March Madness Expert Picks: Liberty vs. Mississippi State
First round games for the NCAA Tournament East Region take place on Friday at the SAP Center in
San Jose. In the early evening matchup, the #12 Liberty Flames will be squaring off with the #5
Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Our series of March Madness Predictions continues as we take a look at this matchup in full detail.
Date/Time/TV: Fri. March 22, 7:27 PM EST, truTV
Vegas Odds March Madness
Spread: Mississippi State Bulldogs -6.5 (-110)
The Flames closed out the year on a hot streak with five straight wins. They tied with Lipscomb atop
the Atlantic Sun with a conference record of 14-2. Liberty took them down in the championship
game by a score of 74-68 as 6.5-point underdogs. Overall, the Flames are 28-6 (17-14 ATS).
The Bulldogs bring an overall record of 23-10 (17-16 ATS) to the table. The team was 10-8 in SEC
play this season, which left them eight games back of 1st place LSU. In the conference tournament,
Mississippi State fell to Tennessee in the quarterfinals by a score of 83-76 as 6-point underdogs.
Liberty was just 11-4 when the calendar turned to 2019, but the team turned it on in conference play.
The team has just a single loss since February 1, and that’s bookended by a pair of five-game
winning streaks. Over the last 10, the Flames are 9-1 (4-6 ATS).
Totals have been Under for three of the last four and skew that way on the season at 12-18-1. Scottie
James is the top option on offense with averages of 13.1 ppg and 8.8 rpg. Caleb Homesley
contributes 12.0 ppg and 2.8 apg. James led the way last time out with 17 points.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State was solid in non-conference play with a record of 12-1, but the team had its share
of struggles versus SEC rivals. They were just 1-5 against nationally ranked conference squads this
season. The Bulldogs are 7-3 (7-3 ATS) over their last 10 outings.
Totals have been Over for three of the last five and land in the middle to date at 16-17. Quinndary
Weatherspoon is the top option on offense with an average of 18.2 ppg. Lamar Peters chips in with
11.7 ppg and 5.2 dimes. Weatherspoon was the top scorer last time out with 17 points.
Liberty vs. Mississippi State March Madness Prediction
Liberty’s last tournament appearance came in 2013. They faced off with North Carolina A&T in a
First Four matchup, dropping a 1-point decision. This will be Mississippi State’s first time at the
dance since 2009. They lost to Washington in the opener by a score of 71-58.
The Bulldogs are 6.5-point favorites for this contest. The Flames are strong on defense and a solid
shooting team. An upset wouldn’t stun us, so we’re rolling with Liberty plus the points.
Liberty Flames vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs NCAA Tournament Pick: Liberty +6.5 (-110)
More March Madness betting tips: