Two mid-major squads with NCAA Tournament hopes meet up as Gardner-Webb takes on Furman in Boiling Springs to help kickoff the 2019-20 college basketball season on Tuesday.
The game (7 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular cable TV anywhere, but you can watch it live right here on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of many Furman and Southern Conference basketball games this season, tons of other college basketball and live sports every week, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch Furman vs Gardner-Webb live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Furman vs Gardner-Webb Basketball Preview
After finishing with 20-plus wins the last three season, Furman will look to make the leap to an NCAA tournament caliber team under coach Bob Richey.
“We have the same mentality and that is going into those games was the belief that we’re gonna win,” senior Jordan Lyons told SB Nation. “We think we’re gonna get it done and as long as everyone in our locker room is locked in and believes it, that all we need.”
The matchup with Gardner-Webb is a key early measuring stick to see where the Paladins will be without the services of Matt Rafferty, who averaged 17.5 points per game and led the team in assists, rebounding, steals and field goal percentage.
“Obviously losing Raff is huge because he was one of the greatest players here ever,” Lyons said. “But we have a lot of guys like Alex [Hunter], Clay [Mounce], Tre [Clark], Mike [Bothwell] and a lot of guys that have worked really hard this offseason. We really have a lot of guys who have taken their game to another level in the spring, in the summer, and in the preseason.”
Richey didn’t sound too worried when asked about replacing his former star.
“A lot of that is because the emphasis we put on team, and that we put on being connected and playing together, and we really spend a lot of time during the offseason developing leadership and making sure we understand that, ‘hey this is gonna take a whole group,’” he said.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb are hoping to build off a season where they qualified for the NCAA tournament, losing to eventual champion Virginia in the first round as a No. 16 seed.
It will be the seventh meeting in the series, with both teams splitting the previous six contests. Furman has won two in a row in the series, including an overtime win last season.
That being said, Gardner-Webb is very hard to beat in their own building. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are on a 14-game home win streak in Paul Porter Arena and went 13-0 with their home crowd behind them last season.
Furman is currently a 3.5-point road favorite for the game with a total of 143.5. The Paladins are 7-1 in their last eight games against an opponent in the Big South conference and have covered the spread in their last six consecutive on the road.
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