NCAA Tournamment: Oklahoma State Cowboys (22-10 SU, 15-10-1 ATS) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (22-12 SU, 15-12-1 ATS), 7:15 p.m. EST, Friday, March 19, 2010, Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisc. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Oklahoma State -1.5/Georgia Tech +1.5
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Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech are two teams that have beaten and certainly competed with the best teams in the country this season. Both teams are capable of winning any game, but consistency and playing well on the road has been the problem. The Cowboys defeated No. 1 Kansas 85-77 on February 27 in Stillwater. They’ve also lost this season at Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Tulsa. Georgia Tech defeated Duke at home 71-67 on January 9. But the Cowboys also lost at Miami, Virginia and Georgia. Despite the inconsistencies from both teams, the Cowboys were 9-7 in conference play and the Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina (for the third time this season), Maryland and NC State to reach the ACC tournament championship game, where they lost 65-61 to Duke, so both teams received at-large bids into the NCAA tournament and will meet each other in the first round.
Georgia Tech has a significant size advantage in this matchup. The Yellow Jackets have a dynamic duo down low of Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors. They also have a 6-foot-5 point guard in Iman Shumpert. The Cowboys are very athletic, but they don’t have a ton of size. Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim are solid big men, but both are smaller than Favors and Lawal, so it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys can contain them around the basket. The Cowboys revolve around James Anderson and Obi Muonelo on the perimeter, a pair of big physical guards that can score from anywhere on the court.
Anderson is one of the leading scorers in the country, averaging 22.6 points per game. Muonelo is second on the team with 13.4 points per game and is shooting 43 percent on 3-pointers. Both strong guards are averaging more than five rebounds per game. Moses leads the Cowboys in rebounds with 8.2 per game. He is averaging 8.7 points per game. Pilgrim scores 8.3 points per game and grabs 6.8 boards per game, but most importantly he is shooting 67 percent from the field.
Lawal leads Georgia Tech with 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Favors is averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 boards per game. Shumpert is averaging 10.1 points and 4.0 assists per game, but it shooting below 40 percent from the field.
Georgia Tech’s biggest flaw is its turnovers, as the Yellow Jackets are turning the ball over more than 16 times per game. The Cowboys are committing and forcing about 13 turnovers per game, while the Yellow Jackets are forcing about 15 turnovers per game. Despite their terrific size down low, the Yellow Jackets are only averaging three more rebounds per game than their opponents, while Oklahoma State is not far behind at +1.9. The Cowboys shoot 35 percent from 3-point range, but they don’t defend the 3-point line well, allowing opponents to shoot 36 percent. The Yellow Jackets are shooting 37 percent from 3-point range and holding opponents to 31 percent. The Yellow Jackets have the advantage in both field goal percentage offense and defense at 46 percent offensively and 38 percent defensively. Oklahoma State is shooting 45 percent from the field and holding opponents to 42 percent.
The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against the Big 12, 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games as an underdog, 6-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games, 5-1 ATS in their last six neutral site games, 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS win, and 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games as an underdog. The Cowboys are 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games, 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 neutral site games as a favorite, 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games, and 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA tournament games as a favorite.
Ryno’s Pick: I like Georgia Tech to win and cover.