On Friday, March 22, the Houston Cougars begin their quest towards an NCAA basketball championship as their first-round matchup against Georgia State looms. The Cougars will enter as a No. 3 seed, hoping to avoid the fate of previous “Goliath” teams which suffered opening-round upsets against “Davids.”
According to ESPN’s report, Houston is a 12-point favorite to win that opening-round matchup against the Panthers. However, those spreads often become less meaningful as overachieving or underrated schools in the tournament look to make a name for themselves. Georgia State is led by guard D’Marcus Simonds, who averaged 18.4 points and 3.7 assists per game this season. They’re the winners of the Sun Belt conference title after defeating Texas-Arlington, 73-64 in the conference tournament final.
Still, Houston is no slouch for a No. 3 seed. They were the American Athletic Conference’s top team this past season and entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 11 team in the country. Corey Davis Jr., a senior guard out of Lafayette, Louisiana will lead the Cougars. Davis currently averages 16.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per contest. Houston is also coming into the first round after losing in the AAC’s Conference title game to Cincinnati, 69-57. That was also just the third loss of the past season for the Cougars.
Still, they’ll be well aware that a No. 14 seed like Georgia State would love to be one of the tournament’s Cinderella stories. There weren’t too many major upsets on the first day of action, which could mean there will be just a few on the second day. The matchup takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, giving Houston a venue close to their home state.
The Georgia State vs. Houston first-round NCAA Tournament matchup tips off Friday night beginning at 6:20 p.m. local time (7:20 p.m. Eastern Time). Game coverage will be available on TBS for television, or NCAA March Madness apps for live streaming feeds.