If this game is anything like the last matchup between Appalachian and Davidson, it will be over before it starts. Davidson executed a brilliant game, hitting over 50% of their shots for the game, and Appalachian played one of its poorest games of the season. This does not suggest that is the sole reason Davidson won two weeks ago. Davidson is a better team, but they have not been as good this season as they have been in the past. It is a beatable team, but only one team in conference play has been able to beat them this season. Somehow, Georgia Southern beat Davidson in Statesboro, while Appalachian is fresh off of a sweep of the Eagles on Saturday night.
The scheduling gods were not kind to Appalachian this season when they have had to face Davidson. Appalachian was in Statesboro on Thursday night for an overtime game, and luckily had the sense to fly to Statesboro for the game. Earlier this season, Appalachian was just a few days removed from the western swing of Samford and Chattanooga.
In their first meeting this season, Appalachian was concerned over the status of two of their starters. Jay Canty re-aggravated a thumb injury two days before Davidson and was basically ineffective. Mike Neal turned his ankle two days prior and was also equally unproductive. This time around, Neal and Canty appear to be healthy and Nathan Healy has played two great games in a row. Oddly enough, Appalachian always played Davidson tighter in Belk Arena versus in Boone. No team has beaten Davidson more times in the past few years in Mecklenburg County than Appalachian.
Davidson has now moved to a 17 point favorite over Appalachian, after opening at 16. The Wildcats have never been good against the spread, and that notion holds true this season as they are 8-11. Since beating Appalachian, Davidson has shot under 30% from three point land in every game. The ‘Cats are 3-3-1 in conference games against the spread, but I get this feeling that 17 is just way to big of a number. The first time around, these two teams played on the opposite end of the spectrum. I seriously doubt it happens again in the same matter. It will not take much for me to take Davidson, but I believe this line gets bigger before gametime, and my feeling, once again is that Appalachian will cover.
Our feeling was this game was perhaps going to a lot closer than the first meeting between the two rivals. We could not have been more wrong. Davidson buried Appalachian early and often en route to a thirty-five point win. There is no secret, Davidson is much better, and on defense, Appalachian remains terrible. Davidson had more assists than Appalachian had made field goals. The Wildcats shot 65% in the first half. The score was never tied, and Davidson led the entire way.
Nathan Healy led the Mountaineers in scoring with 13 points but was only 4/11 from the field. Tevin Baskin chipped in twelve points in nineteen minutes. Mike Neal scored nine points, but was 3/12 from the field. Jay Canty also scored only four points, and was 1/10 from the field. The Mountaineers shot 30% from the field for the entire game.
Due to the nature of the game, Brian Okam was able to get a few minutes late and made the most of them. Okam played ten minutes, but had 4 rebounds and two blocked shots in the limited action. Normally one would insert a joke that says something about, you know the Mountaineers are in trouble when Brian Okam is a bright spot. Right now, I personally believe that Okam might be a better play than Michael Obacha right now. I have not seen much improvement in Obacha all season, and he and Okam are basically the same player. They are both foul prone and offensively limited. So why not start the guy who is four inches taller and three years older? Okam may be a better option in the short term as the season may have grown long on the freshman. Now is the time to use Okam more if there are any intentions of using him in the conference tournament.
Appalachian did not cover the spread, their worst ATS loss in over 40 games. There is not much more to talk about. Appalachian is 12-6 ATS the spread this season and our picks are 11-7.