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Morgan State vs West Virginia – 12:15 P.M. Friday March 19th
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament- First Round
Morgan State +17 (-110)
West Virginia -17 (-110)
The #15 seed Morgan State Bears take on #2 seed West Virginia in the first round of the East Regional on Friday March 19th with tip off slated for 12:15 P.M. from Buffalo, New York.
Morgan State punched their ticket to the dance by winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament with a 68-61 win over South Carolina State in the finals. They won the MEAC regular season title outright with a conference record of 15-1 and are 27-9 overall. They come into this game having won 21 out of their last 23 games and seven straight.
They are led by senior G Reggie Holmes, who is averaging 21.8 points per game. Sophomore F Kevin Thompson is averaging 12.8 points and 11.9 rebounds and freshman F Dewayne Jackson is averaging 10.1 points and 4.3 rebounds.
If this trio can play to their capabilities, the Bears can keep it close with anyone.
West Virginia is one of the hottest teams in the nation coming into the NCAA’s. With their impressive run in the Big East Tournament that culminated with a dramatic two point 60-58 win over Georgetown in the final, they probably should have been a number one seed overall.
They finished with a 27-6 record overall and were 13-5 in conference play. Since losing to Connecticut 62-73 back on February 22nd, they have reeled off six straight victories including a pair of wins over the Hoyas and a season ending overtime 68-66 win over Villanova. Senior F Da’Sean Butler has been nothing short of spectacular lately, averaging close to 20 points per game and scoring game winning buckets in two of the last three games to lead the Mountaineers to the first ever Big East Tournament championship.
On the year, he is averaging a team high 17.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. With a pair of sophomore forwards; Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks rounding out a solid starting five, the Mountaineers are built to go deep in this tournament. Jones is averaging 13.5 points and 7.1 rebounds and Ebanks is averaging 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Morgan State should be able to keep this one close early as West Virginia is not known for blowing teams out.
Unfortunately for Bear’s fans, the talent difference is just too wide for them to hang in there for a full 40 minutes as they inevitably wear down late in the second.
Mountaineers are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 NCAA Tournament games
Mountaineers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite of 13.0 or greater
Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning SU record
Mountaineers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall
Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog
Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss
Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning SU record
Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as an underdog
Bears vs. Mountaineers Free Pick: West Virginia -17
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