2011 NCAA Tournament First Four – East Region
#16 Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners vs. #16 Alabama State Hornets, University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH
Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: UTSA -4
Current Line: UTSA -4
Opening Total: 128.5
Current Total: 129
Money Line: UTSA -190 / UAB +160
The 16th-seeded Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (19-13) and 16th-seeded Alabama State Hornets (17-17) could very well be the two worst teams in the NCAA tournament field heading into Wednesday’s East Region First Four matchup at the University of Dayton Arena. But one of them will get to advance in the NCAA tournament, with the reward for a victory being a second-round matchup with top overall seed Ohio State on Friday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Alabama State won the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament last Saturday by defeating Grambling State 65-48 in the championship game. The fourth-seeded Hornets knocked out top seed Texas Southern 73-66 in the semifinals on Friday as 1-point underdogs while the Tigers also helped them out by beating #2 Jackson State 81-75 in the semis as 6.5-point dogs. Alabama State was only one of three teams in the conference to finish with a record of .500 or better and went 11-7 against SWAC opponents during the regular season.
The Hornets have gone 4-1 against the spread in their lined games so far after covering all three games in the conference tourney. The OVER is 4-1 in those games and 2-0 in Texas-San Antonio’s two lined games in the Southland Conference tournament.
Like Alabama State, the seventh-seeded Roadrunners (-4) won their conference tourney as a darkhorse pick, beating the top three seeds en route to the championship. Senior Devin Gibson led them to a 97-96 win over East #2 Northwestern State with a triple double of a career-high 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
In the semifinals, UTSA upset West #1 Sam Houston State 79-70, covering the spread as a 6.5-point underdog thanks in part to another strong game from Gibson, who finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds. The team then finished off its impressive run with a 75-72 victory against East #1 McNeese State in the title game behind 25 points from Southland Freshman of the Year Jeromie Hill.
The Southland had eight teams finish the regular season with a record of .500 or better, building a strong case as the better conference in this matchup. However, Alabama State was the only one between the two who played another NCAA tournament team during its non-conference schedule, losing at home to Belmont 66-53 back on December 20.
Both teams have seen the opposition outscore them so far this season. The Hornets have given up an average of 64.4 points per game while scoring an average of 61.16, so they obviously play at a slower tempo than the Roadrunners. Even though they did not necessarily burn up the floor at a very fast pace like their nickname suggests, UTSA did average more points per game (70.5) than Alabama State while allowing more as well (70.7).
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