- The Southern Conference Tournament starts March 4, with one NCAA Tournament spot on the line
- Chattanooga won the regular season crown, but Furman is the betting favorite
- See Southern Conference Tournament odds, seeds, bracket, and full tournament preview below
Looking for a mid-major that could make some noise during March Madness? It could be a team from the Southern Conference.
Their 10-team conference tournament kicks off Friday from Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina, with the tournament winner gaining the lone bid into the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
The Chattanooga Mocs won the regular season crown and the tourney’s top seed — which should be significant, as the top seed has gone on to win the tournament the last seven years.
However, they’re looking up at the tournament favorite in the betting odds.
2022 Southern Conference Tournament Odds
|East Tennessee St||+2000|
Odds from Barstool Sportsbook on March 1.
The Furman Paladins enter as a +150 favorite, followed by Chattanooga at +250. The Mocs are looking for a third straight tournament title and trip to the dance.
Southern Conference Tournament Breakdown
There are two first-round games, and those winners will play Chattanooga and Furman, the top two seeds, as part of a four-game quarterfinal Saturday. These games can all be seen live on ESPN+.
The four winners will advance to semifinal Sunday, which can be seen on ESPNU. It wraps up with the title game on Monday, March 7, tipping off at 7pm ET. You can watch the final on ESPN.
Whatever team does advance will be a major underdog in the NCAA Tournament odds. In our projected March Madness Bracket, Chattanooga claims a third straight Southern crown, and a 13-seed.
FanDuel Sportsbook Extends Wild 40-1 Promo Through March Madness National Championship
Furman Betting Outlook
If you’re wondering why the Paladins are the betting favorite despite finishing two games back of the Mocs in the regular season — and losing both head-to-heads — it’s likely because they have some legit offensive firepower.
— Furman Paladins (@FurmanPaladins) February 3, 2022
The Paladins are top-10 in the NCAA in three-point shooting, hitting at a blistering 38.6% clip (9th). However, they’ve launched the 2nd-most threes in college hoops this year, a whopping 968 attempts, one of only two schools to jack up 900+ (more on them later).
They’re the second-highest scoring team in the conference, and 31st in the nation at a healthy 78.3 points per game.
Conley Garrison for 3️⃣! pic.twitter.com/nNtfe4iOE6
— Furman Basketball (@FurmanHoops) January 27, 2022
Mike Bothwell led the team offensively, averaging 15.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Jalen Slawson (14.6) and Alex Hunter (13.6) were the other two players that averaged double-digits. Those three, along with Conley Garrison, each had at least 118 three-point attempts this season.
Chattanooga Betting Outlook
While Chattanooga is no slouch in scoring, putting up 75.1 points per game on the year (74th in Div I), they’ve got some mettle on the defensive end. They were second in the South in scoring defense, holding teams to 65 points per game, making them the only team to have a double-digit point differential in conference play (+10.1).
— Chattanooga Mocs MBB (@GoMocsMBB) February 27, 2022
Their biggest strength is three-point shooting defense, where they held teams to a paltry 29.9% clip for the season, tied for 25th in the NCAA. They are only one of 27 teams in the nation to hold opponents under 30%.
Offensively, they’ll go as far as Malachi Smith takes them. He led the conference in scoring at 20.3 points, while also adding 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists. David Jean-Baptiste (14.6) and Silvio De Sousa (11.2) were the other double-digit scorers this season.
Others Teams Worth Considering
While Chattanooga went 13-4 since January 1, you could argue the hottest team down the stretch was Samford. After dropping six of seven as the calendar flipped, they ripped off wins in nine of their last 10, before dropping their season finale to the Mocs.
They finished third in the conference, and that streak included wins over Chattanooga, Furman, Wofford and UNC Greeensboro — two teams ahead of them and behind them in the standings.
— LIGHT ON S🅿️ORTS (@LightOnSports) January 6, 2022
Ques Glover took over down the home stretch, leading the team in scoring in nine of the final 11 games. He averaged 19.1 points per game on the season.
Remember how Furman was a scoring dynamo? Well, VMI led the conference and was 19th in the nation in scoring at 79.5 points per game, and led the NCAA in three point attempts at 986, hitting at a 38.3% mark, 13th in Div I.
They also had the top field-goal defense in the Southern. It’s not out of the question they shoot themselves into contention.
Southern Conference Tournament Best Bet
While no team is even considered a longshot in the odds to make the Final Four, this conference is no slouch, and a 3 or 4-seed should be prepared for a tough opening-round matchup.
Furman stumbled down the stretch, losing four of their final seven, so look for Chattanooga to ride to third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament with a big weekend. Looking for a little side-sprinkle? Take a flier on Samford with those +1800 odds.
The pick: Chattanooga (+250)
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