Tennessee Tech (19-13) at Georgia State (21-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (4,500) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. CIT Record: Tennessee Tech 0-1, Georgia State 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads 2-0
GAME NOTES: The fourth-annual CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament will kick off with a matchup between the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles of the Ohio Valley Conference and the Georgia State Panthers of the Colonial Athletic Association at GSU Sports Arena this evening.
As is the case with many postseason matchups, these squads don't have a ton of head-to-head history with only two meetings all-time, both resulting in wins for Tennessee Tech. The last time these squads met was in 2002 in the NIT.
Tennessee Tech will be making its second straight appearance in the CIT and sixth postseason bid in school history. Last season the Golden Eagles fell in the first round to Western Michigan and will try to reverse that outcome and post their second straight 20-win season. The Golden Eagles made it all the way to the semifinals of their conference tournament but fell to mid-major powerhouse Murray State, 78-58.
Georgia State put together the second best season in school history this year at 21-11 which earned the Panthers a bid to the postseason for only the fourth time in program history, although three of those have come in the past 11 years. The teams win total of this season trails only the 2001 NCAA Tournament squad that win 29 games. Georgia State lost a heartbreaker, 61-59, to George Mason in the CAA Tournament.
Tennessee Tech was no match for the Racers, falling by 20 points to the nationally-ranked power. The Golden Eagles converted on only 39.3 percent of their shots from the floor and turned the ball over 19 times to waste a 31- point explosion from Kevin Murphy.
Murphy is one of the better scorers in Division I and finished the season ranked 10th nationally in scoring (21.1 ppg). Murphy has really turned it on down the stretch scoring at least 21 points in each of the last four games, while also having a 50-point performance under his belt this year. Pairing with Murphy is junior forward Jud Dillard (17.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg), which gives the Golden Eagles the third highest scoring combination in the country this season as well as a dominant scorer both in the paint and on the perimeter. Senior point guard Zac Swansey (8.1 ppg, 6.0 apg) has been effective in getting the ball to others and finished the season ranked at the top of the OVC in assists.
Georgia State watched its CAA Title hopes dashed on a last-second reverse layup from George Mason's Bryon Allen in the CAA quarterfinals. The Panthers did well defensively but struggled on offense, shooting just 37.3 percent from the floor, while losing the battle on the boards (38-33).
The quarterfinal loss was a microcosm of the Panthers' season, as they have consistently played stellar defense but have been inconsistent at the offensive end. Georgia State was the 18th best defensive team in Division I, in terms of scoring defense (59.2 papg). The effort begins in the middle with Eric Buckner (11.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg), who was a All-CAA Third Team and All- Defensive Team selection this season after setting a school record with 109 blocked shots (conference-best 3.4 bpg). The senior forward also finished as one of the better scorers on the squad, although Jihad Ali (12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Devonta White (12.4 ppg) led the way. The numbers for Josh Micheaux (7.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.5 apg) don't jump off the page, but he led the team in assists this season, while playing well defensively and providing another rebounding force.
High-octane offense meets rock-solid defense in this matchup. Georgia State has the benefit of playing at home where the Panthers were 12-3 this season. After a year of playing against strong competition in the CAA. GSU should be able to slow down the Golden Eagles and earn a win here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia State 65, Tennessee Tech 59
03/13 10:42:08 ET