Featured Video from Scott Steehn
Auburn vs. South Carolina
When and Where: Friday, March 15, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn., 3:30 p.m. EST.
Much like an uninvited guest, South Carolina looks to muck things up in the SEC tournament and make one last push for a NCAA Tournament spot Thursday when it faces Auburn in the quarterfinals Friday in Nashville, Tenn.
Tigers coming off workmanlike win over Mizzou
Auburn (23-9) advanced to the quarterfinals with an 81-71 victory over Missouri in the second round Thursday. Bryce Brown hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points as the Tigers won their fifth straight game overall and won an SEC tournament game for the first time since reaching the semifinals in 2015 as a No. 13 seed.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) March 14, 2019
“It definitely felt good to get our first SEC win,” Brown told The Associated Press. “It took me four years, my fourth match, my fourth year. … Me and Horace (Spencer) are going to do everything we can to make sure this team doesn’t go out on a sad note. We just want to end our senior season on a strong note.”
While the Tigers are not shooting lights-out from beyond the arc, they are hitting a high number of them on this five-game run. Auburn has hit 56 of 154 from 3-point range (36.4 percent) in this winning streak, hitting 11 or more in four games while improving to 14-5 when sinking at least 10 treys.
Brown, who cleared 100 3-pointers for the second straight season in Thursday’s victory, is 9 for 19 in the last two games after going 8 for 27 in the previous three. The senior had 17 points in Auburn’s 80-77 loss at South Carolina on Jan. 22, but the Tigers were 7 of 25 from beyond the arc.
Gamecocks a curious No. 4 seed who need to win out for NCAA bid
South Carolina (16-15) claimed the final double bye to the quarterfinals by virtue of its win over Auburn, yet unless it wins three games in three days, the NIT is its most likely destination. The Gamecocks closed the regular season with back-to-back wins over the conference’s lightweights and stifled Georgia 66-46 on Saturday.
— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) March 14, 2019
The Gamecocks needed to be good defensively since they hit only 33.9 percent of their shots, and they were, limiting the Bulldogs to 11 field goals and 26.2 percent shooting. South Carolina has also won four of the last five matchups with Auburn, with its length proving problematic for Auburn’s small guards.
“They got like short guards, a couple of guards play bigs and their bigs aren’t that tall, so I find my way to the rim,” Gamecocks forward Chris Silva told The State. “My teammates try to find me every time because of the mismatch. I try to use my athleticism, too.
“The way they play allows me to be aggressive and get open down low. And during those games, I guess my teammates pass me the ball.”
Silva is averaging team highs of 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds while also shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range. He decimated Auburn in the January win, going 11 for 12 from the field and finishing with a career-high 32 points to go with 14 rebounds.
The 6-foot-9 senior has recorded three straight double-doubles against the Tigers and has averaged 16.6 points and 8.6 rebounds on 77.1 percent shooting in five lifetime matchups.
South Carolina is:
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a straight up win.
- 18-7-1 ATS in its last 26 games vs. SEC opponents.
- 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games after holding an opponent to 50 or fewer points in the previous game.
- The over is 5-2 in its last seven games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The over is 7-3 in its last 10 games vs. Auburn.
- 0-5 ATS in its last five games vs. South Carolina.
- The favorite is 5-17 ATS in the last 22 games between the teams.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five games vs. SEC opponents.
- The over is 5-2 in its last seven games vs. above-.500 teams.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Silva and the Gamecocks have done a number on Bruce Pearl in recent matchups, and it is clearly in Pearl’s head. Consider his thoughts on South Carolina to The State on Thursday before beating Missouri:
“Frank Martin has my number, not just my phone number but my number,” Pearl said. “I think he’s won three out of the last five, something along those lines. What they do defensively bothers us. They extend. Makes it hard to run your stuff. You overplay. They’re physical, they’re tough.
Prediction: Pick: South Carolina +8
Full-Game Total Pick
Lost in Silva’s dominance and the matchup issues South Carolina creates is these teams get up and down the floor and score plenty of points. They have combined for 149 or more points in the last five matchups, and the victor has scored at least 79 in every game. This has the feel of a first to 75 game, and with the expected one or two-possession spread, that should be enough to carry the over.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 146.5 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
Taking the Gamecocks and the over makes taking the over for the Gamecocks the logical pick. They scored 80 in their win over Auburn, but the confidence in the pick comes from them doing so despite shooting just 6 of 18 from 3-point range — well off their season mark of 36.5 percent. If Silva is successful inside again, South Carolina should deliver — as well as the overall over.
Prediction: Pick: South Carolina OVER 69.5 points
Half-Time Side Pick
Auburn led by one at halftime in the lone meeting between the teams. It was one of five games against SEC rivals in which it led by four or fewer points. The Gamecocks have not been a great team outside South Carolina — they trailed by double digits in four of their conference road games — but the hedge here is they lurk just close enough to cover.
Prediction: Pick: South Carolina +4.5
Half-Time Total Bet
The teams combined for 75 points in South Carolina’s home win over Auburn, and the Gamecocks are a sneaky-good offensive team with 68 or more first-half points in 12 of their 18 SEC games. The expectation is Pearl will have his team ready for a fight in this game and it becomes an up-and-down affair to a degree.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 68 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
The Gamecocks scored 37 in the opening 20 minutes in their home win over Auburn and have scored 35 or more in the first halves of six of their last eight games. South Carolina totaled 83 points in the first halves of its last two games after being held to 50 combined in the previous two.
Prediction: Pick: South Carolina OVER 32 points