Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners
Date and Time: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NIT Odds: Georgia Tech -2, O/U 120
Georgia Tech vs. Cal State Bakersfield TV Coverage: ESPN
Such an interesting matchup this is!
In the case of the Roadrunners, they were used to winning all season long. They won 22 games in the WAC this season, and though the competition certainly wasn't great, wins are wins, and they tend to get contagious after a while.
It was really hard to gauge this team at that point, of course, but now that the club has dismissed Cal, Colorado State and UT-Arlington, it's clear that it was horribly under-seeded as a No. 8.
Dedrick Basile has been a real superstar for the Roadrunners thus far in this tournament. He's just 5-foot-10, but he's been a huge scorer, putting up 18, 17 and 14 points in his three games to help CSB to get to New York.
Georgia Tech wasn't the greatest team on the planet this year, especially with just a 17-15 record. But the ACC was brutal this season, and Josh Pastner's team should be incredibly proud of how it got where it got even though it didn't make the NCAA Tournament.
This is a team that rode its defense all season long, holding teams to just 39.5 percent shooting from the floor, and that has remained true here in the NIT. In spite of the fact that the Ramblin' Wreck have played against three offense-first teams, they've held their foes to 63, 57 and 66 points respectively, numbers that were all good enough to advance and do so with relative ease. Of course, G-Tech got some help in the form of getting to play two home games before traveling to Oxford for the third round of this tournament when it should have been playing at Indiana, but winning still never should have come easily.
2: The number of Power Five teams the Roadrunners played against this year.
Both came from the Pac-12, and both games ended in covers. CSB was +17.5 at Arizona and walked away as 78-66 losers, and of course, it took care of Cal in the first round of the NIT in Berkeley. This has been a really odd team all season long when you look back at it. It's a team that was beaten by BYU by 10 and scored just 43 on SMU, but its loss on a neutral court against North Dakota doesn't look so bad after the Fighting Hawks won the Big Sky and reached the NCAA Tournament. But a lack of top flight competition still has to be a big concern heading into Madison Square Garden and flying a long ways across the country to do so.
Georgia Tech vs. Cal State Bakersfield Free Picks
Georgia Tech isn't going to be intimidated by this spotlight, and we can't help but wonder if Cal State Bakersfield will be. The Roadrunners have never, ever played this deep into March in their history, and they aren't exactly a hyper talented team in the first place. The Yellow Jackets are incredibly raw but have really come on strong this season and have sent a sign to the rest of the ACC that they're going to be tough to down in 2017-18. Pastner has quietly done one of the best coaching jobs in America this season with a team that wasn't expected to finish anywhere near .500. He'll march his Jackets into the NIT Final this week.
Georgia Tech vs. Cal State Bakersfield ATS Pick: Georgia Tech -2 at BookMaker.eu
Georgia Tech vs. Cal State Bakersfield Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 63, Cal State Bakersfield 58