The stage has been set for Saturday’s Atlantic Sun Championship showdown between the No.1 Mercer Bears and the No.2 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles after both teams cruised through their first two games in this tournament.
The Bears hammered Lipscomb 82-48 as 14-point favorites in the first round, but had to settle for a PUSH as 8-point favorites in a 72-64 win over USC-Upstate. The Eagles covered as 5.5-point favorites in a 73-63 victory over North Florida and made it 2-0 against the spread with a 72-58 romp against Stetson as 6.5-point favorites.
Bovada did not post a line for the two regular season meetings between these two, but each team grinded out a tight win at home, so you can pretty much expect this matchup to remain close right down to the final buzzer.
The Bears sport records of 23-10 and 2-3 ATS heading into this battle, while the Eagles have 23-10 and 3-0 ATS marks on the season. The OVER/UNDER records are 3-1 for the Bears and 1-2 for the Eagles. Watch for the opening lines at 5Dimes.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Odds Shark Power Rankings have the Bears at No. 141 and the Eagles at No. 65 heading into this contest. Handicapping models at Odds Shark project a 73-72 result in favor of the Bears.
How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Mercer's No. 235 nationally ranked offense (65.2 points per game) against a Eagles defense that sits as the No. 175 at 66.5 PPG. The Bears have been averaging 43.5% from the field, less than the Eagles have managed so far this season (45.9% on average).
Defensively, Florida Gulf Coast features the nation's No. 307-rated defense on the road, allowing 75.9 points per game. Mercer, meanwhile, comes in at No. 192 nationally in scoring at home.
Florida Gulf Coast won its last outing, a 72-58 result against Stetson on March 8. They covered in that game as a 7-point favorite. Sherwood Brown scored 18 points leading the Eagles to a 72-58 victory over Stetson at Mercer University Center on Friday.
In their last action, Mercer was a 72-64 winner at home against USC Upstate. They covered the 7-point spread as favorites. Bud Thomas scored 20 points leading the Bears to a 72-64 victory over USC Upstate at Mercer University Center on Friday.