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Georgia State enters its first-round contest with Houston on Friday as 11.5-point underdogs at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. But Panthers’ head coach Ron Hunter doesn’t appear to be worried about his upcoming matchup with the Cougars.
Hunter spent part of his teams’ shootaround in Tulsa out of bounds below the baseline and directed the Georgia State band before he entered the Panthers’ layup line. The nerves of March don’t seem to apply to Hunter.
The Georgia State Panthers and Houston Cougars meet Friday in the first round of the college basketball NCAA Tournament at the Bank of Oklahoma Center.
The Georgia State Panthers have won eight of their last nine games and are fresh off a Sun Belt title. The Georgia State Panthers are averaging 75.8 points on 46 percent shooting and allowing 73.1 points on 42.5 percent shooting. D’Marcus Simonds is averaging 18.4 points and 3.7 assists while Devin Mitchell is averaging 12.2 points and 1.9 rebounds. Malik Benlevi is the third double-digit scorer and Jeff Thomas is grabbing 4.5 rebounds. The Georgia State Panthers are shooting 38.4 percent from beyond the arc and 65.6 percent from the free throw line. The Georgia State Panthers are allowing 33 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 30 rebounds per game. The Georgia State Panthers have won four of their last five non-home games.
The Houston Cougars have lost just twice since January 12, but those two losses came in the month of March. The Houston Cougars are averaging 75.6 points on 44.4 percent shooting and allowing 61.2 points on 36.7 percent shooting. Corey Davis Jr. is averaging 16.7 points and 2.7 assists while Armoni Brooks is averaging 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. Galen Robinson Jr. is dishing 4.9 assists and Dejon Jarreau is grabbing 3.9 rebounds. The Houston Cougars are shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc and 70.2 percent from the free throw line. The Houston Cougars are allowing 27.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 37.1 rebounds per game. The Houston Cougars have won 10 of their last 11 non-home games.
The Panthers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Cougars are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games and 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall. The under is 7-3-1 in Cougars last 11 overall. The under is 5-0-1 in Cougars last 6 neutral site games. The under is 9-3 in Panthers last 12 neutral site games. The under is 4-1 in Panthers last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
The Houston Cougars are not just a product of their conference, as this is a balanced and dangerous team capable of making another deep run in the big dance. The problem is the Georgia State Panthers are one of the better offensive teams in this tournament and is top-20 in the country in three-point percentage. With several double-digit scorers, Georgia State is capable of pulling off an upset if those outside shots are falling. Let’s not forget that Georgia State beat Georgia and upset Alabama on the road in December, while hanging around with Kansas State. The Georgia State Panthers are not a pushover by any means. I’ll take a stab with the free buckets.