SEC Basketball Betting Picks: Vanderbilt Commodores at South Carolina Gamecocks

Vanderbilt Commodores at South Carolina Gamecocks
Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, South Carolina
Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Vanderbilt -4
Current Line: Vanderbilt -4
Opening Total: 132
Current Total: 130 1/2
Opening Money Line: Vanderbilt -175 / South Carolina +155
Current Money Line: Vanderbilt -175 / South Carolina +155

The Vanderbilt Commodores go on the road to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks Tuesday night in SEC action. The Commodores are 4 point favorites.

Vanderbilt was a top ten team in the pre-season polls. Though at 11-4 they haven’t lived up to those lofty expectations, the Commodores are still a talented team that can compete for the SEC title. Vanderbilt won their SEC opener Saturday at home against Auburn 65-35. Now the Commodores go on the road to take on the 8-7 South Carolina Gamecocks who lost 79-64 at Kentucky in their conference opener Saturday. The series between South Carolina and Vanderbilt is tied at 24 games apiece. The Gamecocks are 12-10 in Columbia against the Commodores. The two teams split the season series last year with each winning on their own home court.

Vanderbilt is coached by Kevin Stallings. The Commodores have losses to Cleveland St, Xavier, Louisville, and Indiana St. Vanderbilt has won 5 straight games since the loss to Indiana St. The Commodores have wins over  Oregon, Bucknell, NC State, Oregon St, Davidson, Marquette, and Miami-Ohio.

South Carolina is coached by Darrin Horn. The Gamecocks have losses to Elon, Tennessee St, North Carolina, USC, Providence, and Ohio St. South Carolina had won four games in a row before the Kentucky loss Saturday. The Gamecocks don’t have many quality wins, except for Clemson and perhaps Wofford.

Vanderbilt is outscoring opponents 75-66 this season. The Commodores are shooting 46.4% from the field and 38.7% from 3 point range. Vanderbilt makes 67.4% of their free throws. The Commodores average 35.9 rebounds a game, with a rebounding margin of +2.3. Vanderbilt averages 13.1 assists, 14.4 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 4.1 blocks a game. Commodore opponents are shooting 42.8% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. Vanderbilt forces 14.9 turnovers a game.

Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins averages 20.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1 assist a game. Jeffrey Taylor averages 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.7 assists a game to tie for the team lead. Brad Tinsley averages 10.4 points, 3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists a game to lead the team. The top three scorers all shoot better than 42% from 3 point range. Lance Goulbourne averages 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks a game. He leads the team in rebounds and is tied for the lead in steals. Goulbourne makes 34.8% of his 3 point attempts. Festus Ezeli missed most of the non-conference slate with injuries but is back. He is averaging 6.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a game to lead the team but has only played in 5 games this season. Reserve forward Shelby Moats is questionable with an illness, and center Josh Henderson is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

South Carolina is outscoring opponents 64-62 this season. The Gamecocks are shooting 42.7% from the field including 33.9% from 3 point range. USC makes 69.2% of their free throws. The Gamecocks average 33.2 rebounds, and have a rebounding margin of +1.5. South Carolina averages 10.9 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 7.1 steals, and 5.4 blocks a game. Gamecock opponents are shooting 43.2% from the field, including 37.8% from 3 point range. The Gamecocks force 14.5 turnovers a game.

South Carolina forward Malik Cooke averages 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.9 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring, assists, and steals.  Anthony Gill averages 8.5 points, 5.2 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.4 assists a game. Bruce Ellington averages 8.2 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. Damien Leonard averages 7.5 points, and 1.4 rebounds. Eric Smith averages 6.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists a game. Smith is shooting 45.2% from 3 point range.  Damontre Harris leads the team in blocks with 2.2 a game.

South Carolina is 5-5 against the spread and the total is also 5-5 this season. Vanderbilt is 6-5 ATS and the total is 3-8 this season. The underdog is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 games in this series, and 5 of the last 6 have gone over the total. The Commodores are 5-1 ATS in Tuesday games, 13-3 after allowing less than 50 points, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 18-7-2 in road games, 36-16 after a straight up win of more than 20 points, 1-3-1 in SEC games, and 1-5 after a cover. The Gamecocks are 4-0 ATS against teams with winning records, and overall, 10-21-1 in home games against teams with winning road records, 7-21-1 after a cover, and 1-4 after a straight up loss.

Vanderbilt seems to be rounding into shape at the right time and has won 5 straight games. South Carolina has been beating up on lesser foes and getting beaten by good teams. That trend should continue here. I like Vanderbilt to pull out a close, hard fought road win.

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