Last year, Furman nearly ended a long NCAA Tournament drought before having their dreams dashed by Chattanooga in a devastating last-second loss.
Tonight, the Paladins can erase those memories as they match up with the Mocs again for the 2023 Southern Conference tournament title (7:00 pm ET, ESPN).
Last year, the tournament’s top two seeds engaged in a wild championship game in Asheville, with the top-seeded Mocs crushing Furman’s hearts with David Jean-Baptiste’s miraculous buzzer-beating three.
Now, after claiming the top seed this year, the Paladins are a win away from returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1980. Read on for our Chattanooga vs Furman basketball prediction and picks.
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Chattanooga vs Furman Odds
Odds for Chattanooga vs Furman are via BetOnline as of Monday, March 6, 2023.
- Chattanooga +7.5 (-102)
- Furman -7.5 (-120)
- Over 157.5 (-110)
- Under 157.5 (-110)
- Chattanooga +270
- Furman -345
Tournament Trends Favor Furman for Long-Awaited Title
Between 1971 and 1980, Furman won the SoCon tournament title six times. Tonight will be just their fourth appearance in the championship game since that period, following appearances in 2002, 2015, and last year.
After returning a number of key players from last year’s team, the Paladins (26-7, 15-3 SoCon) tied Samford for the regular season title and claimed the tournament’s top seed by virtue of sweeping the Bulldogs.
They had quite the scare in yesterday’s semifinal showdown with fourth-seeded Western Carolina, who beat them once in the regular season.
Down by 18 with 14 minutes left, the Catamounts went on a 32-12 run to take a 72-70 lead in the final minute of regulation. After extending the game, the Paladins would find themselves down in the final minute in overtime, but they hit their free throws and made two defensive stops to secure an 83-80 win.
While Furman has backed up its status as the preseason favorite for the title, Chattanooga was not at all expected to be here after losing the core of its team, along with coach Lamont Paris, who took the South Carolina job.
The Mocs (18-16, 7-11 SoCon) finished seventh in the regular season standings and made the trip to Asheville with a losing record, but with wins over #10 VMI, #2 Samford, and #6 Wofford, they have a chance to become the first team to go back-to-back in the SoCon since Wofford in 2014 and 2015.
However, recent tournament trends favor Furman in a big way.
Since the conference switched from a divisional format to a single-table format, seven of the nine SoCon tournaments have been won by the top seed, including each of the last five since #3 seed East Tennessee State took the title in 2017.
Chattanooga vs Furman Prediction and Picks
Mocs vs Paladins Prediction: Furman to win
Mocs vs Paladins Picks: Chattanooga/Furman under 157.5 (Best Value: BetOnline)
Furman beat Chattanooga by eight on the road and 21 at home in the regular season, but even though I fully expect them to finally end their drought tonight, I can’t really recommend taking them to cover.
Am I scarred from seeing Southeast Missouri State win four games in four days and beat favored Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley tournament?
I wouldn’t go that far, since SEMO and Tennessee Tech were separated by only one game in the OVC standings, whereas Furman and Chattanooga were separated by eight games.
But conference tournaments are good for unpleasant surprises for higher seeds, and as much of a wakeup call as yesterday’s close call against Western Carolina might be for Furman, I can’t advocate for taking an unnecessary risk.
On the other hand, I love the under here. Since 1991, only four SoCon tournament title games–1993, 2003, 2012, and 2017–have finished with 150 or more points. Including those four games, only ten have even finished with 140 or more points, none since 2017.
Furman is 11th in Division I in scoring at 81.9 PPG, and Chattanooga has had high-scoring games against VMI and Samford in their time in Asheville. But that is a pretty compelling trend, and I’m backing it to come through again.
Where to Bet on Chattanooga vs Furman
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