San Francisco vs. Murray State Odds, Picks, Predictions: What Should Sway This First-Round NCAA Tournament Game

San Francisco vs. Murray State Odds, Picks, Predictions: What Should Sway This First-Round NCAA Tournament Game article feature image

Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Yauhen Massalski (San Francisco)

  • Can San Francisco pull the upset over Murray State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament?
  • Our college basketball betting analysts break down how we're betting this 7- vs. 10-seed matchup.

San Francisco vs. Murray State Odds

Thursday, March 17
9:40 p.m. ET
San Francisco Odds
-110o / -110u
Murray State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By D.J. James

The San Francisco Dons will take on Murray State Racers in one of the most anticipated matchups of the entire Round of 64.

Once this game was announced, the line opened at a pick ‘em, but has since moved in the direction of the Racers. It has not moved much, though, so this game could very well come down to the last possession.

These teams are essentially evenly-matched. San Francisco tends to shoot a bit more from the outside and touts a bit more successful defense.

Murray State shoots well and can rebound, but it does not have as strong of a defense as the Dons. Therein lies the discrepancy between the two teams. Defense should provide a slight boost to San Francisco, and give it an edge on the spread.

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San Francisco Dons

By D.J. James

The Dons have the 19th-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. They guard the arc well, in particular.

Their power resides in their guards, and Yauhen Massalski on the interior. Now, Massalski (knee) won't play in this game, so this will be a detriment to the Dons’ success.

Todd Golden just announced that San Francisco big man Yauhen Massalski will not play tomorrow after reinjuring his knee in practice on Monday.

Massalski was a first-team all-WCC selection this year. Averaged 13.5 points, 9.4 boards and 2.2 blocks per game. Major loss.

— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) March 16, 2022

Frankly, even without him, the Dons kept their latest matchup with Gonzaga within 10 points. They have the bench to succeed.

That said, Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz are solid defenders. Both should be able to guard Tevin Brown and Justice Hill.

The Racers do defend the arc well (30.1% allowed from 3-point land), but this might be a bit overstated and could lead to some regression. Per ShotQuality, the Racers rank 116th in Open 3 Rate and 188th in Rim & 3 Rate. Both of these stats are crucial against a team like the Dons, as they have a strong post and love to shoot 3s.

They should be able to exploit this issue against the Racers to provide a boost and a tight win on Thursday.

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Murray State Racers

By Keg

The Murray State Racers have had one of the most historic seasons in college basketball history, going 30-2 and completing a perfect record in conference play (both regular season and conference tournament). The Racers enter the NCAA Tournament on a 20-game win streak, and have not lost a game since Dec. 22.

However, it's hard to ignore the teams the Racers have beaten along the way. They have just two wins against squads that made the tournament — Memphis and Chattanooga. And their win over Memphis came early in the season, when the Tigers seemed to be in complete disarray.

The Racers rank fifth nationally in rebound rate and 41st in steal rate. They are a balanced team that ranks inside the top 50 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Murray State led the OVC in scoring offense, scoring margin and scoring defense. The Racers are led by KJ Williams, who was first in the conference in points per game (18.2)

However, and I can't say this enough, Murray State is not this magical perfect team that will continue this streak all the way to the Final Four. The Racers have some serious flaws.

First and foremost, there might not be a team that is more untested in the entire bracket. The Racers are a young unit, and while they may be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the OVC, this isn't the OVC anymore.

Murray State also has serious issues from the charity stripe, making just 69.8% of free throw attempts (240th in the country).

Despite their rebounding statistics, the Racers are not a very tall team. Their rebounding stats, like many other numbers, are a result of the competition they have played.

Murray State is a good team, and it's had an amazing season, I just advise you to proceed with caution.

San Francisco vs. Murray State Betting Pick

By D.J. James

San Francisco has an advantage even without Massalski. The Dons will have to deal with Williams, but their bench is solid.

They shoot so many 3s, so Murray State could feel overwhelmed on occasion. Since the Dons have posted stronger defensive numbers and have the individual defenders to guard the Racers’ best offensive threats, they should be the side to take.

Pick: San Francisco +2.5 (Play to -1)

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