We started out the week with a winner on the Oregon/USC under 138 as the teams could only muster 130 points in USC’s 72-58 win. The game stayed out of fouling range, which was good for us because that would have wound up being a bad beat in a game that was not competitive at halftime.
It is always good to start the week on a positive note and we’ll look to take that trend into Tuesday with today’s spotlight game preview. For that we head to Buies Creek, North Carolina, where the Campbell Fighting Camels are taking on the High Point Panthers. Campbell is -4 with a total of 133 from the fine folks at BetOnline Sportsbook.
This one is well under the radar on a day with a lot of major conference games, but the money spends the same and the bag is usually easier to get in the conferences that nobody really follows.
High Point Panthers
About the only thing you would know about High Point is that former head coach Tubby Smith was the head coach at Kentucky for all of those years. High Point just got swept by Winthrop last week on Thursday and Friday, but was competitive in both games against the Big South Conference Tournament favorites. Now the Panthers play somebody that is more on their level.
High Point does a few things well. They are good on the offensive glass and are good at getting to the line, though they are only shooting 68.9% when they get there. The Panthers are 32nd in the nation in Block% at 12.3%, but opponents are also shooting 52.2% on two-point shots, so the base defense for this team is not good outside of the rim protectors.
It is a problem when any positive stat can pretty quickly morph into a negative. High Point only shoots 30.5% from three, but also only takes a three 29.8% of the time. Unfortunately, they’ve also taken a high rate of mid-range jumpers as a team that does not shoot the ball particularly well.
In conference play, High Point’s 3P% is even worse at 28.3% and they’re only shooting 46.9% on two-point shots. They’re still getting to the line a lot and shooting 69% when they get there, but they are last in the 11-team league in eFG% offense and 10th in eFG% defense.
That would seem to be a big problem against Campbell. The Humpers are on a bit of a heater right now with wins in their last six games, though all six wins have been against bottom-35 teams in college basketball. Campbell is actually 18th in the nation in eFG% at 55.6%. The Camels are shooting 37% from deep and 55.7% on two-point shots. Their issue has been the defensive end of the floor, but this is actually a pretty solid team overall.
Campbell’s 2P% defense is horrific at 56.1%, but they have defended the three-point line extremely well. In conference play, the Camels are ninth in eFG% defense and 11th in 2P% defense, but make up for it by being the conference’s top offensive team in eFG%, 3P%, and 2P%. Campbell’s offensive body of work would look a lot more impressive if they didn’t play at one of the slowest tempos in college basketball and the second-slowest in this conference.
Campbell played its first six games of the season on the road and went 2-4, including games against Winthrop and Gardner-Webb, the best and second-best teams in this league. Since then, Campbell’s only two losses have been against Radford, including one in triple overtime. Radford was thought to be the second-best team in the Big South, but has faltered of late.
In other words, when Campbell has played equal or inferior competition, they’ve mostly taken care of business. They even split at Longwood, dealing the Lancers their only home loss in conference action.
Pick & Analysis
My concern here is that it is tricky for Campbell to get margin on the opposition because they play at such a slow tempo, but the Camels are a much more efficient offensive team than High Point. They are also likelier to score by threes instead of by twos like their opponents.
Both teams are in the conference tournament field, but there is incentive for Campbell to try and move up and play as many home games as possible, along with avoiding Winthrop until the potential finals. For High Point, this is just playing out the string and hoping for a good draw to make some noise in the tournament that starts on Saturday.