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Baylor vs. South Carolina - 3/24/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

South Carolina Gamecocks (24-10) at Baylor Bears (27-7)

College Basketball: Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:29 pm (Madison Square Garden)

The Line: Baylor Bears -3.5 -- Over/Under: 137 See the Latest Odds

TV: TBS

The South Carolina Gamecocks and Baylor Bears face off in the Sweet 16 this Friday night at Madison Square Garden in College Basketball action.

The 7-seed South Carolina Gamecocks gave the hometown a treat after an impressive offensive 2nd half gave South Carolina an 88-81 victory over the 2-seed Duke Blue Devils on Sunday night. South Carolina went into halftime down by a 31-24 margin at halftime but scored 65 points in the 2nd half and pulled away after taking a 68-58 lead with 5:23 left in regulation. South Carolina shot 42.9% from the field, 31.8% (7-22) from beyond the arc, and 84.4% (27-32) from the FT-Line in the victory. Leading the way for the Gamecocks was Sindarius Thornwell who had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal. On the season, South Carolina is averaging 73.1 ppg on 41.8% shooting from the field. The Gamecocks are averaging 6.8 three-pointers per game on 33.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, South Carolina has been led by Sindarius Thornwell (21.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 apg), PJ Dozier (13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.7 spg), Duane Notice (10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.1 spg), and Chris Silva (10.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg). Defensively, South Carolina is holding their opponents to an average of 65.2 ppg on 40.0% shooting from the field. The Gamecocks have a rebound margin of 1.1 and a turnover margin of 4.1.

Baylor vs. South Carolina - 3/24/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The 3-seed Baylor Bears advanced to the Sweet 16 after defeating the 11-seed USC Trojans, 82-78, on Sunday night. Baylor held a 10-point lead late in the 1st half, however, needed a 11-5 run late in the game to hold off the Trojans after USC stormed back to tie the game with just 5:13 remaining. Baylor shot 50.8% from the field and outrebounded USC by a 34-23 margin in the victory. Leading the way for the Bears was Johnathan Motley who had a double-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, and a steal. On the season, Baylor is averaging 73.5 ppg on 47.6% shooting from the field. The Bears are averaging 6.7 three-pointers per game on 36.1% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Baylor has been led by Johnathan Motley (17.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 bpg), Manu Lecomte (12.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.9 apg), Al Freeman (9.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.2 apg), and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (9.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg). Defensively, Baylor is holding their opponents to an average of 63.5 ppg on 40.4% shooting from the field. The Bears have a rebound margin of 9.1 and a turnover margin of -2.1.

The Gamecocks are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games as an underdog and 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. The Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Friday games and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.

The South Carolina Gamecocks came into the NCAA Tournament losing 5 of their last 7 games however, the game Gamecocks put on a show in front of the home crowd over the weekend with their wins over Marquette and Duke and come into their 1st ever Sweet 16 ranked 32nd in scoring defense, 18th in defensive FG%, and 6th in turnover margin. Baylor has won 4 of their last 5 games and also have one of the better defenses left in the NCAA Tournament as the Bears rank 21st in scoring defense, 2nd in rebound margin, and 22nd in defensive FG%. South Carolina was a great story this past weekend, however, as I don’t see the Gamecocks coming anywhere close to repeating their offensive performance that we saw in the 2nd half of the Duke game, I think Baylor covering this small spread is the play here. Take Baylor to cover. 

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