NCAA Tournament Picks: Georgia State vs. Xavier

Darin Zank

Saturday, March 21, 2015 5:08 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 21, 2015 5:08 PM GMT

Georgia State tried on the glass slipper Thursday and liked it, rallying to shock Baylor in the last few minutes. The 14th-seeded Panthers will shoot for a second consecutive NCAA tournament upset when they challenge sixth-seeded Xavier Saturday evening down in Jacksonville.

Musketeers-Panthers Betting Odds
The NCAA Tournament odds opened this game with Xavier favored by 6.5 points, the total offered at 133. In the early betting many books moved the line up to -7.5, and dropped the total a notch, to 132.5.

If we go by Sagarin's PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com the Musketeers should be favored by seven points for this game.

Those who think Georgia State might pull a repeat of Thursday could bet the Panthers at +248 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

 

Musketeers-Panthers: Background
Sun Belt champion Georgia State has won six in a row, and 14 of its last 16 games, after knocking off Baylor Thursday in an opening-round game 57-56. The Panthers trailed the Bears 56-44 with three minutes to go, then ended the game with a 13-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer from the top of the key by the coach's kid, RJ Hunter, with three seconds left.

For the game Georgia State only shot 41 percent from the floor Thursday, and got out-rebounded 40-23, but committed just six turnovers, while Baylor turned it over 21 times.

With both teams shooting the ball poorly Thursday's game played UNDER its total of 125.

Including Thursday's win/cover the Panthers are now 1-1 both SU and ATS against teams that made the NCAA tournament this season; back in November they lost at Iowa State (an upset victim itself Thursday) 81-58.

Xavier opened this NCAA tournament by taking advantage of a gassed Ole Miss squad, beating the Rebs Thursday 76-57. The Musketeers led by a dozen at the half, by 18 early in the second half and never let Ole Miss get within single-digits from there, easily covering at -2.

Xavier shot 46 percent from the floor Thursday, and hit 10-of-23 from 3-point range, while the Rebs, who played a huge second half Tuesday night in rallying to beat BYU, shot just 33 percent from the floor, and made just six of 27 shots from beyond the arc.

That game played UNDER its total of 144.

Xavier only finished 9-9 in the Big East this season, but has played what Sagarin ranks as the 11th-toughest schedule in college hoops.

Including Thursday's victory/cover Xavier is now 4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS over its last five games, and 9-7 SU, 8-6-1 ATS against NCAA Tournament qualifiers this season.

 

Musketeers-Panthers Key Numbers
Georgia State is shooting 48 percent from the floor this season, while holding opponents to just 38 percent FG shooting. Both those figures rank in the top 20 in the country, although the Panthers have done this while playing what Sagarin ranks as the 186th-toughest schedule in college basketball.

With six guys averaging at least 8.5 PPG this season Xavier is shooting 47 percent from the floor, while allowing opponents to shoot 43 percent.

 

Musketeers-Panthers Betting Trends
Georgia State has played 10 UNDERS in its last 13 games, thanks in large part to some good defense by the Panthers.

Xavier has played nine UNDERS in its last 11 games, in part because it's been facing some somewhat larger totals.

 

Injury Update
Georgia State guard Ryan Harrow, who's averaging 19 PPG this season on 39 percent 3-point shooting, has missed recent action with a pulled hamstring, but the Panthers are hoping he will return to the court Saturday.

 

Musketeers-Panthers Free Pick
Georgia State is here basically thanks to a minor miracle; Baylor just pissed Thursday's game away. But momentum means a lot at the Big Dance, and at the moment the Panthers are riding a wave. Also, the line on this game appears slightly inflated. So we like Cinderella and the points in this spot for our NCAA tournament picks.

Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Georgia State +6 at 5Dimes

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