Providence First Round Spread vs. South Dakota State is Shortest by a Top-4 Seed in 37 Years

Providence First Round Spread vs. South Dakota State is Shortest by a Top-4 Seed in 37 Years article feature image

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Providence head coach Ed Cooley

Rarely does a college basketball coach, whose team won a regular season major conference title and has a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, have the opportunity to give a "They Don't Respect Us" speech before a Round of 64 game.

But that's exactly what Providence coach Ed Cooley might do.

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The Friars are only 2-point favorites over No. 13 South Dakota State, the shortest favorite in an opening game for any top-four seed since 1985. Vanderbilt in 2010, Dayton in 2003 and Utah in 1991 were each 2.5-point favorites.

Vanderbilt and Dayton actually lost outright (to Murray State and Tulsa, respectively), while Utah covered.

So how did we get here?

Providence won the Big East with an impressive 24-4 record, but lost to Creighton by 27 in the conference tournament final. South Dakota State meanwhile is 30-4, but has won 21 straight games heading into the brackets.

And with seemingly every analyst loving the Jackrabbits, who appropriately jack up threes and hit them, the betting public seems to be loving them as well.

At BetMGM, which has Providence at -2.5, the Friars only have 38 percent of tickets and 26 percent of the money in this game. At FanDuel, where the number is at -2, the Friars have 48 percent of the tickets and 42 percent of the money.

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