Charleston Cougars (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 1-1 O/U) at Charlotte 49ers (1-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, 0-1 O/U)
Line: Charleston -4.5
Charleston won their first game in overtime over Siena (68-60) but was then blasted at Wichita State, 81-63 on the road. Charlotte beat Methodist (83-65) before falling at Oklahoma State, 83-65. These teams faced each other in 2014, with Charlotte winning in overtime, 90-85 at home.
Cougars miss Brantley
Charleston probably wasn’t beating Wichita State with junior big man Jarrell Brantley (6-7, 250). Without their injured star big man, the Cougars were destroyed by 18 on the road against a very good Shockers team. They held Charleston to just 37.3 percent shooting and 5-of-20 from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Grant Riller led the way with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while senior point guards Joe Chealey, added 17 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Chealey is the CAA Preseason Player of the Year, who averaged 17.8 points and 3.2 assists, while shooting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Brantley averaged 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds, while making 31 3-pointers last season. He’ll miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury but should return for conference play. The Branley out, the Cougars are turning to 6-7, 215-pound Jaylen McManus at power forward. Another key player with Brantley out is Osinachi Smart (6-8, 235), a redshirt freshman from Nigeria who sat out last season.
Are the 49ers ready for the turnaround?
Is this the year for the Charlotte turnaround? The 49ers have not won over 20 games in five seasons. Mark Price is now 27-36 and with four returning starters, this could be the season after they went 13-17 last season. In their loss at Oklahoma State, the 49ers shot just 34.6 percent from the floor and never really had a chance against the Cowboys, after getting down by 21 at the half. Junior guard Andrien White led Charlotte with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while junior Jon Davis added 15 points on 11-of-12 from the line. There was no help for Davis and White as the other three starters scored four points apiece.
Davis (19.6ppg, 4.2apg) could be the best point guard in Conference USA this season. White (11.3ppg, 4.0rpg) struggled last season after breaking his foot in the preseason. Austin Ajukwa struggled in that Oklahoma State game (4pt, 1-5 FG), but the expectations for the 6-7 senior are high. He averaged 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds last season after becoming eligible before Christmas as a transfer from Clemson.
- 8-2-1 ATS last 11 Saturday games.
- 8-3-1 ATS last 12 after an ATS loss.
- 0-4 ATS last 4 Saturday games.
- 0-5 ATS last 5 non-conference games.
Even though Brantley isn’t playing, the Cougars have the advantage in the backcourt. Chealey, Riller and Cameron Johnson are outstanding guards, who can control the tempo.