabama and Wyoming, conceding only 55 and 32 points respectively. Cleveland State lacks any offensive firepower that will be able to solve this defense. They are shooting abysmal 38.9% from the field in three games.

Prediction: South Carolina

Full-Game Total Pick

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I recommend a play on the under when looking at the total. Cleveland State only scored 50 and 53 points respectively in their two games against DI opponents. The Vikings are a young squad and after three games they do not have a player averaging double-digits in points. The under is also 4-1 in their last five non-conference games.

In addition, South Carolina only scored 66 points against Wyoming and their pace of play is slower as they are only averaging 73 possessions per game, which places them 175th in the country.  The under is 6-0 in the Gamecocks’ last six home games, and it should cash again.

Prediction: Under

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The under on the Cleveland State team total offered on PointsBet is a good option. The Gamecocks are limiting their opponents to only 24% shooting from the field, and that is not a good sign for the Vikings who are struggling in a big way offensively. The Vikings also aren’t rebounding well which will affect their time of possession in this game.

Prediction: Cleveland State Team Total Under

Half-Time Side Pick

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I expect the Gamecocks to take command of this game early. Cleveland State has struggled in the first half where they have only averaged 22 points in their two games against DI opponents. Moreover, South Carolinas has limited its opposition to 21.5 points in the opening half, good for 8th in the country.

Prediction: South Carolina
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.