Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#611 Georgia State 142.5 vs.
#612 Charleston -5.5
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#611 Georgia State University
#612 College of Charleston
1-0
1-0
16-15-2
14-17-1
16-17
16-16
76
74
73
68

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The Georgia State Panthers will travel to TD Arena on Saturday afternoon as they prepare for an early-season non-conference showdown against the Charleston Cougars.

Both of these programs lost high-profile players to the professional ranks but it’s the Panthers who experienced the most turnover during the offseason. With former head coach Ron Hunter out of the picture and star guard D’Marcus Simonds gone, first-year head coach Rob Lanier has big shoes to fill with an inexperienced roster. Can the Panthers stun Charleston on the road at TD Arena on Saturday?

Panthers prepare for first test of Lanier-era

Georgia State lost its head coach, its best player, and its top-four scorers in the offseason, so it’s going to be hard to ask Lanier to replicate the program’s recent success. Lanier hasn’t been a head coach since he was at the helm of the Sienna basketball program in 2005 but he’s spent time as an associate head coach at esteemed programs like Tennessee, Texas, and Florida.

The Panthers won their first game of the season on Wednesday, defeating Brewton Parker 104-35. Senior Damon Wilson scored a team-high 22 points to lead five Panthers’ players in double-figures on the night while sophomore Nelson Phillips added 17 off the bench in the tune-up for Georgia State.

The biggest newcomer for the Panthers will be three-star freshman Jalen Thomas, who should be a valuable contributor for this group. However, he’s not the kind of star that will immediately be able to replace the production from last year’s group. If the first game was any indication, that is going to be a collective effort, which starts from beyond the 3-point line. Georgia State shot 14-for-28 from deep in their season-opener and five different players attempted at least three 3-pointers.

Riller leads Charleston to first win of the season

Charleston has won at least 24 games in each of the last three seasons but they will have to replace one of the best players in program history. It will be tough for Charleston to fill the shoes of forward Jarrell Brantley, who was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft. Still, the Cougars come into the season with high expectations.

Led by CAA Preseason Player of the Year Grant Riller, Charleston was picked to finish second in the preseason media polls. Riller returns for his senior year after scoring 21.9 points and handing out 4.1 assists per game last season. The 6-foot-3 guard saw his efficiency from beyond the arc dip though, as he shot only 32.9 percent from 3-point range as a junior after hitting 39.4 percent of his attempts the year prior.

Riller wasted no time in getting the ball rolling in Charleston’s first game of the season against USC Upstate, scoring 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals to lead the Cougars to a 74-55 win. Junior Brevin Galloway scored 10 points while Sam Miller came off the bench to add eight points and 14 rebounds for Charleston, which won handily despite shooting only 3-for-18 from beyond the arc. Outside of Riller (2-for-3 3PA), the rest of Cougars made just one of their 16 3-point attempts (6.7 percent).

Charleston will have several chances to notch quality wins during their tough non-conference schedule, which features five Tier-B games, according to KenPom.com. Two of those games will come at home, including next Wednesday’s clash versus Oklahoma State.

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Georgia State lost nearly all of its production from a season ago and they are going up against one of the best mid-major players in the country in Charleston’s Grant Riller. Riller has a penchant for getting to the rim and looks to be an improved 3-point shooter so far this year. Look for him wreak havoc on defense and get his on the offensive end/ Charleston has more experience and continuity, which can be an even bigger factor during these early-season games. Take the Cougars to cover the spread at home in TD Arena on Saturday afternoon. 

Prediction: Charleston Cougars

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Since coming to Charleston, Earl Grant’s teams have finished outside of the top-300 in pace in four of the last five seasons. While the Cougars play at a methodical pace, they’ve also been known to be efficient on the offensive end and that shouldn’t change with Riller back for his senior season. Perhaps the most surprising note from Georgia State’s opening season game was that the team shot 14-for-28 from 3-point range. The Panthers lost several shooters from a year ago but appear to have the green light from beyond the arc early on. That should help elevate the total in this one. Take this game to go over the projected total on Saturday afternoon. 

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.