East Tennessee State vs The Citadel Preview and Prediction
East Tennessee State vs The Citadel Preview
Sporting the nation’s third longest winning streak at 12 games, the ETSU men’s basketball team will continue its trek through Southern Conference play Monday night, as the Buccaneers take on The Citadel inside McAlister Field House.
The first-place Bucs, who have won 16 of their last 17 games and are 8-3 on the road this season, are 18-4 overall and 9-0 in SoCon action following a critical 75-62 road win at Wofford on Saturday night. Meanwhile, The Citadel is also fresh off an impressive road win Saturday over Mercer, standing at 7-13, 2-6 on the season.
Currently ranked 5th in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the Bucs are also ranked in the Top 60 in both the KenPom Power Rankings and the NCAA RPI. The last Bucs’ squad to post a longer winning streak was the 2003-04 Bucs, who won 16 in a row and went 15-1 in SoCon play.
Coach called it
When Steve Forbes was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ETSU on March 31, 2015, he promised that the Buccaneers would have a program of “first, best and most”. Less than two years later, Forbes made good on that guarantee as he guided the 2016-17 ETSU men’s basketball team to a 27-win season, both a Southern Conference regular season and tournament title, and a 10th trip all-time to the NCAA Tournament.
Overall, the Bucs have combined to win more games than any other program in the SoCon over the last two years (51) and have made back-to-back appearances in the league’s tournament championship game.
In his three seasons at ETSU, head coach Steve Forbes has a winning percentage of .742 (69-24), which ranks 13th nationally among active coaches with at least three years of NCAA Division I experience. While names such as Mark Few (Gonzaga), Roy Williams (North Carolina), John Calipari (Kentucky) and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) are ahead of Forbes on the list, ETSU’s head coach does rank ahead of coaches Gregg Marshall (Wichita State), Bruce Pearl (Auburn), Jamie Dixon (TCU), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Archie Miller (Indiana), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Steve Alford (UCLA).
Monday marks the 57th all-time meeting between the two programs with ETSU holding a 40-16 advantage in the series. The Bucs have won the last four meetings, including a 90-69 victory over the Bulldogs back on Feb. 9, 2017.
The Citadel scoop
There isn’t much to be said about the The Citadel basketball program. They are a fun team to watch, mainly because they score in bunches and give up even more on the defensive end.
Coming off an impressive win over preseason SoCon favorite Mercer, the Bulldogs are looking to keep that momentum going.
The Citadel has struggled since the departure of leading scorer and reigning freshman of the year Preston Parks, who was dismissed from the team after six games this season (he will be transferring to UT-Martin).
In his absence, junior guard Matt Frierson has stepped up, leading the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game.
There is no doubt East Tennessee State will win this game. The Citadel does not have the defensive prowess to stop the Bucs on the defensive end of the floor.
LINE: -18 ETSU
If I’m placing a wager on this game, I am siding with ETSU and laying the points.
ETSU 101 The Citadel 80
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