Winthrop vs. Longwood Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet the Big South Conference Championship
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Cory Hightower (Winthrop)
Winthrop vs. Longwood Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
If you haven’t been tuned into the Big South Tournament, you’ve been missing out.
Only two of the 10 games have been comfortable victories. Four separate games have gone to overtime (one to double overtime). Also, the shot-making has been far above what one might expect from a league like the Big South.
It comes down to one last game at Bojangles Coliseum. If the previous rounds have been any indication, we can expect a scintillating finale to a terrific tournament.
The Eagles are the reigning Big South Tournament champions and were the preseason favorite in the conference. They came up a game short in the regular season, but they ooze talent and are surging at the right time.
Early on, it appeared that Winthrop had some hiccups adjusting to a new coach and a remade roster. First-year boss Mark Prosser has his team playing a similar style to the departed Pat Kelsey, but it’s understandable that it took some time to coalesce.
And coalesce it has! Winthrop has won 10 straight games, using a deadly offense and deep bench to overwhelm its Big South foes.
It starts with D.J. Burns, the league Player of the Year. A 275-pound monster, the lefty post man is impossible to handle in single coverage. That forces double-teams, and his passing has improved to the point of being a legitimate weapon.
Prosser floods the court with shooters around his monstrous big man, posing major issues to opposing defenses.
Of course, Burns only plays about half of the game, which should tell you how impactful he is to win POY in limited minutes.
When he’s off the floor, Winthrop can go five out and spread the floor, offering an entirely different look that poses problems for opponents. Prosser goes nine deep, and all nine players can carry the offense for small stretches.
For a team that went 15-1 in the regular season, the Lancers have really squeaked by to reach the final. They survived a game against a North Carolina A&T squad in the quarterfinals, benefitting from two missed free throws by the Aggies in a tie game with 12 seconds left.
Then, a couple clutch shots against USC Upstate made the final margin seem far more comfortable than the game was. In fact, Longwood trailed by 16 early on in that matchup.
That has been the Lancers’ signature, though. Something of a “mid-major Providence,” Longwood is 10-0 against Big South foes in games decided by six points or less (or overtime). That speaks to both Griff Aldrich’s coaching ability and the mature patience of Longwood’s roster — especially the guards.
The trio of Justin Hill, Isaiah Wilkins and DeShaun Wade gives Longwood a trio of powerful guards, all three of whom are capable of burying 3s or bullying their way to the rim.
Elsewhere, the Lancers lack a ton of size, but their two-man center rotation of Zac Watson and Leslie Nkereuwem are hyper-active workers that crush the offensive glass.
Despite the height deficiency, Longwood is a problem in the paint, particularly against foes that do not match the effort level.
Winthrop vs. Longwood Betting Pick
This is a case of the better team (Winthrop) against a team of destiny of sorts with terrific coaching (Longwood). I have a hard time fading either side, but given the line, I like Winthrop.
Burns is a nightmare matchup for Longwood. The Lancers cannot rely on their 6-foot-7 forwards to stop him in the post, necessitating double teams and rotations. Due to foul trouble, he only played 15 minutes in the lone regular season meeting, but he racked up 10 points and three boards in that limited time.
The bigger story in the first meeting was Longwood’s scorching shooting. The Lancers were 14-for-25 (56%) from beyond the arc and 22-for-23 (96%) from the free throw line. That does not feel repeatable, even considering Longwood’s outstanding shooters.
Longwood barely won both of its tournament games thus far. Still, the Lancers’ excellent closing abilities allowed them to cover -7 in both contests. I think that gravy train runs out here.
The Lancers earning their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid would be a wonderful story. Unfortunately, Winthrop just has more weapons, size and depth. I will ride the Eagles up to -3.
Pick: Winthrop -1 (Play to -3)
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