If you like offence in college basketball, Friday afternoon’s East Region matchup from San Diego could be the highest-scoring first-round NCAA Tournament game as No. 13 Marshall and No. 4 Wichita State face off. Both are among the nation’s highest-scoring teams.
NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis
It’s well-documented how much success over the years a No. 12 seed has had against a No. 5. How about a No. 13 vs. a No. 4? From 2008-13, a No. 13 seed won at least one game in every NCAA Tournament. However, they have just one combined victory in the past four years. Only three times have two 13 seeds won a first-round game in the same tournament.
It’s the sixth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance for Marshall, which is 0-5, and first since 1987. The Thunder Herd are taking a sizable lean at Sports Interaction on the spread as of now.
Wichita State has been one of the most successful mid-major programs in recent years under coach Gregg Marshall as the Shockers make their 15th NCAA Tournament appearance and seventh straight. They have won at least one game each of the past five years and reached the Final Four in 2013. Last year, WSU knocked off Dayton in Round 1 but lost by three to Kentucky in the second round. The school’s overall record in the Big Dance is 18-15.
The winner faces No. 5 West Virginia or No. 12 Murray State.
Marshall Thundering Herd
Marshall (24-10) is coached by Dan D’Antoni, brother of Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. If you know anything about Mike, it’s that he wants his team to play as fast as possible. Brother Dan has the Thundering Herd playing the same way as they put up 84.3 points per game (12th nationally) and have the country’s sixth-fastest tempo. Guard Jon Elmore led C-USA in scoring at 22.8 ppg and assists (6.9 apg) – first player in C-USA history to lead the conference in points and assists in consecutive years – and fellow guard C.J. Burks was third in scoring (20.5 ppg). Marshall finished fourth in the regular-season standings but beat favoured Western Kentucky by a point in the conference tournament title game. Elmore had 27 points, including a C-USA title game record seven 3-pointers.
Wichita State Shockers
Wichita State had been getting some unfair seeds in the NCAA Tournament despite dominant regular seasons, so the school decided to move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the American Athletic Conference for improved competition. All five Shockers starters are back from last year’s team (only three schools brought back a higher percentage of minutes), and they finished tied for second in the regular season. WSU lost to Houston in the AAC semifinals – the Cougars are also in the Big Dance. Wichita scores 83.0 points per game (19th) and is a terrific rebounding (40.5 rpg, ninth nationally) and passing (18.5 apg, third) squad. Point guard Landry Shamet (15.0 ppg, 5.1 apg) is a future NBA player. It’s the first time Wichita faces Marshall since the 1941-42 season. Gregg Marshall was an assistant coach at Marshall from 1996-98 and his assistant, Donnie Jones, was the head coach for the Herd from 2007-10.