Mississippi State-Liberty Betting Odds: Spread, Analysis for 2019 NCAA Tournament

Mississippi State-Liberty Betting Odds: Spread, Analysis for 2019 NCAA Tournament article feature image

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mississippi State guards Nick Weatherspoon and Quinndary Weatherspoon

#5 Mississippi St. vs. #12 Liberty NCAA Tournament Betting Odds, Spread

  • Spread: Mississippi St. -7
  • Over/Under: 135.5
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: San Jose, Calif.
  • TV: truTV

Mississippi State’s Statistical Profile

Mississippi State started the season hot. Entering SEC play, the Bulldogs were 12-1, on a nine-game win streak that included victories over Clemson and Cincinnati, and were ranked No. 14 in the country.

From 12-1, however, they fell to 22-9 overall with a 10-8 record against the SEC. Their 10 wins did include one at home over then No. 16 Auburn, as well as a road victory over Ole Miss as a 2-point dog, but other than those, Mississippi State didn’t win any games that it wasn’t expected to.

Still, 10-8 was solid enough for a sixth-place regular season finish in the SEC. The Bulldogs also boasted the 16th-ranked offensive adjusted efficiency per KenPom.

This marks Mississippi State’s first tournament appearance since 2009, and 11th overall. The Bulldogs will be looking to move past the Round of 32 for the first time since their Final Four run in 1996. — Danny Donahue

  • Record: 23-10
  • Adj. Efficiency Rank: 20
  • Adj. Offensive Efficiency Rank: 16
  • Adj. Defensive Efficiency Rank: 46
  • Tempo Rank: 181

All advanced metrics via KenPom as of Friday, March 15

Liberty’s Statistical Profile

In Liberty’s first season in the Atlantic Sun after coming over from the Big South the team went 28-6 overall and 14-2 in conference. The Flames won the ASUN tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Ritchie McKay, who was an assistant under Tony Bennett at Virginia, uses a pack-line defense and plays at a slow pace. The team is led by upperclassmen Scottie James (13.1 ppg), Caleb Homesley (12.0 ppg) and Lovell Cabbil (11.5 ppg). The offense ranks 54th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive metric and the Flames have an effective field goal percentage of 56.1% – 12th best in the country.

This is Liberty’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013 and fourth overall. The last time the team was in the Big Dance the Flames lost by one point in a play-in game to North Carolina A&T but covered as 3-point underdogs. — John Ewing

  • Record: 28-6
  • Adj. Efficiency Rank: 62
  • Adj. Offensive Efficiency Rank: 55
  • Adj. Defensive Efficiency Rank: 92
  • Tempo Rank: 349

All advanced metrics via KenPom as of Friday, March 15

Mississippi St.-Liberty Instant Bracket, Betting Picks

The Bulldogs notched a fine season under Ben Howland, but their 16-15-1 ATS mark doesn’t exactly provide confidence to cover a larger spread. They’ll likely struggle defensively, facing a Flames team with the 65th-highest 3-point clip (36.6%) in the nation. Mississippi State owns a below average 3-point defense and scoring rate, respectively, too.

At the other end, Howland’s crew should be able to use its size advantage to have success on the offensive glass and in the paint as a result. But the Flames’ interior defense isn’t a weakness of theirs, holding their opponents to a 48.4% clip from inside the arc.

Look for the A-Sun tournament champs to deliver a close one, with Lovell Cabbil Jr. (44.5%) lighting it up from distance.

Early ATS lean: Liberty
Early bracket pick: Mississippi State — Eli

Sean Koerner’s Mississippi State-Liberty Projections

Sean Koerner’s proprietary projections also power our Bracket Simulator, which helps you find the most optimal bracket for your pool size.

  • Spread: Mississippi State -9
  • Total: 136.5
  • Proj Score: Mississippi State 73 | Liberty 64
  • Win Probability: Mississippi State 82.8% | Liberty 17.2%
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