The Fighting Camels of Campbell were able to edge out Presbyterian in the first round of the Big South tournament, so tonight, they will take on Longwood in the quarterfinal round. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Despite being the number two seed in the tournament, Longwood came in with the best odds to win it all. The Lancers went 12-6 in conference play this season but will enter the tournament off a loss to one-seed UNC-Asheville. This isn’t the type of team that will blow you away with their offensive prowess, but they will enter tonight ranked 54th in the country in average points allowed per game with 65.9.
Being 195th in the country in shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage didn’t slow them down too much this season, the primary reason for that being their defensive ability. The slow tempo at which the Lancers run has frustrated a lot of teams this season and has led to them forcing an average of 14.3 turnovers per game and holding opponents to 22.9 made field goals per game.
In the two meetings between these two teams this season, Longwood walked away with a 20+ point victory in each of them. When the teams met most recently on February 4th, the Lancers picked up a 74-50 home win. The unfortunate part for Campbell is that they actually scored more points in that matchup than they did in the first meeting between the two teams.
The Fighting Camels earned a chance at a third matchup between the two teams by beating Presbyterian 68-63 in the first round. Campbell went into halftime with a seven-point lead, but after being outscored 36-34 in the second half, the game ended much closer than most expected. Jay Pal led the way offensively for the Fighting Camels with 19 points and was crucial from the free throw line going 8 for 10 in the game.
Longwood is currently listed as -6 point favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Lancers are 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams and possess a style of play that the Fighting Camels don’t seem to be able to put up a fight against. The average margin of victory for the Lancers over those last five matchups is 14.2 points, and while I’m not expecting that big of a defeat today, I think the Lancers can still cover for the sixth straight meeting.
Both teams run at slow tempos, but based on the matchups this season, the Fighting Camels are the ones who suffer from the slow pace. Campbell has struggled offensively in both games despite having better overall shooting numbers than the Lancers for the year. In their most recent matchup, Campbell attempted one more field goal attempt than the Lancers but still lost by 24 due to a 36% shooting night.
Longwood also possesses an advantage on the boards, as they outrebounded Campbell in both matchups and also rank 55th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. The Fighting Camels are 256th in defensive rebounds per game this season, and with possessions coming at a minimum, Longwood getting second-chance opportunities makes a huge difference.