This is a deeply intriguing match-up between two schools that are in desperate need of coming up with a good showing in the Dr Pepper Classic.
Georgia State is off to a 4-5 start, but is 1-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, after beating James Madison. Their RPI sits at 313 (as of Monday night's games according to RealTimeRPI.com), and that is not particularly good, but they have not really been blown out by anyone. Their schedule just has not been THAT tough. They are in the very tough CAA, so they will need to play very well to contend in the conference, despite already beating one of the league favorites, James Madison.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is 4-7 on the young season, but has played the fourth toughest schedule in the whole country. They have not faired terribly against it, actually. They are the third highest ranked team in the Southland according to RealTimeRPI.com, behind Nicholls State and Sam Houston State. They are currently ranked 121 by that measure.
Brandon McGee is the only Georgia State player to average in double figures with 10.3 PPG. However, he has only started four games, and is only averaging 22.9 minutes per game. He also is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game, so he is incredibly efficient when he is in the game.
Eric Buckner is second on the team in scoring, and leads the team in rebounding. He averages 9.2 PPG and 6.6 RPG. McGee is 6-7, and Buckner is 6-10, and both are juniors. This is a solid front line for the Panthers.
McGee and Buckner combined for 63 minutes, 37 points, and 16 rebounds in the 74-72 OT loss to Georgia Southern. Buckner fouled out in just 22 minutes in that game. McGee played 41 minutes.
The guard play is not tremendous. Devonta White, James Fields, and Jihad Ali combined for nine turnovers against Georgia Southern, and only had nine assists. They combined for just 18 points. This is not a great backcourt and have not shot particularly well.
Georgia State is 85th in the country in rebounds per game, which is shown by their frontcourt of McGee and Buckner. They are only 185th in field goal percentage, despite Buckner and McGee both shooting over 50%.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is lead by one dominating player. Demond Watt is averaging 16.0 PPG and 9.9 RPG. He is shooting over 60 percent from the floor. He's a senior. In his last six games, he has averaged 16.8 PPG, scoring in double figures in each game. He is also averaging 9.8 RPG. Those games were against Bethune-Cookman, Valparaiso, St. Edwards, Marquette, Houston, and Memphis. They went 3-3 in those games. He also came up with three blocks in two of those games.
Terence Jones also plays a critical role in the Islanders offense. He turned the ball over eight times against Houston, and six times against Marquette, in the two games prior to the Memphis game (which was their most recent game). Then against Memphis, he did not turn the ball over a single time. Jones is a pretty good three point shooter, but needs to do a better job of not turning the ball over.
The Islanders are 187th in rebounds per game, and 186th in field goal percentage. They do not score a lot of points.
LEAD PIPE LOCK PREDICTIONS THAT ARE SURE TO GO WRONG
--Watt will put on a show in Chattanooga that will certainly help him land on the All Dr Pepper Classic Team.
--Watching McGee and Buckner go up against Watt will be a treat for any fan who gets out to this showdown.
--Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69, Georgia State 64. This will be a tremendous game that will come right down to the wire, but the Islanders will find a way to get it done in the end. This will be a fun game to watch for anyone that comes out to the game early for that one.