NCAA Basketball Picks for November 19: Best Bets Today

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The UMBC Retrievers bench reacts during a game against Kansas State. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

The Western Carolina Catamounts will live and die with the three-point ball. What will they do in tonight’s game against UMBC on a neutral court and how is this reflected in the NCAAB odds?

Read along to find out!

Western Carolina Catamounts vs. UMBC Retrievers

Friday, November 19, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Willett Hall

The Western Carolina Catamounts will take on the UMBC Retrievers on a neutral court in Virginia. The Western Carolina Catamounts were picked to finish last in the SoCon this year. They've got just two key returners from last year in Tyler Harris and Travion McCray and also have a new coach as Mark Prosser left for Winthrop.

Justin Gray, the new coach, was a former assistant at Winthrop - basically musical chairs. Gray, like Prosser, loves up-tempo offense and plenty of three-point balls. If they're making threes, Western Carolina is going to win. If they're not, they're likely going to lose.

It Comes Down to Shooting

Western Carolina will likely be one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country. Maybe not by makes but by attempts. Western Carolina defeated Bowling Green in overtime earlier this season and took 34 three's in that game. Four of the starting five took at least six attempts from long range.

Against Wake Forest, Western Carolina shot 33 more three's but was better shooting inside. The defense just didn't play well and they lost. Lastly, the defense was also dreadful against Eastern Carolina... but don't worry Western Carolina chucked up 46 threes and nailed 17 of them in that game.

The offense will essentially be there for Western Carolina. They're knocking down 36.3 percent from long-range and take many shots. Going up against UMBC, they'll just need to find a way to outscore UMBC. I think they will.

UMBC lost their head coach in Ryan Odom and he also dragged his two favorite players with him from UMBC to Utah State. UMBC no longer has Brandon Horvath and RJ Eytle Rock - they're both now starting at Utah State.

Jim Ferry is the new coach at UMBC now - and he brought in four transfers to regroup. Two transfers already have season-ending injuries and the two other transfers didn't perform well at all in their lone D-1 game against UMass.

He tried to build a team with transfers and now has no transfers starting in the lineup. Sure, UMBC is filled with seniors. But it's filled with seniors that don’t have experience running the show. UMBC is heading in a bad direction right now. They'll need to regroup for next year.

In that D-1 game against UMass, UMBC got out to a 15-2 lead on the road, only to lose the game 77-60. That's quite the swing for UMBC. The offense shot 32.3 percent from the field and just 17.9 percent from long range.

Expert Prediction

Offensively, UMBC just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with Western Carolina. Western Carolina could shoot five straight threes and get up 15. They can also come back from a 15-point deficit extremely fast as well with all the threes they take.

Even against Penn State-York (Non D-1), UMBC shot 7-for-29 from long range and just 44 percent from the field in an 85-47 win. They won that game by a lot because of rebounding and just being bigger in size etc. Basically what I'm getting at here is that Western Carolina will have their offense. They'll score around 75-80 points in this one.

I don't think UMBC can get there offensively - they've shot 38.6 percent through two games this season, hence I'll be backing the Catamounts with my daily NCAAB pick.

NCAAB Pick: Western Carolina +4.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline)

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Western Carolina +4.5 (-110)
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