Southern Conference Tournament Odds: Furman Huge Favorites
Greensboro, Samford Most Likely to Pull Upset
The Southern Conference Tournament odds have the Furman Paladins as good-sized favorites. Looking at the college basketball team stats, it’s easy to see why. Furman has one of the best offenses in the country. The Paladins rank No. 34 in adjusted offensive efficiency. No other Southern Conference team comes close.
Naturally, Furman gives up some defense prowess to focus on the offense, which is where a team like UNC Greensboro comes into the picture. With a defensive efficiency rating that’s No. 51 in the nation, the Spartans are in a class by themselves defensively. Mercer is next in the conference at No. 178.
Samford is the second-best offensive team in the conference and Wofford is third but the Terriers are putrid defensively. The Southern Conference Tournament odds suggest this isn’t the conference to pick a longshot. And they’re probably correct. ESPN+ will broadcast the first round and quarterfinals, with the semifinals on ESPNU and ESPN News. The championship will be televised by ESPN on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
Furman Paladins (Even)
The Paladins tied for the conference regular season title, going 15-3 in conference games. Furman dropped a pair of away games, as well as a home overtime game to Greensboro. Furman is No. 2 in the nation in 2-point shooting percentage, hitting 59.2% of its shots. Despite that, Furman still shoots a lot of 3-pointers, where the Paladins are No. 139 on the country at 34.9%. Furman would be a better offensive team if it shot more from the inside. But you can’t really argue with the team’s success.
It’s the defense you have to worry about, as Furman is No. 179 in the county in adjusted defensive efficiency. Furman isn’t that good at stopping the 2- or 3-pointer but are slightly above average in stopping offensive rebounds. The Paladins had two revenge games in conference play, and defeated Western Carolina by 34 at home. Furman went to Greensboro and won by 12 in the rematch.
UNC Greensboro Spartans (+250)
If defense wins championships, the Spartans are looking good. But it’s unlikely their defense can overcome the offensive edge Furman has. The Spartans are No. 40 in 2-point defensive field goal percentage, which helps against Furman. But Greensboro is just slightly above average defending the 3-pointer, which doesn’t help against the Paladins. Greensboro can hold its own against the other Southern teams in the NCAAB matchups but Furman is a tough draw.
In their win at Furman, the Spartans had a 41-20 advantage in free throw attempts and the Paladins had three players foul out. You can’t really bank on that happening again in the conference tournament.
Samford Bulldogs (+400)
The Southern Conference Tournament odds on the Bulldogs are +400, which might seem a bit high considering they finished 15-3 in conference games. But the Bulldogs lost to Furman twice during the year and don’t see enough talent there to turn the tables in a third meeting. Samford is pretty close to the Paladins on defense but the offense is a step or two behind. The Bulldogs hit 36.1% of their 3-point attempts but also allow 36.1% defensively.
Chattanooga Mocs (+1200)
The Mocs are getting a little bit of respect in the Southern Conference Tournament odds, at least more than you would expect from a team that went 7-11 in conference games. Chattanooga does one thing on offense and that’s shoot the 3-pointer. The Mocs attempted 3-pointers 52.5% of the time, the highest rate of any team in the country. If Chattanooga gets hot from the outside, it can play with anybody in the conference. The problem is that didn’t happen often enough and the Mocs were a middle-of-the-pack team. Chattanooga’s defense isn’t good enough to carry the team when the outside shots aren’t falling.
Wofford Terriers (+1800)
The odds on the Terriers are fairly generous, although Wofford doesn’t appear to be a team built for tournaments. The offense is better than average, especially from the inside. But that defense is brutal, ranking No. 340 in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Terriers allow 55.9% from 2-point range and teams can just take the ball inside against Wofford and score at a solid clip. Wofford has a tough opening game with Greensboro, so will most likely be one and done.
Projected Championship Matchup
Taking Furman in the top half of the bracket is a bit of a no-brainer. The Paladins might not get there, but they are the team to take advancing to the finals. The bottom half of the bracket is a little more undecided, with Greensboro and Samford likely to meet in the semifinals.
Samford had the better record of the two, but there’s a reason why Greensboro has lower odds than the Bulldogs, so expect the two favorites to meet for the title. The odds aren’t great, but Furman at even money is probably the way to go in the Southern Conference Tournament. Depending on the opponent, Furman could be a team to keep an eye on for a potential first-round upset in your March Madness bracket contest.
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