West Region Second Round Betting Preview: #14 Georgia State Panthers vs #3 Baylor Bears

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round
Veterans’ Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, Florida
#14 Georgia State Panthers vs #3 Baylor Bears
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 1:40 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Baylor -7 1/2 (-125)
Current Line: Baylor -9
Opening Total: 130 1/2
Current Total: 127 1/2
Opening Money Line: Baylor -425 / Georgia State +340
Current Money Line: Baylor -470 / Georgia State +375

The beaylor bears are 9 point favorites against Georgia state in the West region second round in Jacksonville Thursday.
The beaylor bears are 9 point favorites against Georgia state in the West region second round in Jacksonville Thursday.

Both the Baylor Bears and Georgia State Panthers are 24-9 this season as they meet in the West region second round Thursday in Jacksonville. The winner of the game will face Xavier, BYU or Ole Miss in the third round Saturday. Baylor and Georgia State have never met on the court before this game.

Georgia State won both the Sun Belt regular season title and the conference tournament to clinch their third ever NCAA bid and first since 2001. The Panthers went 15-5 in conference during the regular season and then beat Georgia Southern 38-36 in the Sun Belt championship Sunday. The game was memorable because GSU coach Ron Hunter tore his Achilles’ tendon during the celebration. He will coach Thursday wearing a hard cast.

Baylor went 11-7 in the Big 12 and tied for fourth with West Virginia. The Bears beat West Virginia in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament before losing to Kansas 62-52 in the semifinals last Friday. Baylor is making their fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2008 including a Sweet 16 run last season.

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Georgia State has road losses to Iowa State, Colorado State, Old Dominion, Green Bay, Louisiana-Lafayette, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, and Arkansas-Little Rock, plus a home loss to Texas State. The Panthers have home wins over Green Bay, Southern Miss, UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette, and Georgia Southern, along with road wins over Oakland, IUPUI, and UL-Monroe. The Panthers have won 9 pf the last 10 games including 5 straight. GSU is 15-17 ATS and the total is 12-13 this season. The Panthers were 6.5 point favorites against Georgia Southern in the Sun belt title game and the total was 125.5.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Illinois in Las Vegas, road losses at Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State Kansas and Texas, and home losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State. Baylor has road wins at South Carolina, Vanderbilt,  TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Iowa State,  a neutral site win over Memphis in Las Vegas, and home wins over Stephen F. Austin, Texas Southern, Texas A&M, New Mexico State, Iowa State Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, Kansas State, West Virginia and Texas Tech. The bears have won six of their last seven games. Baylor is 15-11-1 ATS and the total is 14-12-1 this season. The Bears were 1.5 point underdogs against Kansas  and the total was 134.5.

Georgia State is outscoring teams 72-62 this season. The Panthers are #64 or better in both categories nationally. GSU is shooting 48.1% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. The Panthers are #17 nationally in field goal shooting. GSU is #49 nationally in free throw shooting at 72.8% from the line. Opponents are shooting 38.1% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range. The Panthers are #9 nationally in field goal defense. GSU averages 32.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2. The Panthers average 13.6 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 9.1 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.6 assists, 15.2 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 2.4 blocks per game.

Coach’s son R.J. Hunter averages 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 1 block per game. Guard Ryan Harrow averages 18.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He only played 6 minutes total in the Sun Belt Tournament after suffering a bruised hamstring. He is probable Thursday. Markus Crider averages 9.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Kevin Ware averages 7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 rebounds. College Basketball fans might remember Ware suffering a horrific broken leg a couple of seasons ago when he was playing for Louisville’s national championship team. Ware scored 18 of GSU’s 38 points in the Sun belt title game. Curtis Washington, T.J. Shipes, and Ryann Green will also get minutes in the rotation. Guard Jeff Thomas is ineliglble for the season.

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Baylor is outscoring teams 70-59 this season. The Bears are #21 nationally in points allowed. Baylor is shooting 43.5% from the field and 38.5% from 3 point range. The Bears are #41 nationally in free throw shooting. The Bears make 66.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.5% from the field and 28.9% from 3 point range. The Bears are #38 in field goal defense and #9 in 3 point defense nationally. Baylor averages 40.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.4 per game. The Bears are #5 nationally in rebounding. Baylor averages 15.1 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 15 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.

Forward Taureen Prince averages 13.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1 block per game. Kenny Chery averages 11.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Rico Gathers averages 11.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Royce O’Neale averages 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Johnathan Motley averages 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Lester Medford averages  8.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Al Freeman, Deng Deng, and Ishmail Wainwright will also get minutes in the rotation.

Georgia State is 9-3 ATS in Thursday games, 1-4 after allowing less than 50 points, 1-5 in non-conference games, and 0-3-1 after scoring less than 50 points.

Baylor is 6-1 ATS in Thursday games, 4-1 against teams with winning records, 9-3-1 after failing to cover, 8-3 in non-conference games, and 5-2 overall.

Don’t let the 38-36 win in their last game fool you. Georgia State is a very dangerous team especially on defense. The Panthers were playing without one of their top scorers in Harrow in that game. Baylor certainly has more talent, but I think the Panthers hang around and make this a close game.

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