How to Bet the Charleston Classic: Bracket, Preview, Odds, Picks & Predictions
Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Cattoor (Virginia Tech)
The Charleston Classic begins on Thursday as one of the first MTE’s of the year. The college basketball schedule gods have also been kind enough to bless us with what we all so desperately crave: daytime hoops.
The field is an even mix of both Power Five and mid-major programs.
When comparing team rankings (via KenPom), Virginia Tech leads the way at 20th.
Meanwhile, the host school, Charleston, is currently last (188th).
I don’t see this event playing out in order of rankings, though. In fact, I think we can see some serious upsets in Charleston this week.
Let’s take a look at the full bracket, odds and every first-round matchup on Thursday.
2022 Charleston Classic Bracket
Photo from Charleston Classic Twitter
2022 Charleston Classic Odds
Furman vs. Penn State
The Paladins took care of business against Belmont, but their matchup against Penn State will be a much bigger challenge.
While they are just over 200 miles away from their home court and may have a decent crowd of supporters, nothing is quite the same as being home.
Furman’s offense looked impressive against the Bruins, as it hit 58.3% from the floor and was better than 40% from beyond the arc.
However, the Paladins struggled with turnovers, giving up 16 that led to 15 points for Belmont. Their defense struggled as well, but seemed to improve in the second half, allowing them to pull away from the Bruins.
The Nittany Lions are one of the most experienced teams in all of college basketball, which could play a factor against both Furman and the rest of the field in this tournament.
Penn State made quick work of its first two opponents in Winthrop and Loyola MD, but things weren’t as easy the last time out against Butler. The Nittany Lions came away with the win in the end, but struggled to score early on and had issues with turnovers and fouls.
Thankfully, Jalen Pickett (second triple-double in program history) was there to keep their undefeated record intact.
Furman vs. Penn State Lean
Furman isn’t necessarily a run-and-gun team, but it does move quicker than most on the offensive end. Not to mention, the team is stacked with elite scorers.
The only problem for the Paladins is so are the Nittany Lions. PSU is also a more experienced team and miles ahead of Furman on the defensive end.
The Paladins’ path to victory in game one lies with their shooting and rebounding. Penn State has struggled to create second-chance opportunities, and few teams have the ability to keep up with Penn State’s scoring like the Paladins do.
However, Furman has struggled to defend the 3-point arc, an area in which Penn State has been top-20 in the nation in through its first three games.
I’d look to the over in this one and stay away from a side altogether.
Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech
Three games into the season and I’m still not sure how I feel about this Monarchs team. They’ve posted two wins, one against a D-II program and the other against one of the bottom-50 teams in the country in Maryland Eastern Shore.
They came up short in their first challenge against Drexel on the road despite making a late push.
The Monarchs lost that game despite scoring more points in the paint, leading the Dragons in offensive rebounds and not giving up a single field goal in the last five minutes of the game.
Old Dominion simply can’t score. It’s one of the worst when it comes to effective field goal percentage and it rarely even attempt 3s.
On paper, the Hokies look like one of the best offensive teams in all of college basketball.
Does that have to do with their first three games coming against teams ranked 275th or worse via KenPom? Absolutely.
However, there is something to be said about the amount of shots Virginia Tech is taking and how well it’s moving the ball. The Hokies have taken more than 50 field goal attempts in every game, while also recording 15 or more assists as a team in each matchup.
They do still, however, continue to be one of the slowest-paced teams in college basketball. And while I do expect those attempts to go down, it’s something to take note of against a Monarchs team that struggles to score period.
Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech Lean
At face value, it’s easy to just assume this is going to be a Virginia Tech blowout, but I’m not so sure that will be the case.
First of all, these teams own two of the slowest tempo’s in all of college basketball. And while Virginia Tech has shot the ball well year in and year out, this is one of the least experienced teams it’s had in some time.
Not to mention, the Hokies haven’t played anyone inside the top 250 yet.
Old Dominion hasn’t show much success when it comes to defending on the perimeter, and that could very well turn this into a blowout. But even if that’s the case, I think that only leans more to an under here.
Colorado State vs. South Carolina
The Rams may be 3-0 on the season, but things were a shaky — to say the least — at the start. Colorado State needed a last-second shot to win 65-63 over Gardner-Webb. It followed that up by edging out SE Louisiana 80-69, but still failed to cover the spread.
I’d like to point out that I think those two teams (Gardner-Webb, SE Louisiana) are two of the most underrated in college basketball right now, but nevertheless, the Rams seemed much more consistent against Weber State last time out.
Through three games, the Rams have been shooting well and they’re playing solid defense, but they’re far from perfect. The good news is most of their issues seem to be due to a lack of experience and youth.
Colorado State has struggled with turnovers, and while it’s been great at getting defensive rebounds, it’s one of the worst on the offensive glass.
Most of the preseason confidence in Columbia disappeared after the Gamecocks struggled against South Carolina State in their first game.
But as quickly as it left, the optimism came right back following their comeback win over Clemson.
South Carolina is not an offensively stout team — and it’s not going to be this season. The Gamecocks rely heavily on their defense.
Unfortunately, that defense has struggled on the perimeter, something they’ll need to improve upon against the Rams, who have been shooting lights out from deep so far this season.
Colorado State vs. South Carolina Lean
South Carolina has a great defense, and I think it’ll limit the Rams in some capacity. But it won’t be enough to come away with the win in this one.
Colorado State’s offense is far and away better than the Gamecocks’. Plus, the Rams’ defense should do enough to get them a convincing win here.
Back the Rams as high as a four-point favorite in this one.
Davidson vs. Charleston
The Wildcats have yet to lose a game — they’re taking a ton of shots and making most of them.
Led by one of the best scorers in the A-10 in Foster Loyer, Davidson doesn’t seem to have missed a beat under new head coach Matt McKillop, a longtime assistant and the son of former head coach Bob McKillop.
But the Wildcats aren’t winning games by as much as they should be.
The Wildcats’ defense has been concerning — to say the least. Against Wright State, they gave up 97 points and needed two overtimes to come away with the win.
Following that, VMI — which ranks outside the top 250 at both ends of the court — kept it close against Davidson nearly the whole way before falling just short.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I love the Charleston Cougars. Charleston plays at a top-10 tempo in the country, and I’ll be shocked if it isn’t No. 1 when its all said and done.
The Cougars play selfless basketball, with nine different players averaging more than six points per game. They have proven they can keep up with the best, giving North Carolina all it could handle in their second game of the season.
The only issue: they’re a completely different team at the other end of the court. Charleston can only win games as long as its shots are falling, since the defense has been abysmal.
The Cougars’ one bright spot on that end of the floor is their ability to steal the ball and create turnovers.
Davidson vs. Charleston Lean
I’ll be betting Charleston overs until the cows come home all season. In this game, I would feel comfortable if it surpasses any number 155 or better.
And while I don’t think you can go wrong with the over, I think we may get Charleston at price that’s too good to pass up here.
Be on the lookout for Charleston at +5 or better. I’ll be interested in the host team to both cover the spread and pull off the win.
Charleston Classic Futures Pick
Both Davidson and Charleston are tied — along with three other schools — for the most appearances in this tournament. Neither has ever won the event, though.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has only participated in the tournament once before, when it won it in 2018.
Virginia Tech is the best team in the bracket, but every other team in the field is better than the three programs the Hokies have beaten so far this season. The Hokies have yet to be tested, and I don’t think they have a favorable draw.
However, not only do I think the host Charleston has a favorable draw, I think it’s a much better team than people are giving it credit for. I will definitely be taking a flyer on the Cougars to win their home MTE for the first time ever.
On the other side of the bracket, I’d go with Furman. I think Furman has the potential to upset either Virginia Tech or Penn State.