How to Bet the Charleston Classic: Bracket, Preview, Picks & Predictions
Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images. Pictured: Rick Pitino (St. John’s)
The Charleston Classic has an interesting field this year. Houston headlines the bunch as the most noteworthy team in the tournament, while St. John’s, Utah and Wake Forest are a few others of note.
The Red Storm might have the most ideal setup going into the tournament, so they're a team to look out for. Houston will likely cruise through its portion of the bracket.
Either way, it's almost Feast Week, and it's always fun to kick off the holiday festivities with a great slate of games on a weekday.
Here's how to bet the Charleston Classic, including a bracket, preview, picks and predictions.
Charleston Classic Bracket
St. John's Red Storm
The Red Storm have an interesting makeup. Adding Rick Pitino as their head coach was a win-now move, as they look to compete in the 2023-2024 Big East.
The entire scope of this team looks completely different. The Storm lost the bulk of their roster, but Pitino brought in a plethora of talented transfers and newcomers.
Joel Soriano is the consistent link between this season’s and last season’s St. John’s team. He's one of the best players in the Big East. He's currently dealing with an injury, but if he's healthy, the Red Storm are incredibly underrated.
RJ Luis is also out with a hand injury, but Pitino has a number of players who can step into that starting role.
This team has a tremendous amount of length. The Red Storm can rebound from the guard position. They grabbed 43 boards in their first game against Stony Brook, including 18 on the offensive end. This is just a glimpse of how they can annoy their opponents.
Their 3-point shooting is questionable, especially without Luis in the mix. Of the group, only Sean Conway, Jenkins and Jordan Dingle shot over 35% from deep last season. 3-pointers can make or break a team, so if they have an opponent who can guard the perimeter well, they may be in trouble or have to pivot to getting the ball inside to Soriano.
North Texas Mean Green
The Mean Green lost their heart and soul Tylor Perry to the transfer portal, but they'll go into this tournament at 2-0 with wins over Northern Iowa and Omaha.
Rubin Jones now runs the point and has slotted in nicely. He can dish, as long as he can avoid costly turnovers. Aaron Scott and C.J. Noland are key scorers who should help out offensively
The Mean Green can dictate the pace and play grueling defense. At the current juncture, they rank 359th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom. They occupy 20.1 seconds per possession on offense and 18.7 seconds per possession defensively.
If they can slow down St. John’s, they can play their style and keep each game in reach.
Rebounding could be an issue in this tournament and this season. The Mean Green lost the rebounding battle to UNI, so that could be an issue in this tournament, especially against Soriano in the first round.
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Dayton lost a close contest to Northwestern in its second game of the season, which may not help it down the stretch of this tournament.
The Flyers' first game in the Charleston Classic is winnable.
They also brought back Malachi Smith and DaRon Holmes II, but Smith is out for the season with a knee injury. Losing Mustapha Amzil and Toumani Camara doesn't seem to be helping thus far, either
They have a balanced offense. Last season, the Flyers ranked 55th in effective field goal percentage with a 33.8% 3-point percentage and a 54.3% 2-point percentage. Smith shot over 38% from deep last season, so losing him hits the Flyers hard.
However, Koby Brea shot 37% and Enoch Cheeks shot 35.8% from downtown at Robert Morris.
Holmes shot 59% last season and averaged 18.4 points per game, so they have a bucket-getter in the post.
Turnovers are a major issue with this team. Without Smith at the helm, the Flyers seemed lost against Northwestern. Holmes, Cheeks, Javon Bennett and Nate Santos all had at least three turnovers.
LSU has some guys who can pickpocket the backcourt, so this could be the issue that drives Dayton to the consolation bracket.
After losing much of his starting lineup, Matt McMahon has his hands full with a new team. He brings back two forwards in Tyrell Ward and Derek Fountain, but the Tigers already lost to Nicholls State.
Forcing turnovers is going to be the key to success. They have four guys who averaged at least a steal per game last season, and this would lead them past Dayton, as mentioned above.
Both Mississippi Valley State and Nicholls State shot 40% from 3 against this Tigers team. They may be able to induce turnovers, but it won't matter if their opponent is hitting from deep range.
This is the best team in the tournament and the easy favorite.
Kelvin Sampson has his Cougars playing tough defense — as usual — even after losing Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark and Jarace Walker. They added LJ Cryer and Damian Dunn to help at the guard position.
This team held opponents to less than 28% from deep and only 43.4% on 2s last season. This will happen again against Towson and the winner of Wake Forest and Utah.
Consistent 3-point shooting could be an issue. They're shooting only 29.8% from 3-point land through two games. Cryer shot over 40% from 3 last season. Dunn shot over 34%, but in comparison to the rest of a loaded team, this is definitely the weakness.
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Towson is a good mid-major program, and it'll have its hands full with Houston in the first round of the Charleston Classic.
Losing Nicolas Timberlake and Cameron Holden dings the Tigers a bit, but they can put up a fight if they play their style.
They're used to playing slowly. They rank 361st in Adjusted Tempo this season and ranked 303rd last season. This will fare well against Houston, which also plays slowly. Could an Under be in play?
Inefficient scoring is an issue that seems to persist with this team, as it did last season. Towson is shooting 37.5% from deep, but it ranks 333rd in 3-point attempt rate.
This was the same case last season with Timberlake and Holden on the roster.
Inefficient shot selection won't work against Houston — or many teams for that matter.
Utah is 2-0 going into this tournament and ranks in the top 40 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and top 35 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
This is a major step up from last season.
Adding Lawson Lovering and Cole Bajema are nice compliments to the rotation. They can distribute, which could lead them past Wake Forest in the first round.
They had five scorers in double digits against UC Riverside, so this balance can lead them past some good teams in this field and in Pac-12 play.
They don't force turnovers. This may not come into play against Wake Forest, but if they advance to the semifinals, this will be a notable edge for Houston.
Since Utah ranked 158th in offensive turnover rate last season, this can come back to bite it if it can't keep control of the ball.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Tyree Appleby was much of the offensive production last year for Wake, and the Deacons also lost Daivien Williamson.
This team doesn't have its identity yet, and losing to Georgia doesn't bode well for it.
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This might be one of the best offenses in the field. Cameron Hildreth averaged 12.4 points per game last season. Damari Monsanto and Andrew Carr were also in the double digits, so all is not lost with Appleby no longer on the team.
Adding Hunter Sallis at guard also helps.
The Deacs shot over 36% from outside last season and 54% from inside the arc, so some of this should carry over.
Defense is a mess for this team. It ranks 123rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency compared to 39th on offense. The Deacs can't turn over opponents, and they're allowing teams to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 53.6% through two games.
Utah — and potentially Houston — would not help this cause.
Charleston Classic Betting Picks
Houston is clearly the heavy favorite, but taking St. John’s to cover in its first two games is reasonable.
Keep an eye on Soriano’s injury, but if there's a bet north of +350 to win this, St. John’s holds value.
Best of luck to the competitors!