Sun Belt Conference Championship
(1E) Georgia State (16-5, 8-4) vs. (4E) Appalachian State (16-11, 7-8)
- Time: 4PM PST | 6PM CST | 7PM EST
- Location: Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola, FL
- TV: ESPN2
The Georgia State Panthers are a very underrated team with a really athletic persona while Appalachian State has much the same type of a profile.
These were two teams going in opposite directions as the Sun Belt Tournament started on Friday. Georgia State has now won eight in a row. Appalachian State had lost five of six coming in, but has found new life in winning three in a row to get to the championship game.
Interestingly, the Mountaineers swept the first two games with the Panthers this season as they took 80-71 and a 74-61 wins on Jan. 22 and 23. This was before Georgia State’s last loss to South Alabama as they returned from COVID-19 protocol on Feb. 9.
In an anomaly due to COVID-19 and scheduling, they played a third game on Feb 23 where Georgia State took an 85-71 win in Atlanta.
Vs. The Spread
- The Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of ASU’s last 9 games
- App State is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 meetings with Georgia State
- The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of GSU’s last 5 games
- The UNDER has been the play though in 5 of the last 7 between the Panthers and Mountaineers
Last Time Out
The Mountaineers won their second overtime game in a row as they took a 64-61 win over Coastal Carolina after a 76-73 overtime victory over Texas State on Saturday. RJ Durhart made a layup with 51 seconds remaining to give ASU a 59-57 lead and the Justin Forrest and Adrian Delph made key free throws late in overtime to lift the Mountaineers into tonight’s championship game.
The Panthers overwhelmed Louisiana, 84-73, as they went on a 12-1 run over the late second half. Corey Allen scored 21 points to lead all scorers as the Panthers shot 45.2 percent from the field while canning 22-of-30 free throws.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Appalachian State||+7 (-105)||+250||O 135.5 (-115)|
|Georgia State||-7 (-115)||-300||U 135.5 (-105)|
Advantage, Appalachian State
Manufacturing offense has been a struggle for ASU as they rank 234th in the nation in adjusted efficiency and 284th in effective field goal percentage. However, the Mountaineers hoist the three-point shot as they took 675 from the field and made only 32.1 percent, but the flip side of that number is that the trio of leading scorers of Justin Forrest, Adrian Delph, who are averaging 21.6 points and 16.3 points, in this tournament and Michael Almonacy, who has 14 threes. The triplicate took 491 of those shots and made 35 percent. This will be a test for Georgia State who defends the three at a 33.6 percent clip.
Key Mountaineers Stat:
The Mountaineers have made double figures in threes in four of their last five outings as they have netted 34 triples in the three tournament games. The Mountaineers have taken 164 more threes than their opponents and will need another double digit effort against the solidity of the Panthers’ defensive attack on the perimeter.
Appalachian State is much in the same place as Mercer in the SoCon. The Mountaineers are tasked with winning their fourth game in four nights and unlike the Bears, the last two have been in overtime. Georgia State will ramp up a perimeter defense as they turn opponents over 14.8 times per contest.
Advantage, Georgia State
Leading scorer Corey Allen (15.2 ppg, 42/7%-3) leads a Panthers offense that led the Sun Belt in scoring (81.0 ppg) and field goal percentage (47.4%). Balance is the key word for coach Rob Lanier as GSU boasts five players in double figures. It could be a major night inside for GSU as the Mountaineers do not feature a rim protector and 6-9 forward Eliel Nsoseme and 6-10 Jalen Thomas are a pair of efficient bigs who make over 60 percent of their field goals. Appalachian State gives up only 64.1 points per game, second in the SBC, so a quick start will be welcomed by the Panthers.
Key Panthers Stat:
Guard Kane Williams is a key focal point inside of the offense as he is one of only three Sun Belt players and 61 nationally who have scored 1,000 points with 300 rebounds and 300 assists. He is tough off the dribble as he has gotten to the line a team-leading 96 times.
Appalachian State will have the Panthers’ immediate attention as GSU will harken back to getting swept in January. This is an improving team with every game as the eight-game winning streak shows. There’s a tradition of winning in Atlanta as this has been the most successful program in the Peach State as they have won more games in the last seven years (163) than any other team in the state. They have also finished in the top two of the Sun Belt in six of the last eight seasons.
Winner: Georgia State (-7) 73, Appalachian State 67