Wofford Terriers (13-7 SU, 10-5 ATS) vs. Charleston Cougars (12-6 SU, 9-3-1 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Friday, January 22, 2009, Carolina First Arena, Charleston, S.C. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wofford +1.5/Charleston -1.5
With Stephen Curry no longer at Davidson, the Southern Conference doesn’t get much publicity anymore. But the Wofford Terriers and Charleston Cougars both have had their share of national attention this season, and the two teams will face each other in a Friday night ESPN2 conference matchup.
Charleston comes into this game with a perfect 6-0 conference record. The Cougars, which have won six games in a row, haven’t lost a game since December 25 when they lost 66-63 at Western Michigan. They are undefeated at home this season with a perfect 7-0 record.
Charleston pulled off what was perhaps the upset of the season, winning at home 82-79 in overtime over North Carolina. Down 11 with four minutes left, the Cougars battled back and Andrew Goudelock, who scored the final eight points in regulation, hit a long 3-pointer to tie the game with two seconds remaining in regulation. The Cougars outscored the Tar Heels in overtime and pulled off the improbable upset.
Wofford gained a lot of national respect by playing a very tough non-conference schedule and competing in every game. The Terriers opened the season by nearly getting a win at Pittsburgh but they lost by three, 63-60. Considering Pitt is now a top 15 team in the country that would have been quite an impressive victory. The Terriers did get a road win over a BCS conference team in their next game, winning 60-57 at Georgia. After losing 56-54 in a nail-biter at Bradley, they played very well in the first half at Illinois before not being able to hold on in the second half, as the Illini won the game 78-64. On December 4, the Terriers continued their brutal schedule at Michigan State, where they played the Spartans toe-to-toe until the final couple minutes and nearly pulled off a huge upset, losing the game 72-60. On December 19, South Carolina visited Wofford and probably wished it hadn’t, as the Terriers got the victory, 68-61.
Both of these teams are playing for the second consecutive days. Both teams are coming off wins on Thursday. Wofford won its game 44-42 at Citadel after trailing 26-17 at the half. Noah Dahlman, who was the only Wofford player to score in double figures, led the team with 15 points. Tim Johnson had eight points and 12 rebounds. The Terriers managed to win the game despite shooting just 29.8 percent from the field and 2-for-12 from 3-point range. Their defense was solid, but they aren’t going to win many games shooting like that, especially on the road.
Charleston won at home on Thursday over Furman, 92-80. Goudelock scored 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting. Tony White Jr. and Willis Hall (in just 12 minutes) each scored 12 points, and Donavan Monroe and Andrew Lawrence (in just 14 minutes) each had 11 points. The Cougars were out-rebounded by 16, but they only had six turnovers and they shot 56 percent from the field and 9-for-17 from 3-point range.
Both of these teams have very similar statistics, but the one huge difference is rebounding. Charleston is one of the worst rebounding teams in the country with a -13.2 margin per game on the glass. The Cougars were out-rebounded by 20 in their win over North Carolina, but with their low turnover rate, strong shooting and solid defense, they can make up for their lack of rebounding. Wofford, meanwhile, grabs 3.2 more rebounds per game than its opponents. Wofford is shooting 34.9 percent from 3-point range, while Charleston is shooting 36 percent. The Cougars are holding their opponents to 28.6 percent from beyond the arc, while the Terriers are allowing opponents to shoot 33.2 percent.
Wofford is 4-1 ATS in its last five games at Charleston. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings between these teams and the road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight. The under is 4-1 in the last five games between Wofford and Charleston.
Ryno’s Pick: This is a huge game for Southern Conference ramifications. These two teams will be right there in the end battling it out with Western Carolina and possibly Davidson for the conference title. Charleston is undefeated and cruising through the conference schedule. After a nice win on Thursday at home, the Cougars will be relaxed for this home game. But Wofford is coming off a poor performance that still ended up as a win and now the Terriers need to win this game. They can’t afford to fall to 4-3 in the conference and be three games behind Charleston. Wofford will give a maximum effort and have a chance to grab a huge road win. Take Wofford to cover the spread.