Jacksonville State Gamecocks vs. Belmont Bruins – College Basketball, February 18, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 18, 2021 6:27 am PDT

The Gamecocks are looking to make an upset tonight against the runaway leaders Belmont. This won’t be easy, of course, as only one team has managed to dethrone the Bruins this season.

Jacksonville State has also lost their previous three games to Belmont, with the most recent defeat coming in a high-scoring battle last month. The Gamecocks will be encouraged because they led at halftime in that game, but the Bruins found another gear in the second half and ran out the eventual winners. Jacksonville State has also won on three of their previous four visits to Belmont, so there is plenty of hope for them tonight.

Despite the Bruins having a higher points average over the Gamecocks in their previous ten meetings, Jacksonville State has shot considerably better. The key to victory for them could then be retaining possession better tonight.

Gamecocks vs. Bruins Odds

Gamecocks (+12) -110
Bruins (-12) -110
Gamecocks To Win +660
Bruins To Win -800
Over 148.5 Points -110
Under 148.5 Points -110

Belmont is the overwhelming favorite to win tonight, but I did expect the betting to be slightly closer than it is here. The Bruins only won by seven in their last meeting just over a month ago, and they have only averaged two points more than the Gamecocks over the previous ten matches between them. Despite their mammoth points total in that game, I believe the total set tonight is spot on for both of these teams.

Gamecocks Analysis

The Gamecocks come into this game in excellent form, having won their previous four matches in a row. However, they should be cautious as the last time that happened this season; they lost their next game against second-placed Eastern Kentucky.

They have a decent record on the road this season of 6-4 from their ten games. They have also won their last four away fixtures, which is their best run of the season by far as they had previously failed to win back-to-back games on the road.

Here are the latest betting trends for Jacksonville State:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have won four of their previous five matches.
Total Seven of their last nine games have gone over the betting total.
SU Jacksonville State is 6-12 in their previous 18 matches against Belmont.
ATS The Gamecocks have won four of their last five games on the road.
Total Only two of their last six games played in February have failed to go over the points total.

The Gamecocks have a good offense that would match up to most OTHER teams in the Conference. They haven’t performed quite as well on the road this season, averaging four fewer points per game.

They retain possession well and play an intelligent basketball style that isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea but is effective.

Their defense is also decent but perhaps sits off of their opponents a little too often at times. This means that they don’t make many steals which hasn’t been too much of an issue for them as they tend to have the lion’s share of the ball most games. They are well-disciplined, but you do feel that they lack aggression at times which could help see them over the line more in those close-fought matches.

They have the best rebounding unit in the Conference and are good at both ends of the court, helping them be a better well-rounded team.

When I look at the Gamecocks, on the whole, they are a good team on the cusp of being great, but they aren’t quite there yet.

Senior Darian Adams leads most of the scoring charts for his team, and he uses the ball well and seldom turns it over. He enjoyed a good night in his only game against Belmont, scoring 18 points, making ten assists, and shooting at 61%. He will need something similar tonight if he is to help his team cause an upset.

Brandon Huffman has been at the heart of their defense since he joined the team last year. It’s fantastic to see him play and realize that he didn’t start playing basketball until 14. Here’s all you need to know about Huffman.

Along with Kayne Henry, these two players have collectively accounted for 42% of their team’s points this season.

The Gamecocks have no listed absentees for this matchup tonight.

Bruins Analysis

The Bruins are one of the country’s best teams right now, having won 22 of their 23 games this season. They have also won their previous 28 games against teams in the Ohio Valley Conference, which shows what an uphill battle the Gamecocks have on their hands. Belmont is looking to make it 20 wins in a row tonight as they last lost at the beginning of December last year in a monumental upset against Samford, who have only won six games all season.

They have won ten of their 11 home fixtures this season, and they are looking to make it ten wins in a row tonight. Apart from their defeat to Samford, no other team has got closer than ten points to the Bruins at home this season.

Here are the latest betting trends for Belmont:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have won four of their previous five games.
Total Eight of their last 11 games have gone over the betting total.
Total Only one of their previous six games against Jacksonville State has failed to go over the points total.
ATS The Bruins have won their last five games at home.
Total In February, their games have tended to be less high scoring as nine of the previous 13 have gone under the betting total.
Total The total has gone over in four of their last five games played on a Thursday.

The Bruins have the ninth-best offense in the country this season, mostly down to their sharpshooting field goal percentage of 51%, which is better than any NBA team this season. Their offensive rebounding stats are low, but that’s generally down to the fact that they often have nothing to rebound.

They are excellent at shooting from range, which could be the critical factor in winning this game against a team that is likely to stand off against them. They’re pretty decent from the free-throw line also, so they can score from everywhere.

The Bruins move the ball with the most remarkable ease, which amounts to them having made the highest number of assists and the lowest turnovers in the Conference.

Their defense is okay and plays similarly to their opponents tonight. When you are averaging 83 points per game, your defense doesn’t have to be much better than okay.

They have a point per game difference of 15.3, highlighting the margin of a lot of their wins this season.

One of the things I like about them most is that with all the talent they have comes hard work, which you don’t always find. They always stay focused and keep their mind on the job at hand.

Junior Nick Muszynski leads most of the Bruins’ scoring stats this season, and he has undoubtedly been unstoppable at times.

However, Grayson Murphy is often the player that makes them tick and is one of the most well-rounded players in the Conference, if not the country.

The Bruins also have no players missing for tonight’s match.

Gamecocks vs. Bruins Betting Pick

This should be a cracker, just as their previous meeting was last month. I believe the Bruins will win, but I’m undecided about whether they can cover the handicap. What I’m not undecided on is the fact that there should be plenty of points on offer tonight. These are two accurate shooting teams, and I think they will push each other on as they did last time out. They also have a combined scoring average of 157 points per game this season.

Pick
  • Over 148.5 Points
    -110

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