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College Basketball Odds & Pick for Georgia State vs. South Alabama: Back Panthers in Sun Belt Showdown (Friday, Feb. 26)

College Basketball Odds & Pick for Georgia State vs. South Alabama: Back Panthers in Sun Belt Showdown (Friday, Feb. 26) article feature image

Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia State’s Kane Williams.

  • Georgia State and South Alabama face off Friday night in a the first of a two-game set that will have major implications for Sun Belt tournament seeding.
  • South Alabama is the hottest team in the conference right now, while Georgia State eyes a first-round bye.
  • Kyle Remillard breaks down this matchup and shares his betting pick below.

Georgia State vs. South Alabama Odds

Georgia State Odds -2
South Alabama Odds +2
Moneyline -120 / +100
Over/Under 143.5
Time | TV Friday, 9 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Odds as of Thursday night and via PointsBet.

After being hit harder by COVID than most teams in the country, Georgia State looks to finish its season strong with two games on the road against South Alabama. The Panthers have been forced to pause play three separate times, each lasting 10 or more days. 

South Alabama started the season 8-8 and was 2-5 in conference play through the middle of January. They have since ripped off eight conference wins in a row and are sitting at 16-8 on the year.

Among those was a 70-67 victory over Georgia State two weeks ago. The Jaguars led by 12 in that first matchup with just five minutes remaining before the Panthers’ 12-0 run tied the game with two minutes left. South Alabama ultimately came out victorious and Georgia State will be looking to avenge that loss on Friday night.

When Georgia State has the Ball

Georgia State sits in third place in the Sun Belt East Division with a 5-4 conference record. The Panthers are on a win streak of their own, having won the last four games since returning from their most recent COVID interruption. Georgia State will be looking to win both games against the Jaguars in order to secure a No. 1 or 2 seed in the conference. The top two teams in the Sun Belt will get first-round byes in the conference tournament, and that’s crucial for Rob Lanier’s squad. 

The Panthers play at one of the fastest paces in the Sun Belt and get shots up without using much of the shot clock. They play with the second-fastest tempo in Sun Belt play and look to get out in transition opportunities. Georgia State is an efficient offense that scores 103.7 points per every 100 possessions in conference play, according to KenPom

The Panthers hold one of the more well-balanced offenses in the conference, with all five starters averaging double digits. The “Big 3” for Georgia State are seniors Corey Allen and Kane Williams and junior Justin Roberts. Those three have accounted for 51.6% of the team’s total points this season. Allen is the best shooter of the three, converting on 42.4% of his 3-point attempts. Roberts is more of a true point guard who leads the team in assists. Williams is the best at attacking the rim and gets to the free throw line more than anyone else on the team.

This is a strong Panthers team who has had to overcome adversity this season and looks to get on a roll heading into tournament time.

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When South Alabama has the Ball

South Alabama is the hottest team in the conference after putting together eight wins in a row. Those wins were by an average margin of 5.1 points, including four wins by just one possession. They’re leading the Sun Belt East with a 10-5 conference record. The Jaguars play at a much slower pace than the Panthers and lean on their third-ranked Sun Belt defense, according to KenPom. 

They rank first in conference play in defensive field goal percentage, at 46.1%, as well as defending the 3-point shot, holding opponents to just 30.6% from downtown. 44.6% of South Alabama’s shot attempts come from 3-point range, where they convert at a 35.1% rate. 

Coach Richie Riley has maintained a six-man rotation for the last three games with only seven players getting minutes all season. All seven of those players contribute and their stats look to be favorable, as they’re on the court for the vast majority of the game.

The offense is led by a pair of 6-foot-1 guards. Senior Michael Flowers averages 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Aiding him is sophomore Tyreke Locure, who scores 14.5 points a game and grabs 5.2 rebounds. They combined for 33 points in the first matchup with Georgia State but made just five of 19 shots from behind the arc.

Betting Analysis & Pick

This game has major implications for the seedings of the conference tournament. Georgia State is looking to move up one spot in the standings to secure a first-round bye. They own the highest adjusted efficiency margin in the conference at 2.30, compared to South Alabama’s -3.50. 

Georgia State will be running at a fast pace, forcing South Alabama to adjust to its playing style. The Panthers have more athletes to make plays in transition and the Jaguars are going to struggle to keep up offensively.

I make Georgia State a 3.5-point favorite in this spot and see value in backing the Panthers laying just 1.

Pick: Georgia State -1 | Play down to -2.5

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