It’s Georgia State vs. Baylor as one of the feature matchups on the opening Thursday of the NCAA Tournament.
We’ve got a pick for this one.
Georgia State Panthers (24-9) at Baylor Bears (24-9)
NCAA Basketball: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm (Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena)
You can catch the game on TBS
NCAA Line: Baylor -9
Okay, we’ve got the details out of the way.
As noted above, the Bears are 9-point favs over the Sun Belt champ Panthers.
Are Georgia State going to advance to the Round of 32? In a word – no. That’s not going to happen (or at least quite unlikely).
Are Georgia State good enough to give the Bears a battle to open the tourney – that we say yes to.
Baylor, the 3-seed in the West Region, have a shot at an impressive run in this year’s bracket, but the 14-seed Panthers have the game to book a respectable showing in their one and only tournament start.
Yes, we’re a little concerned about the Panthers’ record vs. quality opponents (they’re 0-4 ATS this season as an underdog, including losses to Iowa State (81-58) and Colorado State (80-70)). And adding to that bit of concern is the “dead man walking” impression they pulled against Georgia Southern in their conference tournament final on Sunday.
That Sunday game is at least partially responsible for this line climbing up from -7.5 to -9.
But it’s also what gives us some value. This is a much better team than the one bettors saw last weekend.
The Panthers can score with an up-tempo game, while also being defensively responsible. Their last start wasn’t indicative of what this team brings to the court. Sure they give up matchup edges, that’s why they’re a #14 and Baylor’s a #3. But they have experience and will work hard at both ends. Even if they get down by double digits, we don’t expect this group to fold, but rather battle back.
They should be able to keep it close enough to cover the number.
Georgia State vs. Baylor Pick:
We’re taking Georgia State +9