South Carolina pulled away in the second half against Florida International yesterday to give Frank Martin the victory in his return to his alma mater.
There are two SEC games on the Tuesday slate, with both potentially offering more intrigue than meets the eye.
My predictions record continues to look decent for now, but some great matchups the rest of the week could make things more difficult.
As always, my predictions are based on team analysis and who I think will win. Score projections are purely for fun.
Let’s get to the picks.
Season Predictions Record (straight up): 69-11
South Dakota State at Ole Miss – 8 PM EST, SEC Network+
This is not your typical non-conference game for Ole Miss, as the Jackrabbits boast one of the best scorers in all of college basketball.
Junior forward Mike Daum, who finished second in the nation last year in scoring 25.3 points per game, is once again off to a fast start. He’s putting up 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest and has already had a 30-plus point outing in scoring 34 against Buffalo.
But this isn’t a team that has Daum and nothing else. South Dakota State goes nine deep and currently ranks 40th nationally in shooting 40.9 percent from the 3-point line. The Jackrabbits also get to the free-throw line a ton in ranking second in free throw’s made and fourth in overall attempts.
This team has already played at Kansas this season, so it knows what it’s like to play a tough team on the road.
As for the Rebels, guard play continues to drive Andy Kennedy’s squad, with the top five scorers all being guards. That stellar backcourt has been effective in taking care of the ball and playing good defense on the perimeter, which will both be key to Ole Miss’ success this season.
The Rebels certainly can’t overlook this game, but I think they’ve been tested enough thus far to be ready for the challenge of slowing down Daum and company.
Prediction: Ole Miss 84, South Dakota State 76
Radford at Vanderbilt – 8 PM EST, SEC Network
While the Commodores sport the SEC’s worst record at the moment, the level of competition has been pretty stout in already playing three KenPom Top 25 teams in USC, Virginia, and Seton Hall.
And with Kansas State, Middle Tennessee, Arizona State, and TCU still on the non-conference schedule, it seems likely that Bryce Drew’s team will one again play one of the toughest schedules in the country.
But while Radford fields a solid team that does a good job of slowing the tempo and taking care of the ball, what it doesn’t do well is defend the three.
The Highlanders have given up at least seven 3-pointers in each of their five games this season, with three teams hitting 11 or more. And although the Commodores have struggled mightily in shooting the ball away from home, they’re averaging nine 3-pointers a game at Memorial Gym.
Of course, Radford shoots the ball well itself and is ranked 95th nationally in shooting 37.5 percent.
However, Vanderbilt is the better overall team, and I think it finds enough of a rhythm on offense to score the victory.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 76, Radford 64
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