Marquette vs South Carolina March Madness Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,March 16, 2017 10:59, EDT in

It’s the Big East against the SEC in the East Region on Friday night when No. 10 Marquette takes on No. 7 South Carolina – the Gamecocks were unfairly selected to play in their home state. The winner here takes on No. 2 Duke, the NCAA Tournament favorite, on Sunday. USC is favored to advance. Here’s a look at the March Madness odds for the game.

Marquette vs South Carolina March Madness Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Friday, March 17, 9:50 PM ET
Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.
TV: TBA
StreamMarch Madness Live
RadioMarquette / South Carolina
Opening NCAAB Lines: USC -1.5

Why Bet On Marquette?

Outside of graduate transfer Katin Reinhardt, who came to Marquette after stints at UNLV and USC and became the second player ever to make the NCAA Tournament with three different teams, this marks the first time in the Big Dance for the rest of Marquette’s players. It’s also the Golden Eagles’ first NCAA Tournament trip in three seasons under head coach Steve Wojciechowski.

The Golden Eagles boast one of the nation’s most efficient offenses. The Golden Eagles rank among the nation’s top-20 in six offensive categories, highlighted by their top effort of 43.0 percent from behind the 3-point line. The balanced scoring features five players averaging double figures in points, ranging from 13.2 points per game to 10.9 points per contest. Only UCLA has more players (six) with 300-or- more points than Marquette’s five competitors.

MU has only averaged over 80.0 points per contest for a season on three previous occasions, most recently during the 1970-71 campaign (81.7 ppg.). Since 1948-49, only the 1954-55 team has been a more explosive offensive attack, concluding the year scoring 84.2 points per game. Leading scorerMarkus Howard shot a Divison I best 54.9% from long range.

It’s something Marquette will need to lean on against South Carolina, which boasts one of the best defenses in the country, a high-pressure scheme that forces opponents into turnovers on 24.5% of their possessions.

Marquette has only been seeded 10th once in its previous 31 appearances and fell to Providence 81-59 in 1997 in Charlotte, N.C. The Golden Eagles have covered the number just once over their last five NCAA tournament outings.

Why Bet On South Carolina?

Despite owning a defense that ranks in the 98th percentile for efficiency and forces the fifth-most turnovers in the NCAA, the Gamecocks come into the tournament in a funk, winning just three of their last nine games. They can look squarely at their offense, which ranks 306th out of 351 Division I teams in terms of shooting accuracy.

The uglier the game, the more likely it is the Gamecocks will thrive. Despite a lack of traditional size and just 41.6% shooting as a team, the Gamecocks have taken on Coach Frank Martin’s hard-nosed personality, finishing fifth nationally in turnovers forced per game (17.4) and second in three-point field goal defense (29.2%).

Guard Sindarius Thornwell was named SEC Player of the Year. Thornwell led the SEC in scoring in league games this season with 22.1 points per game, while he was sixth with 7.5 rebounds per league game and first with 2.4 steals. He posted 11 20-point games during league action, which included a 34-point outing at Kentucky, and an historic 44-point performance against Alabama.

The Gamecocks failed to cover the spread in nine of the team’s final ten games entering the NCAA tournament. This is South Carolina’s first trip to the Dance since March 2004. Carolina holds an all-time record of 4-9 in NCAA Tournament games, with its last win coming in the 1973 East Regional Consolation versus Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana Lafayette).

South Carolina’s Martin is 6-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, with all of those contests coming while he was the head coach at Kansas State. South Carolina is 1-2 in neutral site contests this season, as the Gamecocks upset then-No. 18/16 Syracuse at the Barclays Center on Nov. 26, before suffering a three-point loss to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12 and a loss on March 10 to Alabama in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals in Nashville.

Marquette vs South Carolina Free Pick: South Carolina Gamecocks

This game is essentially a pick’em, but go with the Gamecocks as they will have the fan support.