The bracket for the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament has been released, so there are millions of brackets being made across the world.
One game that should garner the attention of fans is the No. 4 and No. 13 matchup of the Providence Friars and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the Midwest region.
Providence comes into this game with a 25-5 record, while South Dakota State carries an impressive 30-4 record.
The Friars were unable to win the Big East tournament, but the Jackrabbits were able to secure the Summit League championship to guarantee their bid into the tournament.
Will Providence be able to hold off South Dakota State’s high-scoring offense on Thursday night’s March Madness schedule?
Providence vs South Dakota State Odds
Providence vs South Dakota State’s CBB gameday odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook and current as of March 14.
- Moneyline: Providence (-130) vs South Dakota State (+110)
- ATS: Providence -2 (-110) vs South Dakota State +2 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 149.5 (-110) / Under 149.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Providence 75.75, South Dakota State 73.75
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Providence vs South Dakota State Prediction
We’ve seen at least one No. 13 seed take down a No. 4 seed in 26 of the last 36 tournaments. I believe South Dakota State is going to be a popular upset pick in the first round, and who am I to disagree?
While the Friars play at a slower pace and rely on their big man Nate Watson, the Jackrabbits boast an efficient offense that can shoot it lights out from deep.
South Dakota is second in the nation in scoring as they recorded 86.7 points per game, with Gonzaga being the only team to score more than them in Division I basketball.
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Besides having the ability to score, the Jackrabbits score efficiently as they notched the best effective field-goal percentage of any team in the nation at 59.7%.
Coming into this game, South Dakota State has won 21 consecutive games and is arguably the hottest team entering the tournament.
Meanwhile, Providence was considered to be the luckiest team this season, according to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, and they recently suffered a blowout loss to Creighton in the Big East tournament.
Providence vs South Dakota State Score Pick
South Dakota State 83, Providence 76
If the Friars had an elite defense that was stifling teams every night, then I’d have confidence in them being able to defeat the Jackrabbits.
However, with South Dakota State converting 44.2% of their three-pointers (best in the nation), Providence could be in trouble if they are unable to control the pace of the game.
Even though the Jackrabbits’ have the second-worst adjusted defense in the tournament, their outside shooting could make them a tough out for any team.
Providence vs South Dakota State Best Bets
South Dakota State +2 (-110) at Caesars
WAGER: 1 unit
The Jackrabbits own one of the best offensive units of any team in the tournament. Despite being an undersized team, South Dakota State was able to go 18-0 in conference play, in large part due to the contributions of junior guard Baylor Scheierman.
When it came to covering the spread, South Dakota State posted an 19-14-1 record against the spread while Providence was 17-13 against the spread. The main concern with the Jackrabbits is that they could go cold from deep and we’ve seen teams like these fold under pressure when people expect them to force an upset.
I could see South Dakota State winning outright, so I’ll side with them being able to cover the two-point spread on Thursday.
Over 149.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
WAGER: 1 unit
Scoring shouldn’t be an issue in this contest, as long as the Jackrabbits are knocking down their shots. Even with Providence playing at a slower pace, they hit the over in 16 of their 30 games, and while South Dakota State had higher projected totals, they still achieved the over in 18 of their 34 contests.
During the season, South Dakota State and Providence combined for an average of 158.5 points per game.
As long as the Jackrabbits can continue shooting at an efficient rate, and the Friars can take advantage of a weak South Dakota State defense, this game could easily hit the over of 149.5 points.