Not only did Liberty capture the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament title, but it has only lost twice since December 29. The Flames are 28-6 overall and 17-14 against the spread this season, but are just 3-6-1 ATS over their past 10 games.
Mississippi State has lost three of its past five games heading into the tournament, but those three losses were to SEC tournament runner-up Tennessee (twice) and SEC champ Auburn. The Bulldogs finished 23-10 overall and 17-16 against the spread during the regular season. M-State opened as the 11.5-point favorite, but somebody fanned the Flames because the line dipped drastically to Mississippi State -7. The point total opened at 135.5 before a small jump to 137.
What is it about these No. 5 vs No. 12 matchups that make the lower seed so tantalizing? While I don’t believe Liberty will win this game outright, I do believe the Flames and Bulldogs will come down to the wire. Mississippi State averages 13 turnovers per game, while Liberty takes care of the basketball and averages 5+ steals per game. Plus, the Flames’ top-10 free-throw shooting leads me to believe they’ll take State to the final horn. I’ll take Mississippi State to win outright and the Flames to cover +7.
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