NCAAB Odds, Pick for Furman vs Liberty
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images. Pictured: JP Pegues (Furman)
Furman vs Liberty Odds, Pick
The Myrtle Beach Invitational begins on Thursday, and two of the best mid-majors in the sport — the Furman Paladins and Liberty Flames — look to mosey on into the winner's bracket.
Below are college basketball odds and a pick for Furman vs. Liberty on Thursday, Nov. 16.
It took a while, but Furman finally got over the hump to reach the NCAA tournament. It even miraculously won a game against Virginia.
The Paladins will look to keep the momentum trending in the right direction.
Furman didn't show signs of rust, as it rattled off 99 points in last week's victory over Belmont, covering the 7.5 spread with ease.
Since Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell both departed following the season, Furman lost abundant talent. That means JP Pegues adopted the difficult task of being "the guy."
So far, the results have been positive. Pegues scored 23 points with nine rebounds and nine dimes in the season-opener against Belmont.
However, facing the vaunted Liberty pack-line defense, Pegues may have to help the shooters get good looks.
Another valuable player for Furman is senior Marcus Foster. He's attempting 14.5 shots in two games, compared to 8.5 when he was the fourth option in the Dins' offense. Now he's an integral player whom Furman needs to score.
His shooting is the difference-maker. When Foster is connecting on shots from deep, it helps open his ability to attack the rim on drives and helps him become a complete offensive piece.
Additionally, freshman big man Cooper Bowser has impressed in his limited opportunities. Coach Bob Richey could incorporate Bowser into the game plan more against the Flames. The 6-foot-11 athletic big scored double-digit points in his first two collegiate games.
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Driving on Liberty is tough. The Flames limited Charlotte to 59 points last week in their victory, despite having an overwhelming size disadvantage.
The Flames love to catch fire from deep, shooting 45% from 3 on 57 attempts this season. Brody Peebles, Kaden Metheny and Colin Porter all have the potency to hit on four or five trifectas in a single game.
One name I have yet to mention is veteran forward Kyle Rode. He's fully entrenched as Liberty's go-to offensive option, scoring 16.5 points per game in two outings. Rode offers versatility as a ball-handler with size and has the capability to put the ball on the deck and shoot.
Shiloh Robinson and Joseph Venzant figure to play massive roles on the glass in this one. Venzant, a physical wing, and Robinson, a smaller five, are the team's top two rebounders, and they need to keep Furman from getting extra shots while the defense is disjointed.
The Paladins' best chance to win is scoring when Liberty can't get into its pack-line formation. Running off a Liberty missed 3 could greatly benefit Coach Richey's crew — and it's the tempo Furman prefers to play.
Furman vs. Liberty
Betting Pick & Prediction
Picking a side in a game with contrasting tempos is always a difficult task. That's the case here, as Furman ranks top-90 in Adjusted Efficiency while Liberty is in the 350 range nationally, per KenPom.
Both teams boast two of the more well-regarded coaches in mid-major hoops — one youngster in Coach Richey at Furman and the elder statesman in Coach Ritchie McKay at Liberty. There's no coaching angle to delve into here, although Furman did play against Virginia's pack line in the NCAA tournament.
It depends on which team can dictate the tempo early in this game. Liberty's formula isn't conducive to chopping down a large deficit. Liberty wants to run the clock and hopefully end the possession with three more points.
My pick here is to back McKay and Liberty, as this scheme is sometimes tough to play against for up-tempo teams. Thats even more so the case when the team is shooting 30% from 3.