NCAA Basketball Picks: LA-Lafayette vs. Georgia State

Joe Catalano

Sunday, March 16, 2014 12:33 PM GMT

It’s the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (22-11) vs. the #1 seed of the Sun Belt Conference, the Georgia State Panthers (25-7), for the conference title to see who moves on and gets the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

The Ragin' Cajuns, the #3 seed team, are lucky to be here as they just squeaked by the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the semifinals, 73-72, while the top seed had it much easier in a 72-45 blowout of Arkansas State.

Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 pm ET at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. This game can be seen on ESPN 2.

Despite having somewhat of a home court advantage, the ULL is a 7 point betting underdog and the total for the game is a hefty 150.5.

A Shootout

The betting total says it all as the Cajuns average 81.4 points per game and the Panthers average a respectable 77.9. Georgia State has dominated the conference at 17-1 and a win here would put an exclamation point on their work up until now and secure them a bid at the Big Dance.

The Panthers are led by the trio of R.J. Hunter (18.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 40% 3-point shooting), Ryan Harrow (17.3 points, 4.3 assists), and Manny Atkins (14.5 points, 6.2 rebounds). Harrow has been the consistent go to player as of late as he’s had 18 points or better in his last 3 games, but Atkins’ services will be needed as the Ragin Cajuns are a strong rebounding team. This is the one major advantage for ULL, but will it be enough?

Check out the top NCAA Basketball Championship Betting Odds

Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long

They sound more like NFL players, but make no mistake about it; these are two of the top players in the Sun Belt Conference. Elfrid Payton is coming off of a huge game over Western Kentucky in which he had 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists while shooting 11 for 15 from the field. This is a guard that can do it all; a modern day Oscar Robertson if you will.

The other half of this duo, Shawn Long, is a walking double-double. Long will have no problem controlling the boards in this game at 6 foot 9, 245 pounds as he averages 18.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per ball game. Long will need a bounce back game as he’s coming off of an awful performance in the 1 point win in the semifinals to Western Kentucky. He scored just 9 points and had 3 rebounds and only played 19 minutes due to fouling out. Look for Long to give the top seeded Panthers a run for their money as the stakes have risen.

Trends

The Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-13-1 ATS in their last 18 games against a team with a S.U. winning record

Under is 8-2 ATS in Ragin’ Cajuns last 11 games following a ATS loss.

Panthers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.

Outcome

If you look at the trends, it will have you convinced that the Panthers will dominate, but look for the Ragin’ Cajuns to keep this game within 7 points as they have plenty of firepower and protection on the boards to keep this game close or possibly win.

Pick- Louisiana- Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns +7 at Bet 365

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