The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns might be an eight-seed in the Sun Belt Tournament, but they sure haven’t played like it.
Louisiana has a chance to punch its ticket into the NCAA Tournament with a win tonight against the No. 3 seed Georgia State Panthers, who excel as a defensive unit. The Panthers didn’t expect to be college basketball betting favorites going into the conference championship — but here we are with GSU laying the point with a spot in the Big Dance on the line.
This is March! Here are our free college basketball picks and predictions for the Sun Belt Championship, featuring Louisiana vs. Georgia State, on Monday, March 7.
Louisiana vs Georgia State odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Georgia State opened as a 2.5-point favorite and while many books haven’t moved, some outlets have shifted to Panthers -3 as of early Monday morning. Meanwhile, the total has shifted in both directions place after opening at 137 — some outlets are showing 136.5 and trending down, while others have gone the other way up to 137.5.
Louisiana vs Georgia State predictions
Predictions made on 3/7/2022 at 7:54 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Louisiana vs Georgia State game info
• Location: Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola, FL
• Date: Monday, March 7, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN 2
Louisiana at Georgia State betting preview
Louisiana: Kobe Julien F (Questionable).
Georgia State: Joe Jones III C (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Panthers are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Louisiana vs. Georgia State.
Louisiana vs Georgia State picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will play their fourth game in five days, but such is life when you're a low seed making a run through a conference tournament. ULL started off the Sun Belt Tournament with a win over Texas-Arlington and then defeated Texas State. After that, the Ragin' Cajuns dominated Troy and now they're in the championship game.
Meanwhile, Georgia State won two close games against Arkansas State and Appalachian State, by a combined total of eight points, but those are wins nonetheless.
These two teams played in the final regular-season game of the season, where Louisiana lost 65-58 to Georgia State in a defensive battle. It was a similar outcome earlier in the year as well when Georgia State won 68-64 in late January.
Louisiana has turned the ball over 19% of the time this season (343rd in the nation) but counters those lost attempts by getting second-chance buckets, as it plays big on the glass, earning 31.5% of available offensive rebounds (38th in the country).
Meanwhile, Georgia State is an elite pressure defense, forcing turnovers on 22.9% of opponent possession. While its perimeter defensive hasn’t been good (giving up 38% opponent 3PT percentage), the Ragin Cajuns are a mediocre 34.3% from deep (137th in the country) and the Panthers have held opponents to 45.3% shooting inside the arc (20th in the country) — with ULL sitting 280th nationally in 2-point percentage (47%).
While Georgia State has the defensive advantage against ULL, the Panthers aren't the most efficient offense either. They're 349th in the nation with a field goal percentage of 38.9%, including just 31.3% from three, and Louisiana's long, athletic roster presents matchup problems on the defensive end against most teams.
Despite both being strong defensively, these clubs do have a tendency to foul at a high rate. However, Louisiana is better at getting to the line and converts those free points at a much better rate than Georgia State.
If the Ragin' Cajuns can exploit GSU's weak perimeter defense, and convent extra free points at the charity stripe, it should be enough for them to cover this slim spread — and even win the game outright.
Prediction: Louisiana +3 (-110)
Neither of the regular-season matchups between these teams saw either club reach 70 points, as both games fell Under the totals of 141 and 142. But now the oddsmakers have adjusted and tonight's total sits at 137 — where the Over can cash with both teams again falling short of the 70-point threshold.
But will they do it?
Georgia State averaged 70.4 points per game this year, but it's topped 70 points just three times in its last 10 games (67.1 ppg) and it looks like the Panthers are really showing more effort on the defensive side right now.
And unless Louisiana shoots at an incredible rate from deep — its best chance at exploiting the GSU defense — we don't see it lighting this game up either, so it's a good bet that defense sets the tone early and keeps this game Under the total.
Both teams have held opponents to very low shooting percentages inside the arc this season and that won’t change tonight.
Prediction: Under 137 (-110)
So far, it looks like most of the action is on Georgia State tonight, as the Panthers went from -2.5 to -3 at most outlets.
However, Georgia State’s offense can get ice cold and if Louisiana can limit the turnovers tonight, the Panthers could shoot themselves out of this game.
GSU is playing great basketball on the defensive end but Louisiana can really work the glass, get second chances, and carve out some extra points at the foul line.
Give me Louisiana.
Pick: Louisiana +3 (-110)
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