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Atlantic 10 vs Conference USA here as the Davidson Wildcats take on the Charlotte 49ers. Davidson enters this one off a season-opening loss to Auburn, while Charlotte fell to James Madison in their first game. Oddsmakers opened Davidson as a double-digit favorite for this one.
Davidson Back?Davidson has done a great job over the past decade establishing themselves as a consistent mid-major winner. After making the NCAA tournament the year before last year ended in disappointing fashion, as they were blown out by St Louis in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. They then lost in the first round of the NIT. Fortunately for Davidson, they're returning just about everybody from last year's team. Of the six guys who played meaningful minutes in their last game of the season last year, all of them are back in action for the Wildcats this year. That includes junior guard Kellan Grady, by far the most important player on the team.
Very nice Kellan Grady sequence pic.twitter.com/z4gbuz3x0k— Max Carlin (@maxacarlin) November 8, 2019
After averaging 18 points per game as a freshman, Grady didn't take the step forward that many expected him to last year. He certainly wasn't bad and was still the best player on the team, but he played at pretty much the same level. If he can take that next step this season, then Davidson is going to be very good. In their opener they played Auburn, a team ranked in the top 25, and they played them very tight on a neutral court. The game was close the entire way, and they certainly didn't look overmatched. In addition to all the guys they brought back, they also added talented freshman Mike Jones. Jones played 31 minutes in the game against Auburn, and he connected on four threes in his first-ever college game.
Charlotte Loses Jon DavisCharlotte is coming off a tough year. In their first season after hiring head coach Ron Sanchez, they went just 8-21. Unfortunately for Charlotte, things could get better before they get worse as they enter a long rebuild. They lost program icon Jon Davis to graduation, would have been by far their best score in each of the past three seasons. Davis averaged nearly 22 points per game last season, and it isn't going to be easy for a low-major team like Charlotte to replace all that scoring. They also lost big man Jailan Haslem, who was playing a big role down the stretch for them. This is a team that doesn't have a ton of size, and they could get bullied down low and severely out-rebounded by teams with true bigs.
In their entire rotation, they barely have anybody who played a meaningful role for them last season, and they are essentially fielding a team full of new guys with freshmen and transfers galore. That's a recipe for disaster, especially early on in the season as none of these guys have any chemistry with each other. That certainly was the case in their opener, as they lost to a bad James Madison team. They played Davidson last year and looked overmatched, losing by 20 points. Another interesting thing to note here is that the 49ers are just 7-19-1 against the spread in their last 27 non-conference games.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com 49ers are:
- 7-19-1 ATS in their last 27 non-conference games
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Atlantic 10
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Tuesday games
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. Conference USA
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following an ATS loss
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I think Davidson is going to win this one in a blowout, just like they did when these two teams played each other last season. Charlotte was already really bad last year, and now they've lost by far their best score from the past three seasons who has often carried the team. On the other hand, Davidson returns almost everybody from last year's squad, and those are the type of teams that I like to back early in the season, especially against teams who are playing a lot of new pieces. Charlotte has virtually no size, so Davidson should be able to get to the rack with ease.
Prediction: Davidson -12.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The over also makes a lot of sense here. I think Charlotte knows that they have no chance of keeping Davidson from scoring, and that their only shot to stay in this game is to get hot from deep and keep up. As such, I expect to see them chucking it up early and often, and playing at a fairly fast pace. Davidson always has elite shooters, but their defense is sometimes lacking. Charlotte is playing a team of almost entirely new players, so their defensive chemistry is going to be really bad early on in the year, as evidenced by the 79 points they just gave up to James Madison.