Furman pulled off the upset of the evening last night if you want to believe most SoCon experts. The fact is, there is not a huge gap between the bottom teams of this conference and the lower middle teams. Samford, who Furman beat on Friday, prefers a slower pace of basketball, which induces a game of half court basketball where execution is vital. Samford and Furman both play very short benches and a Furman victory to us was not as surprising as it was for most. Furman had been playing much better down the stretch, despite losing ten games in a row.
Furman won their eighth game of the season last night while getting several players back from injury. Stephen Croone came back from a foot injury, playing in only his second game back from injury and scored eleven of Furman’s 55 points. Croone drilled the Mountaineers for twenty points in their only meeting earlier this year in Boone. Charlie Reddick scored eight points and grabbed ten rebounds in a game where the Paladins outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-24. Furman also had a big game from Bobby Austin who scored seventeen points in 34 minutes.
Appalachian must regroup and focus after an emotional week of basketball last week. The Mountaineers were able to win two games in order to clinch the bye. Furman may have gained some confidence last night, but will have to play after less than a day of rest. The only meeting between the two schools earlier this year featured another one of Appalachian’s games where they blew a big lead and had to hold on late. Appalachian had an 18 point lead in the first half before eventually allowing Furman to cut the lead to one point late in the game. March is not the time for loss of focus and Appalachian must keep its down and grind this win out before worrying about who they may play tomorrow.
We are still waiting on Vegas to chime in on this game. This usually happens where we cannot find a line for tournament games until right before tipoff. Considering other high profile games that are being played across the country, it is very possible that we do not see a line in this game at all. We will keep checking until game time. Our guess is the Mountaineers are favored by 5.5 points, but that could be generous. It is possible this line could be as high as 7 points.
11:25 UPDATE: Appalachian has opened as 6 point favorite. This is what we were expecting. We will keep waiting for movement before we make a pick.