Illinois State Redbirds (0-1 SU, 0-0 ATS)
vs South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
When: Thursday, Nov 16th, 11:30 AM ET
Line: S Carolina -10
TV/Live Stream: ESPN2, WatchESPN
The Puerto Rico Tip-off tournament begins with Illinois State against South Carolina on Thursday morning. Since Puerto Rico is continuing to recover from hurricanes earlier in the fall, the tourney has been moved to Conway, South Carolina. This is huge boost for the Gamecocks who are obviously from the area. Last year’s Final Four team has won their first two games of the season.
Redbirds overwhelmed inside against the Eagles
It wasn’t a good start for Illinois State this season as they dropped a high-scoring affair to Florida Gulf Coast, 98-87. FGCU won the Atlantic Sun Conference last season, so these first two games for the Redbirds are pretty tough. They played with them making 50.9 percent of their shots and connecting on 14-of-29 3-pointers. However, the biggest difference that couldn’t be avoided was being doubled up in rebounding, 48-24. That led to committing 26 personal fouls and never really having a chance to compete inside.
Junior froward Milik Yarbrough, who is listed at 6-foot-6, will need to be a leader in the frontcourt. He was the best overall player in the loss with eight points, eight rebounds, and he had a passing ratio of 10 assists to 4 turnovers. Not only will he need to grab more boards against South Carolina, but he’ll need a lot more help around him.
Gravett is perfect from downtown and charity stripe
South Carolina picked up right where they left off last season by decimating their first two opponents. The latest victim was Western Michigan, a team they beat by a 78-60 margin. They owned a nine-point lead at halftime and held the offense to just a 36.2 percent clip from the field — and making just 5-of-21 3-pointers. For them, they owned the glass with a 46-32 advantage in rebounding and overcame their 14 turnovers.
It was an extremely balanced offensive attack with four starters reaching double figures and no one getting more than 15 points. Those 15 were hoisted up by junior guard Hassani Gravett. He hit 4-of-5 attempts and all three 3-point shots while also making all four free throws. He certainly stepped up from the opener where he hit just 2-of-7 attempts.
Illinois St is:
- 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against teams with a winning record
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog of 7-12.5 points
S Carolina is:
- 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- 35-17-1 ATS in their last 53 neutral site games
With how much the Redbirds got owned on the glass against FGCU, it’s not going to be pretty in the Puerto Rico Tip-off opener. The Gamecocks will roll by a large margin again.