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.
COUNT ‘EM 💪— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) November 13, 2019
👀 our 9️⃣ made 3s in our W vs. Wyoming 🏀 pic.twitter.com/yMQ38QFHkg
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.
The Cleveland State Vikings are:
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 road games.
- 12-25-1 ATS in their last 38 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against a team with a winning home record.
The top supporting trends found on Covers.com are as follows: The South Carolina Gamecocks are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games against a team with a losing road record.
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 home games.