The Western Carolina Catamounts (12-16, 7-8 SoCon) will travel to Hawkins Arena to challenge the Mercer Bears (15-13, 8-7 SoCon) in their home finale. Mercer opened as an 11.5-point favorite, while the game’s Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 142 points. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
Western Carolina Catamounts vs. Mercer Bears Odds Preview
In the Catamounts’ last outing, they fell to the East Tennessee State Buccaneers, 72-61. Western Carolina’s Deriece Parks had a solid performance, leading the team in scoring with 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting. East Tennessee State had an offensive rebounding percentage of 46.7 (above their season average of 31.9). Western Carolina, on the other hand, did a terrific job of making free throws (13-18; 72.2 percent).
The Bears will look to maintain momentum after edging the UNCG Spartans in their last contest, 77-74. Mercer was lifted by Jordan Strawberry, who was the game’s high scorer with 27 points on 8-for-14 shooting. The Bears knocked down 24 of their 29 free throws (82.8 percent) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.646 (above their season average of 0.552).
The sweet-shooting offense of Mercer will face off against the porous defense of Western Carolina. The Bears rank 30th in effective field goal percentage (0.554), while the Catamounts are 292nd in effective field goal percentage allowed (0.530). The Bears figure to have the edge on that end of the court.
Both of these teams tend to go over the O/U total. Western Carolina games have gone over 58.3 percent of the time, while games including Mercer have finished over 56.5 percent of the time. The Bears hold the substantial advantage straight up (SU) (15-13 vs. 12-16), but the Catamounts have been superior against the spread (ATS) (12-12 vs. 9-11-3).
Ross Cummings has been superb over the last five games for Mercer, averaging 17.4 points per game.
These teams have already met once this season. In that game, the two teams combined for 114 points, well under the projected point total of 146.5. The Catamounts won 58-56, covering as 6.5-point underdogs. Western Carolina’s rebounding was their largest advantage. The Catamounts had 14 offensive rebounds and 41 total rebounds, while the Bears had eight and 33, respectively. In the victory, Mike Amius led all scorers with 21 points.
Western Carolina Catamounts vs. Mercer Bears ATS Prediction
Pick: SU Winner – Mercer, ATS Winner – Western Carolina, O/U – Over
- The Catamounts average 21.7 three pointers per game, which ranks 157th in the NCAA. The Bears rank 271st in three pointers allowed per game (25.8).
- Western Carolina ranks 161st in blocks per game (2.9) while Mercer ranks 226th (1.8).
- Mercer is 4-4 ATS at home, while Western Carolina is 9-7 ATS on the road.
- The total has gone over in 4 of the Bears’ 8 home games, while 11 of the Catamounts’ 16 road games have gone over.
- Mercer ranks sixth in rebounds allowed per game (29.3) while Western Carolina ranks 241st (37.4).
- The Catamounts rank 15th in steals per game (8.1) while the Bears rank 155th (5.8).
- Mercer ranks 95th in assists per game (14.7) while Western Carolina ranks 219th in assists allowed per game (15.2).
- Mercer is 5-0 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Western Carolina is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
- The Bears average margin of victory in their last five games has been 9.8, up from 7.2 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Catamounts have scored an average of 67.6 points per game (0.5 below their season average) and allowed an average of 70.4 points per game (4.2 below their season average).