South Carolina vs. Auburn Odds & Picks: Can Tigers Win Big? (March 5)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Kessler.
- The South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Alabama on Saturday to take on the Auburn Tigers in college basketball action.
- Auburn has the edge over South Carolina when it comes to many key components for covering the spread.
- For that reason, Collin Wilson is betting the Tigers to run away with a big with.
South Carolina vs. Auburn Odds
|South Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Auburn has the chance to win the SEC regular-season title outright with a victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
The Tigers will enjoy their final home game after a handful of struggles on the road. Auburn has been kind to investors on its own court, going 12-2-1 against the number from Auburn Arena.
No matter if the Tigers drop this game, Bruce Pearl’s team will receive a double-bye in the SEC Tournament and project as a two-seed for the NCAA Tournament.
The path to the national championship for South Carolina goes through Tampa, as the Gamecocks will look to win four straight in the conference tournament to snag an automatic bid.
Head coach Frank Martin has coached the Gamecocks to just a 2-7 record in Quad 1 games, covering just four games away from home this season. A road win over Auburn as a double-digit underdog and a run to the SEC Championship may be enough to get South Carolina into the Big Dance.
The Gamecocks have one of the fastest offenses in the nation, ranking 34th in offensive average possession length. South Carolina has the third-highest mark in Division I in transition points with a top-20 rank in midrange jumpers.
To complement the pace, South Carolina ranks 27th in offensive rebound rate. Any defense that is not capable of defending 2-point jump shots and boxing out can have a long day against the Gamecocks.
The offense has improved over the past 30 days, per Bayesian Performance Rating, as the defense continues to rank in the middle of the conference.
Two key areas holding South Carolina back are defensive rebounding and free-throw rate. Both rank outside the top 320 nationally, allowing teams to dominate second shots and attempts from the free-throw line.
Auburn visited South Carolina on Jan. 4 and took a commanding 15-point lead by halftime, receiving 10 more free-throw attempts and finishing with plenty of high percentage shot attempts.
Zep Jasper may have logged limited minutes this season but will be the only Auburn player honored on Senior Day. There may be plenty of playing time for Jasper in the second half, as the Tigers have dominated opponents at home.
Pearl runs the offense through isolation and off-the-dribble long-distance shots. The combination of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler will put Auburn deep into the postseason.
AND. ONE. #WarEagle x @WalkerKessler13 pic.twitter.com/S3ERLAcKPp
— Auburn Basketball 🦚 (@AuburnMBB) February 26, 2022
The strength of the defense comes on the interior and is led by Smith and Kessler. Auburn has the best block rate of any team in the nation, leading to a KenPom mark of seventh in adjusted defensive efficiency.
There are not many weaknesses for the Auburn defense, but it does own ranks outside the top 100 in transition and off-screen, per ShotQuality. Any team looking to win off of shots in the paint will struggle against the Tigers.
South Carolina vs. Auburn Betting Pick
With such a large point spread in play, it’s important to look at the critical factors when a game is a projected blowout.
Free-throw rate is an underutilized statistic for predicting points hitting the board. Auburn has three players who rank in the top 500 nationally in free-throw rate, an indicator that South Carolina’s struggles with fouling will continue.
As mentioned above, South Carolina’s only go-to on offense is transition and midrange jumpers. The Auburn defense ranks fifth in the nation in defending midrange shots while ranking 108th in transition.
The Tigers should grab every rebound in the game and send plenty of shooters to the free-throw line with a second-half lead.
This game projects to a 15-point Auburn victory, per KenPom, with heavy advantages on both sides of the court.
With South Carolina sending teams to the charity stripe and Auburn dominating midrange shooting teams, taking a Tigers team that has covered all but two games at home is the side.
Pick: Auburn -15 or Better
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