App Men look to sweep Bobcats

It has been a long season for the Mountaineers in Jim Fox’s first season as head coach. Wins have been scarce, sometimes coming in streaks, and that is exactly how Appalachian hopes to finish the season. Prior to last Saturday’s win over first place UL-Monroe, Appalachian had not won a game in three weeks, dating back to a 65-62 win over Troy on February 7th. 

The Mountaineers won four games in a row in January in an eight day span. However, that streak was preceded by a four game losing streak and followed by back to back losses. All in all, seven of Appalachian’s ten wins were split by a three-game and four-game winning streaks. 

Throughout the season, the trend in Mountaineer wins has been the play of Frank Eaves. In each and every Appalachian win, Eaves has been the leading scorer for the Mountaineers and has averaged 23 points per game in those contests. In the previous game against Texas State, Eaves scored a career high 31 points. 

This season, Appalachian is 10-15 against the spread. The Mountaineers have been better on the road this season than in the Holmes Convocation Center. The Apps are only 3-6 ATS at home, with all wins coming against Sun Belt competition. Conversely, Appalachian has straight up wins in all of those matchups, against South Alabama, Georgia State and UL-Monroe. 

Appalachian is currently a 1.5 point underdog in tonight’s matchup against Texas State. Texas State was a 7 point favorite earlier in the year when they lost to the Mountaineers. The Bobcats are also 3-6 on the road against the spread and 1-7 ATS when the total is in the 120’s. App seems like a safe pick getting a couple points at home. 

UALR looks for rare road win

1:12 PM: @bigCasu: App is a slight favorite tonight by a point. ML gives a better layout to UALR. Wouldn’t be shocked if it moved a half point to lose the push

6:59 PM: @bigCasu: UALR is awful on the road. So I am gonna grab this one point for the Apps. Would be bigger if it wasn’t our worst game of season earlier.

8:20 PM: @bigCasu: Big difference from last meeting. App scored 46, while today, building on 37 before half.

8:23 PM: @bigCasu: Both teams shooting over 50% at half. Apps threes cancelled by UALR free throws.

8:31 PM: Burgess with 16 first half points, mainly because Frank Eaves saddled with foul trouble. Eaves hasn’t scored tonight, which has to be the first time he hasn’t scored in the first half this season. Didn’t check, but it totally makes sense.

Apps visit Lafayette

3:27 PM: @bigCasu: Apps hanging in close as an 11.5 point dog. No much movement. This might be one I struggle with until right before tipoff.

7:11 PM: @bigCasu: Another .5 point comes off the App spread to 11.

7:57 PM: @bigCasu: Louisiana has covered one double digit spread this year, which was a home win over Troy. Overall 8-8 ATS.

8:02 PM: Official pick:

Post game: Appalachian struggled from the field in the second half after tying the score at 50, to fall by fifteen points at Louisiana.

The Mountaineers trailed by 7 points at halftime after allowing the Cajuns to shoot over 60% from the field in the first frame. Jacob Lawson scored ten points in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second half. Chris Burgess sparked the run to tie the score at 50 in the second half, as he scored all of his points in the second half.

Only five Mountaineers scored on the night with eleven players logging minutes. Starters Dustin Clarke and Michael Obacha were held scoreless the entire night.

Louisiana covered the eleven point spread as Appalachian struggled to score in the second half, shooting only 32% from the field. The Cajuns went to the free throw line eleven more times than the Mountaineers, accounting for a ten point advantage at the stripe.

Our picks fall to 10-6 (.625) on the year against the spread.

Mountaineers squeak by Texas State

Appalachian was led by a career high 31 points by Frank Eaves en route to their fourth straight win over the Texas State Bobcats 64-58 on Saturday evening in San Marcos.

It was another ugly win for the Mountaineers despite Eaves’ effort. First year head coach Jim Fox has quickly learned that his team can’t score 70 points a game every night and expect to win. Defense has been the key to the four game winning streak. The Bobcats shot 36.8% from the field and connected on only three of their seventeen three point attempts.

Eaves with the only Mountaineer in double digits although Jacob Lawson chipped in nine points off the bench and Tommy Spagnola scored six and grabbed another half dozen rebounds.

Appalachian entered the game as a 7.5 point underdog, but was able to secure another big road cover with the win. I took the Mountaineers with this tweet Appalachian improves to 0-0 on the season ATS and our record also improves to 10-5

Apps fall late at Alabama

Appalachian could not hold a two point lead at halftime and fell to Alabama on Sunday. Tommy Spagnola turned in a strong double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds. Dustin Clarke and Frank Eaves both chipped in with thirteen points and a trio of three pointers each.

The Mountaineers had a chance to win in the closing seconds. Alabama had a foul to give and did so with three seconds left. Appalachian had a baseline inbounds play drawn up for Frank Eaves, who rushed the shot and missed everything. Eaves’s defender got in the air, and had a chance to draw a foul on the three point attempt or dribble to his left for an uncontested look.

Appalachian was spotted 18.5 points going into the game and cruised to a road cover. The Mountaineers have been good over the years on the road against marginal teams from the power conferences. This tweet secured my pick of the Mountaineers, which improves my picks to 5-1 on the season.

Men’s Basketball hosts Hampton

Last time out, Appalachian pulled the quietest upset in its recent basketball history with a slim victory over Virginia Tech. While most of the Mountaineer fans were glued to football game with Lafayette, Appalachian was outhustling the Hokies. Appalachian dominated on both ends of the glass, holding a 19-8 advantage of the offensive end and a 42-27 edge on the defensive glass.

Frank Eaves hit the game-winning jumper with one second on the clock after Virginia Tech could only manage to tie the game on the free throw line with ten seconds to play. The Hokies hit the first free throw to tie the game, but were called for a lane violation on the second attempt, which set up Eaves and his game winner.

We were a little bit too busy preparing for football festivities to check the line and eventually make a pick. Needless to say, Virginia Tech was favored in this game and the Mountaineers covered easily. That puts the Mountaineers at 1-2 against the spread this season, while our picks remain at 1-1 after “failing” to make a pick. Likely we would have taken Virginia Tech, and would have missed.

After getting his first win of his career on the road, Jim Fox and his Mountaineers will open the home slate of the schedule tonight against Hampton. The MEAC school is 1-3 on the year with a win over Alcorn State, and losses that include Syracuse, Iowa and North Dakota State.

Currently there is no line for the game, as is often the case when low-major opponents are involved. In the event that the bookies post one closer to gametime, you can catch the pick at my twitter account, @bigcasu

Appalachian Basketball @ Furman

Last time out, Appalachian fell hard in a huge loss at Ohio by a 73-47 count. You can count on one finger the number of Mountaineers that played well. Tommy Spagnola led the Mountaineers with 11 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing the double-double in thirty-one minutes of action. Starting point guard Frank Eaves could not have played any worse. Eaves was 2-12 from the floor, including misfiring on all four of his three points attempts, while also leading the team with four turnovers compared to just two assists. Surprisingly, Tab Hamilton was ruled out of the game, and his playing time is doubt until his eligibility is straightened out due to playing too many games in a summer league.

Ohio was favored by ten points and covered the spread easily. We expected the Bobcats to cover and they did. Appalachian is 0-1 against the spread on the season and we are 1-0 with our picks.

Tonight, Appalachian faces Furman in Greenville, SC. I still do not understand why this game was scheduled, against a former SoCon opponent, nor do I understand why its being played in Greenville. The Paladins were drilled in their first game of the season, 75-40, by College of Charleston, but were without last years leading scorer in Stephen Croone who sat out due to a concussion.

This could be an ugly game tonight. Neither team was able to shoot the ball very well in their season opener. The Mountaineers slashed 33/25/44 (field goals/three pointers/free throws) while Furman countered with a 24/17/51. For those counting, thats not good. Furman has always played Appalachian tough in auditorium that is Timmons Arena. The Paladins are 2.5 point favorite, which is basically home court. However, I believe this number favors the Mountaineers slightly. I like the line better at three points, but I’ll take App at +2.5.

UNC-Greensboro @ Men’s Basketball

7:15 AM: First look at tonight’s spread between App and UNCG, favored the Mountaineers by 3, which is now moved to 4. As of now, would consider App at 3, and hesitate at 4. Generally this wouldn’t be a game where you would make your play moments before tipoff.

10:26 PM: The spread never moved throughout the day. Somehow the oddsmakers thought App should get their first Division 1 win of the season on this night. The experts don’t know this team like I do. My official pick was made on twitter shortly after 5pm. Despite UNCG winning only one road game this season, I took the road team and the points. UNCG went on to grab at 66-60 SU ATS win. App is now 0-11 against D1 schools and App drops to 1-6 ATS. I will tabulate my wins tomorrow. Feel positive I am over .500 on the season. I expect a big 16 or 17 point spread against Davidson.

Men’s Basketball @ Georgia

7:08am: #AppStateMBB is getting 12 points today down in Athens with no word on the status of Mike Neal. At least none that we have seen.

Georgia has four players scoring in double figures this season and their only win was over Wofford, while losing to Davidson.

7:16am: I think this line could move a half point before tip. Not a lot of NCAA games on the card today. Right now, I am leaning toward a UGA cover

10:44am: #APPvsUGA spread has dropped to 11.5. As I expected it to do. Could see it go to 11, but I don’t think it moves more than that.

10:52am: #AppStateMBB is 13-4 ATS as a road underdog of 9.5 to 12 points since 1997.

3:40pm: Line hasn’t moved this afternoon off of 11.5. Money line payouts haven’t budged either. #APPvsUGA #ncaabb

4:47pm: Late money coming in on Georgia pushes the line back to 12. That’s going to be my pick, for Georgia to cover the spread.

Appalachian opens tournament against Furman

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.