College Basketball Predictions: Belmont vs Furman Odds & Pick (Friday, Nov. 11)
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Belmont Bruins
Belmont vs Furman Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Belmont began its season against Ohio, which it played to open the season last year, as well. Last year, that game was on the road at Ohio, and the Bruins lost.
But in this year's start to the season, Belmont was able to come away with the win, barley. The Bruins led for most of the game, but in the last five minutes, Ohio went on a 15-7 run, taking the lead with one second left.
And then college basketball happened.
🚨 BELMONT (-250 ML) WINS IT AT THE BUZZER pic.twitter.com/9mUmr7Zc9l
— Action Network Colleges (@ActionColleges) November 8, 2022
The late-game collapse is far from encouraging for the Bruins, but I still believe this team is a force to be reckoned with. They'll now face a team they beat at home by six a season ago in the Furman Paladins.
Furman began its season against a D-II program in North Greenville, winning by a convincing 36 points. The Paladins are considerably ahead of Belmont in KenPom ratings (69th to Belmont's 130th). Furman was also selected in the preseason coaches poll to win the SoCon.
Can the Paladins avenge last season's loss to the Bruins and log a 2-0 start at home before they head to the Charleston Classic?
While it was only one game, there were some significant takeaways from Belmont's first game against Ohio — outside of its obvious late-game collapse that nearly cost it the game.
First and foremost being that Belmont was without expected starting point guard Keishawn Davidson, as well as EJ Bellinger and Frank Jakubicek, both of which were expected to be important role players off the bench.
No timetable was given for Davidson — who was in a sling — and I haven't been able to find any info on Bellinger or Jakubicek, so watch for info/updates on the three heading into this game.
Belmont is still solid without them, but having any of the three greatly improves its position against Furman.
In their absence, Ja'Kobi Gillespie came up huge for Belmont on the defensive end, while Ben Sheppard made his way to the top of the box score, going off for 18 points against Ohio.
The most concerning part of the Bruins' game against Ohio was their perimeter defense — Ohio hit 45% from beyond the arc, a major factor in the lead it jumped out to early.
The good news for Belmont is despite playing a D-II opponent, the Paladins struggled from deep, hitting just 5-of-25 attempts.
There isn't as much to take away from the Paladins' first game — given the competition they faced. But what we do know is that two of the best players in the SoCon in Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell seem to have picked up right where they left off a season ago.
The duo combined for 33 points in game one, while six different Paladins scored in double figures and three of those shot better than 60% from the floor.
Again though, they played a Division II team, and the issues they had against North Greenville say a lot more about the Paladins than the success they had.
North Greenville came down with 34 rebounds against the Paladins, outperforming them 10-6 when it comes to offensive rebounds.
This could be an even bigger issue against a Belmont team that ranks 67th nationally in average height.
Garrett Hien was a force in the paint, coming down with 12 rebounds. Unfortunately, he also racked up five fouls doing so.
Belmont didn't shoot the ball great from deep — or at the line — against Ohio, two areas the Bruins are usually among the best. I think that will improve as the season continues and if it does quickly against Furman, that could spell trouble for the Paladins.
Belmont vs. Furman Betting Pick
The Paladins took care of business against a D-II school in game one, but the loss of their two best 3-point shooters from a season ago seems to have been the problem it was expected to be. That's an even bigger issue when you factor in their lack of height and interior presence on the team.
Belmont is a young team, but the performance of Sheppard against Ohio confirms he's the player the Bruins expected him to be.
Belmont has struggled in the past with turnovers, and Sheppard will need to be better when it comes to ball security after turning it over five times in the first game.
But I think Belmont's interior presence gives it an advantage in this game that can help it, at the very least, keep it close against the Paladins. These two are consistently among the ranks of the best mid-majors year in and year out. This should be a great game and one I would make appointment viewing.
No line is out yet, but I would feel comfortable taking the Bruins at any number +8 or better.