The 2022 March Madness Tournament is underway starting this week with big names and big underdog predictions. However, the matchup between the #16 Georgia State Panthers and the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs is one of the least likely games to end in a shocking underdog advancement. Gonzaga has been notorious for being the elite basketball program over the past few decades, making the tournament every year since 1999 (excluding 2020 for the cancellation of March Madness due to the pandemic). Georgia State has made the tournament two out of the last five years, clinching low seeds like 14, 15, and 16. Gonzaga is the favorite to win the tournament altogether this year, but getting past Georgia State is their first challenge. This first-round game starts Thursday, March 17th, at 4:15 PM and can be watched on TNT.
Georgia State vs. Gonzaga Betting Odds
The overall #1 seed of the March Madness Tournament has the best odds to enter round two. The Bulldogs are heavily favored, as expected, to take home their first win against Georgia State. Not only are they favored to win the game, but they are also favored to win the entire tournament. Their first challenge is looking to be an easy win for them. They are favored by -23.5 (-110) points, leaving Georgia State with +23.5 (-110). The moneyline has also been placed in a giant margin giving Gonzaga -8000 and Georgia State +2500. The odds of an underdog upset are astronomically slow. This game is all in favor of Gonzaga, just depending on how large you predict the spread to be. I believe they can easily keep the spread over 23 points if they keep their starters in. If not, it might become slightly more marginal.
My Prediction: Gonzaga Wins 82-59, Gonzaga Covers
Georgia State Panthers Odds
The Georgia State Panthers secured the last seed in the West Region for the March Madness Tournament. They finished conference tournaments in the top spot in the Sun Belt Conference with a record of 18-10. The team ended the regular season in third in the Sun Belt, going 9-5 in conference play. Taking on Gonzaga is one of the toughest challenges to start off the tournament. They have not played any team in the net top 25 all season. Even when they played Richmond, the #12 seed in the Midwest, they lost 94-78. This team has potential and solid talent, but their seed in the tournament gives them the worst route to success. There is no confidence for this team to pull off the unpredictable upset of the year.
Georgia State has solid point scorers like Corey Allen (14.7 PPG) and Kane Williams (12.5 PPG), but their shooting accuracy is typically low. Their top three scorers on the team fail to shoot above 40% from the field. Their offense has big gaps that will make it very easy for the Bulldogs to advance onto the next round.
Gonzaga Bulldogs Odds
The Gonzaga offense is undoubtedly one of the best in the country. As a team, they average 87.8 points per game and hold their opponents to 65.3 points per game. They ended their season 26-3 with a 13-1 finish and Championship title in the West Coast Conference. Their most notable assets are their shooters, Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. Timme has been the face of college basketball for the past few years with his shooting ability. He averages 17.5 points per game and shoots 58.8% from the field. As only a junior, he has made a footprint on college basketball. His dominance under the basket is unmatched, and his boxing out skills lead to 6.3 rebounds per game. Holmgren is a 7-foot freshman who has unmatched skill in the paint. He averages 14.2 points per game and shoots 61% from the field. On top of that, he shoots 41% from beyond the three-point line. Timme and Holmgren are the best duos in the post in college basketball. Georgia State doesn’t have the post defenders or offensive ability to take on the Gonzaga team.
Georgia State vs. Gonzaga Picks and Predictions
This game is going to be a runaway from the first whistle to the final buzzer. The best chance Georgia State has at ever being in the lead will be to score the first basket. I think the odds of Gonzaga winning at the half and at the end of the game. The +500 odds for Gonzaga to win by 17-20 points may also be a solid bet if the Bulldogs pull their starters. This game heavily rests on the coaching strategy surrounding starters in the second half.