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Free NCAA Pick Wednesday

#790 Vanderbilt -3.5 over South Carolina 6:00 PM CT

Bryce Drew’s Vanderbilt squad has slipped to 0-3 in SEC play after a promising 9-3 non-conference start that included wins over USC, Liberty, and Arizona State for three top 100 wins. Only two losses have come at home this season and both were close games while the two losses in the last week came on the road, including a nine-point loss at Kentucky last weekend. These teams met just once last season with the Gamecocks winning 71-60 in Columbia just over a year ago while Drew’s squad won by nine in the only home meeting he had in this series since taking over the program two years ago.

Frank Martin’s squad is surprisingly 3-0 in SEC play after a 5-7 non-conference start. Known for defense, the Gamecocks have pushed the pace of play this season but not with better results as this has been a high turnover team that shoots poorly from long range. The 3-0 start has featured some good fortune in SEC play with a two-point win at Florida despite committing 22 turnovers, plus an overtime home win over Mississippi State. On Sunday South Carolina beat Missouri by 10 but that was a challenging situation for the Tigers as that game originally was scheduled for Saturday but moved to Sunday as Missouri dealt with a major winter storm and travel issues.

South Carolina is just 1-2 in true road games including losing at Wyoming this season and the Gamecocks also have a home loss to Stony Brook for two puzzling defeats. The past three wins are the only top 100 wins of the season for South Carolina and this is an absolutely critical spot on the schedule for the Commodores as a loss here could easily mean a potential 0-7 start to SEC play playing Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky in the next three conference games. Vanderbilt is young but possesses great size and has battled a tougher SEC schedule to this point to create the contrasting records. Vanderbilt has featured great 3-point defense numbers and efficient interior scoring while far less prone to turnovers as home court should hold Wednesday night.

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