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NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: Georgia State vs. Baylor

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Georgia State possesses one of the best backcourts in college basketball with junior wing R.J. Hunter and senior point guard Ryan Harrow. Hunter, who is likely going to forgo his senior season to enter the NBA Draft, averaged 18.3 points per game last season and is currently averaging 19.8 points per game this season.

Harrow, a Kentucky transfer, averaged 17.8 points per game last year and is currently leading the team with 19.4 points per game on 50.4% shooting from the field and 39.0% from beyond the arc. Georgia State’s elite backcourt is further enhanced by the presence of redshirt junior Kevin Ware, who suffered a broken leg in Louisville’s NCAA Tournament win against Duke in the Elite Eight.  The Panthers are a remarkable 46-12 SU with Hunter and Harrow in the backcourt.

Ware was a valuable member of Louisville’s 2012-2013 national championship run, and he is averaging 7.7 points in 28:24 minutes per game. The lethal combination of Harrow, Hunter and Ware give the Panthers a legitimate chance to pull the upset this afternoon and advance in the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia State is averaging 72.0 points per game on 48.1% shooting from the field against teams that would combine to allow 68.2 points per game to a mediocre offensive squad. Overall, the Panthers are 3.8 points per game better than average offensively, which isn’t good enough to have a lot of success against an excellent Baylor defense that is 8.8 points per game better than average (60.3 points per game to teams that would combine to average 69.1 points per game).

However, the Bears’ stop unit has been faltering of late, yielding 66.6 points over the last five games. Regardless of that regression, Baylor still possesses a 5.0 points per game advantage over the Panthers’ attack. Georgia State’s strength is its defense that is 5.3 points per game better than average (62.2 points per game to teams that would combine to average 67.5 points per game). Even more impressive is the fact that the Panthers are limiting teams to a mere 56.8 points (38.8% FG; 26.9% 3-PT) over the last five games.

Meanwhile, Baylor takes the floor with a decent attack that is 4.4 points per game better than average (69.5 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 65.1 points per game). However, Baylor’s offense has struggled on the road this season where it has averaged just 65.2 points per game on 39.7% shooting from the floor.  The Bears are also prone to turnovers, which plays into the strength of Georgia State, who is 4th nationally in steal percentage.

Overall, Georgia State actually possesses a 0.9 points per game advantage defensively over the Bears’ overrated attack. And, in what I believe will be an extremely competitive game, the Panthers possesses a significant advantage at the free throw line where they are shooting 72.7% this season, including 73.7% over the last five games. In contrast, Baylor is making just 67.0% of its foul shots this season.

From a technical standpoint, Georgia State is 10-1 ATS in first round tournament games and applies to a very good 51-12-1 ATS NCAA Tournament situation of mine.  Grab the generous points in this NCAA Tournament game and invest with confidence.

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