Charleston Cougars (26-7) at Auburn Tigers (25-7)
College Basketball: Friday, March 16, 2018 at 7:30pm (Viejas Arena)
The Line: Auburn Tigers -10.5 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Charleston Cougars and Auburn Tigers will square off at Viejas Arena this Friday night in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Charleston Cougars (26-7; 14-4 CAA) earned the 13-seed in the Midwest Region after winning the CAA Championship by defeating the Northeastern Huskies, 83-76 in OT, this past Tuesday. Charleston trailed by a 36-23 margin at halftime, however, forced overtime after a Joe Chealey made a layup with just 12 seconds left in regulation and pulled away early in the OT period after taking a 77-71 lead with just 1:35 remaining. Charleston shot 46.6% from the field and forced Northeastern into committing 20 turnovers in the victory. Leading the way for the Cougars was Joe Chealey who had 32 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and a steal. On the season, Charleston is averaging 75.1 ppg on 46.0% shooting from the field. The Cougars are averaging 7.7 three-pointers per game on 36.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Charleston has been led by Grant Riller (18.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.3 spg), Joe Chealey (18.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.6 apg), Jarrell Brantley (17.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 spg), and Cameron Johnson (8.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.8 apg). Defensively, Charleston is holding their opponents to an average of 68.8 ppg on 43.5% shooting from the field. The Cougars have a rebound margin of -0.7 and a turnover margin of 2.2.
The Auburn Tigers (25-7; 13-5 SEC) won the regular season SEC title and although they couldn’t walk away with the SEC Championship, the selection committee rewards the Tigers with a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn was bounced early in the SEC Men’s Tournament after the Alabama Crimson Tide upset Auburn by an 81-63 margin in the quarterfinals last Friday. Auburn led by a 41-31 margin at halftime however, struggled on both ends of the court in the 2nd half and couldn’t fight back after Alabama took a 66-48 lead with 8:14 left in regulation. Auburn allowed Alabama to shoot 50.0% from the field while shooting just 32.3% from the field and 24.2% (8-33) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Tigers was Desean Murray who had 15 points and 8 rebounds. On the season, Auburn is averaging 83.4 ppg on 43.9% shooting from the field. The Tigers are averaging 9.8 three-pointers per game on 36.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Auburn has been led by Mustapha Heron (16.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.2 spg), Bryce Brown (16.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg), Jared Harper (13.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.2 spg), and Desean Murray (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.8 apg). Defensively, Auburn is allowing their opponents to average 73.3 ppg on 42.5% shooting from the field. The Tigers have a rebound margin of 3.3 and a turnover margin of 3.0.
The Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win however, are just 1-4 ATS in thier last 5 games vs. SEC opponents. THe Tigers are 9-3 ATS in thier last 12 games following a ATS loss and 3-1-1 in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
Charleston came into the season as the favorites to win the CAA and the Cougars didn’t disappoint as the Cougars have won 14 of their last 15 games and currently have the 82nd ranked scoring defense in the country. Auburn has had an outstanding season and has been led by their offense that ranks 17th in scoring offense, 27th in three-pointers made per game, and 8th in FT%. Auburn is a solid team, however, the Tigers have lost 3 of their last 4 games and Charleston is an experienced team that can really get at you on the defensive end, I think Charleston will be able to do enough to cover with the points.