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 Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State 
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Post Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
What have been the top 2 teams in the Sun Belt so far this season will square off in San Marcos in the premiere game of opening weekend of conference play in the Sun Belt. The Georgia State Panthers, unanimously chosen as the leagues preseason favorite, will take on Texas State, owners of the leagues best record so far at 12-2 (1-0).

NET Ratings
Here's how the league looks after last night's games. Including ups and downs from Wednesday's update.

86. Texas State 12-2 (+2)
113. Georgia State 10-4 (-2)
126. Georgia Southern 8-6 (+13) - Interesting to see the bump they got from playing us close
157. ULM 8-5 (+7)
177. Arkansas State 7-7 (+35)
178. Coastal 7-6 (+46)
190. Troy 7-6 (-31)
206. Louisiana 9-5 (-37)
224. UTA 4-10 (+34)
255. App State 5-9 (-21)
285. Little Rock 5-9 (-19)
301. South Alabama 8-6 (-3)

Some interesting swings here.
- GSU beats UTA in Arlington and actually drops a couple spots. UTA goes up 34 just from keeping the game close.
- Arkansas State and Coastal get huge boosts from upset wins on the road.
- Troy and Louisiana take matching huge drops from losing those games.
- USA beat App, a team ranked above them in the ratings, and still dropped 3 spots.

A few takeaways from those things:
- Margin of victory matters. GSU needed to beat UTA handily and didn't. They drop. We only beat GS by 3 at home and see an insignificant change. A 20 point win and we probably move up more significantly. Meanwhile UTA keeps it close vs. GSU and moves up 34 spots.
- Can't get upset at home. Louisiana and Troy both did and dropped 30+ spots. We have to take care of business in Strahan against the bottom of the league.
- USA is 8-6 and has a 301 rating. SOS can kill you in these ratings and ours isn't good. If we start piling up losses, with our SOS we will absolutely plummet. We have to keep winning.

TXST News
Injury Update:
- Alex Peacock played 31 minutes vs. Georgia Southern and didn't seemed fazed by the ankle sprain at Arkansas. Peacock had a double-double (his 2nd of the season) with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Quentin Scott only played 9 minutes and did leave the game early in the first half to head to the locker room but returned later in the half. He may not be 100% but he's probably close if I had to guess.
- After the win over Georgia Southern Thursday night, Texas State is now 4-2 all time in Sun Belt Conference openers
- Despite a rough shooting night, Nijal Pearson had a career high 14 rebounds Thursday against the Eagles

Scouting Georgia State
Georgia State went 24-11 last year and 12-6 in league play, finishing 2nd in the conference in the regular season behind Louisiana. They won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship however and received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament where they lost to Cincinnati in the first round.

They were unanimously picked in the preseason to win the league this year, garnering all 12 first place votes.

So far this year, Georgia State is 10-4 overall and 1-0 in league play after beating UTA Thursday night in Arlington. They have some impressive wins on their resume already including a 91-67 beat down of in-state rival Georgia in the Cayman Islands Classic. They also beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They faced some early adversity as a key piece to their starting 5 was out to start the season in 6-4 senior G Devin Mitchell. The Preseason All-Sun Belt 2nd team selection missed the first 7 games of the season and the Panthers went 5-2 during that stretch. He was eased back into play over the course of the next 4 games off the bench, playing with a minutes restriction at first. GSU went 2-2 during those games. He re-entered the starting lineup and has started the past 3 games. The Panthers went 3-0 over those games and Mitchell was the leading scorer in 2 of them. He's currently 3rd on the team in scoring with 11.9 PPG and has been the biggest 3-point threat for the Panthers shooting 46.2% from 3.

Unquestionably though, GSU is led by 6-3 junior G D'Marcus Simonds. Simonds was the Sun Belt Player of the Year last year and was named the Preaseason Player of the Year this year. Simonds is a legitimate NBA prospect who set the single season points record at GSU last year with 742 as a sophomore. His 21.2 PPG last year ranked 23rd in the nation. He was named the MVP of the SBC tournament and was then named AP All-America Honorable Mention. So far this year Simonds is leading GSU with 19.4 PPG, which currently has him 6th in the Sun Belt. Simonds is both a slasher and a volume shooter. He'll put up a bunch of shots, about 1/3 of which will be from 3. He's not a great 3-point shooter (29.6% on the season) but he's a good interior scorer at his size and earns a lot of trips to the foul line. Simonds is an extremely dangerous scorer and can flat out take over a game. Don't expect him to come off the floor much either as he's averaging 35.5 minutes per game. Pearson and Simonds came into the league together and have had some fun games against each other over the past two seasons. Simonds edged out Pearson for freshman of the year two years ago, then Simonds separated himself from Pearson a bit last year. Pearson is off to a good start to this season and the battle between these two should be really fun to watch tomorrow night. It usually is.

The 3rd player to keep on eye on for GSU is 6-6 senior F Malik Benlevi. Benlevi technically plays the 5 for GSU but they run a system with no true center and play very small. Benlevi was the other scorer to compliment Simonds when Mitchell was out earlier in the year and is 2nd on the team in scoring with 12.1 PPG. He's also the team's leading rebounder at 5.2 per game. I'm not sure how we plan to defend GSU, but Kaspar's man defense will be stretched against this GSU offense. Benlevi has put up 80 3s this season, and is making 40% of them. If Terry/Sule are asked to defend Benlevi it could open a lot of perimeter opportunities for the Panthers. Kaspar doesn't run much zone, but GSU is the one team we play where we may see some in order to defend the small lineup and its multitude of perimeter weapons.

This game likely comes down to two things for me, and both stem from the clash between our styles of play.
TXST likes to play a 3 guard lineup that plays mostly in the halfcourt offensively and defends almost exclusively man-to-man. GSU uses a small lineup that likes to run offensively and plays almost exclusively matchup zone.
The two things that will likely decide this game are 3-point shooting and rebounding:
- GSU is an extremely dangerous perimeter team. All 5 starters can shoot for a high percentage from three. Simonds is a volume shooter that takes almost 6 threes a game, Mitchell is deadly from 3 shooting 46.2%, the third guard (Kane Williams) is the one guy who doesn't shoot a lot from 3 but he's 6/9 on the year. Both forwards are huge threats too with Benlevi (40%) and maybe as big of a threat as Mitchell is Jeff Thomas who is shooting 36.7% on the season (which may even be low by his standards, he's a great shooter). The Bobcats have to defend the perimeter and literally can't slack on any of the 5 starters when they touch the ball behind the arc.
- GSUs matchup zone will lead to a bunch of open looks from 3 for Texas State. We have to have a good game from deep to win this game as open looks will be there. Pearson, Nottingham, and Peacock will all get open looks and they need to knock them down. GSUs defense almost dares you to shoot threes and they hope they can run off long rebounds.
- Texas State has to dominate the glass. TXST leads the Sun Belt in rebounding offense, rebounding defense, and rebounding margin. GSU is last, 2nd to last, and last, respectively. If they want to run that small lineup Terry and Sule have to make them pay both scoring in the paint and in the rebounding column. They' have the perimeter advantage, we have to have the interior advantage.

Last Year
GSU dominated the series last year going 2-0 against the Bobcats. After a narrow 54-50 win in Atlanta in January last year the Panthers throttled the Bobcats 77-50 in San Marcos a month later in one of the most embarrassing losses of the season for Texas State. I remember that game and remember feeling it was one of the only times I could remember the team giving up under Kaspar. We were at the end of a long losing streak and that game was over as soon as GSU started to pull away towards the end of the first half. The last time TXST beat GSU was the 2016 SBC Tournament.

Odds/Time/TV
Texas State opened as a 3 point favorite and is now favored by 2.
Tip-off is scheduled for 4pm Saturday from Strahan. Game will be broadcast on ESPN+.


Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:18 am
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Post Re: Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
:sombrero: :sombrero: :sombrero:
:texasstate: :texasstate: :texasstate:



Some bad calls early on when we had the lead, but it should have never come down to FTs.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:15 am
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Many games come down to FTs, that's why it's critical you be able to make them.

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:42 am
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Bobcat87 wrote:
Many games come down to FTs, that's why it's critical you be able to make them.



True. It's odd that even the reliable FT shooters have been hit by the inconsistency bug.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:37 am
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SuperCat

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Post Re: Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
Off topic, so sorry, maybe should start new one. How does court(full bowl too) look for basketball, and how many fans/students are showing up to the games? Is it helping that we are ranked(still i hope) in the mid-major polls? Want to go to a game in new area, but don't want to go and be siting in a cave. Again, sorry for not right place for post, just didn't know where else to put it.


Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:10 pm
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I think it looks GREAT. I went to the Air Force game, had a great crowd, also had a great crowd for the Southern game, even though students were still on winter break. Can’t really speak to any of the other games. Some have complained about the VB lines on the court, they don’t really bother me, once the ball gets tipped I don’t even notice them. Some have complained about the court color/stain . . . again a matter of taste, not anything that bothers me. The new Jumbotron is really nice.

I’d recommend catching a game in person, if you’ve not already done so. Before the Southern game, had a Tap Room burger and beer . . . that alone is worth the trip.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:54 am
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Post Re: Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
I think they did a really nice job with the renovation. The arena looks good.

It seats 10k people, and the highest attended game ever in Strahan was 20 years ago and under 6k people, so I wouldn't expect anything nearing a sellout anytime soon. But if we keep winning games, I'd expect good crowds as soon as the students are back on campus from winter break.

Definitely worth a trip if you haven't been yet imo.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:35 am
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Bobcat87 wrote:
I think it looks GREAT. I went to the Air Force game, had a great crowd, also had a great crowd for the Southern game, even though students were still on winter break. Can’t really speak to any of the other games. Some have complained about the VB lines on the court, they don’t really bother me, once the ball gets tipped I don’t even notice them. Some have complained about the court color/stain . . . again a matter of taste, not anything that bothers me. The new Jumbotron is really nice.

I’d recommend catching a game in person, if you’ve not already done so. Before the Southern game, had a Tap Room burger and beer . . . that alone is worth the trip.




So much truth in this post. :lol: :lol: 8) 8)


Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:08 am
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x wrote:
I think they did a really nice job with the renovation. The arena looks good.

It seats 10k people, and the highest attended game ever in Strahan was 20 years ago and under 6k people, so I wouldn't expect anything nearing a sellout anytime soon. But if we keep winning games, I'd expect good crowds as soon as the students are back on campus from winter break.

Definitely worth a trip if you haven't been yet imo.




Amazing enough, there isn't much buzz around the program yet even with the winning record. That's the bad thing.

The good thing is that attendance, other than the GSU game which was mid-week and right after New Years, has been solid compared to years past. I think the fact that we went to the CIT a couple years back and we are getting local love from media (other than the AAS, which has been dropping the ball on coverage) in San Antonio and some Austin outlets will be really good for the program by mid-February.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:13 am
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SuperCat

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Post Re: Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
ok, thanks for the info. Thinking I could make a Sat. of it by going to baseball then basketball game. No luck with that----rats. Basketball is on road. :cry: Oh well, will have to go up just for basketball game soon.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:09 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
Asked on another thread, but no reply. Is the athletic dept. doing anything to pump-up teams/games? I think kids are back on campus, so is basketball being talked about? Anybody around campus? I know we are on the road this weekend(nice win on Thur.). Go Bobcats!


Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:14 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - Vs. Georgia State
BobcatBuddy96 wrote:
Asked on another thread, but no reply. Is the athletic dept. doing anything to pump-up teams/games? I think kids are back on campus, so is basketball being talked about? Anybody around campus? I know we are on the road this weekend(nice win on Thur.). Go Bobcats!




They've been more active on social media, but don't know about any specific promotions as of yet.


Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:43 am
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