At halftime, the No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga led the No. 16 seed Georgia State Panthers by just two points. With just over 13 minutes left in the game, Georgia State took a lead. Suddenly, images of past March Madness upsets and the 2018 UMBC Retrievers started flowing through the heads of college basketball fans everywhere. Could a No. 16 seed do it again?
No, they couldn't. Gonzaga finally pulled away in the latter part of the game, and it suddenly became a lopsided affair. By the end of the contest, the only people who were overly intrigued were those who bet the point spread.
Georgia State bettors survive
Georgia State opened as a 26.5-point underdog against Gonzaga. That wasn't too big of a surprise, as Gonzaga entered as the No. 1 overall seed while Georgia State entered with the second-fewest wins amongst tournament teams.
However, by tip-off, sharp money had moved Gonzaga down to just a 23.5-point favorite. It seemed people thought Georgia State could put forth a competitive effort. They weren't wrong.
When a team has a second-half lead, you usually aren't worried about their ability to cover a 23.5-point spread. However, Gonzaga gave Georgia State bettors a scare.
Gonzaga went on a 21-0 run and Georgia State didn't score for over 5:30 of game time in the second half. Gonzaga's second-half push saw them outscore Georgia State 41-13 over an 11-minute period to take a 26-point lead. Suddenly, Gonzaga went from trailing in the second half to covering the mammoth spread.
Thankfully for Georgia State bettors, the Panthers finished the game by scoring the final five points of the contest and ended up losing by just 21 points and finishing within the number. The right side ended up covering, but not without a scare.
Gonzaga still dangerous even on an off-night
Gonzaga was far from their its on Thursday, but it still won comfortably. Even though fading Gonzaga was the right side in the first round, it showed just how uncomfortable it is to bet against a team of that caliber. It certainly looked like Gonzaga was gonna cover the spread in the last few minutes.
Despite the scare, betting against Gonzaga might seem appealing to some on Saturday. The Zags open as 11.5-point favorites over Memphis, who defeated Boise State in the first round.