The Richmond Spiders (3-3) will take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-1) at 12:30 pm EST in the consolation game of the Bahamas Championship on Saturday. In last season's NIT Quarterfinals, these two teams met with Mississippi State winning 68-67 as a 4.5-point favorite.
As for this season, Mississippi State lost to Louisville 72-58, and Richmond fell to Maryland 86-80 on Thursday in the semifinals of the four-team tournament. Richmond is 3-3 against the spread, and Mississippi State is 3-2 ATS this season.
Maryland's second-half surge too much for RichmondRichmond lost to Maryland as a one-point dog on Thursday. Both teams shot fairly even from the field. Maryland made 49.1% (28-57) of its field goals overall and 43.1% (10-23) of threes. Richmond went 46.5% (30-65) from the floor and 36.4% (8-22) from three. The difference came at the free-throw line. Maryland made 20 for 25 (80%), and Richmond was just 12 for 20 (60%) from the charity stripe. The Spiders held a nine-point lead at the half but were outscored 54-39 after the break. In the loss, four Spiders reached double figures in scoring led by 6'10 forward Grant Golden with 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the floor, six rebounds, and five assists.
Before losing to Maryland, the Spiders beat Hofstra in their previous game 81-68. Richmond also has wins over NC Central 70-60 and Georgia State 94-78. This season, the Spiders' other losses were to Utah State 85-74 and Drake 73-70.
Mississippi State struggled to find shooting touch against LouisvilleAfter starting the season with four consecutive wins by 13 points or more, the Mississippi State Bulldogs failed their first test against a Power-5 opponent with talent that could match them.
Mississippi State Bulldogs had a horrific game offensively in Thursday's loss to Louisville. The Bulldogs made just 33.3% (20-60) of their shots from the field and 6.7% (1-15) from the three-point range. The Bulldogs were also outrebounded 47 to 38 by the Cardinals. Coming into the game, Mississippi State had a +7.5 rebounding margin over its opponents, while Louisville entered the game with a -7 rebounding margin.
Iverson Molinar, a 6'3 junior, led the Bulldogs with 17 points in the loss and made the team's only three-point field goal. On the season, Molinar leads the team with 16.0 points, 4.6 assists per game, and is shooting 94.4% from the free-throw line.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Richmond and Mississippi State played a thrilling game in the NIT last season, and the Spiders welcome back more firepower from the team that lost that game by one point. All-Conference first-team selections Jacob Gilyard and second-team selection Tyler Burton both played in the loss last season, but first-team selection Grant Golden did not play against the Bulldogs as he was injured. The trio is healthy for this game, and Richmond still has 6'9 Matt Grace available off the bench. Grace had 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting against Mississippi State last season. Mississippi State has Iverson Molinar back from last year's squad, but D.J Stewart Jr. who led the victory with 22 points is now in the NBA G League.
I think the wrong team is favored here, and expect revenge to be on the menu Saturday afternoon. Take the Richmond Spiders.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams rate well in offensive efficiency according to KenPom, with Richmond rated 33rd and Mississippi State 58th. Richmond has scored at least 70 points in all six games this season and averages 78.2 ppg. The Spiders are also giving up 75 ppg on the defensive end.
Mississippi State is averaging 72.4 ppg offensively, and although the defensive numbers look good, they allowed 72 points against Maryland in its first game against an offense that could test them. I recommend taking the over.