VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
BOX/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Georgia State back in NCAA tourney

ATLANTA (AP) Ron Hunter still has the stool, the one he tumbled off of when his son hit a memorable shot in the NCAA Tournament.

Advertisement

He hung on to the scooter, too, the one he pushed around on after tearing his Achilles tendon.

But the Georgia State coach doesn't plan on needing either of them this time around.

Hunter is at full strength - and confident his team can pull off another huge upset.

Maybe even two.

''I really want to get our team to the Sweet 16,'' Hunter said Monday. ''I wasn't healthy before,'' he added, having a little fun. ''We couldn't get to the Sweet 16 because I was on a scooter. But I've got both my feet. I'm ready to go. I'm healthy right now, man. I can go dunk if I want to. I'm on cloud nine.''

The Panthers (24-10) are seeded 15th in the NCAA South Regional, setting up a daunting game Friday against No. 2 seed Cincinnati in Nashville, Tennessee.

Don't expect them to be intimidated by the opponent.

Three years ago, in their last NCAA appearance, the Panthers pulled off a stunning victory over third-seeded Baylor . Rallying from a double-digit deficit in the final 3 minutes, they scored 13 consecutive points capped by a winning 3-pointer from R.J. Hunter .

The shot sent Ron tumbling off the rolling stool he was using on the sideline after ripping his left Achilles celebrating a victory in the Sun Belt Conference title game.

Hunter still has the mementos from that painful injury and memorable victory - including, it turns out, the dress shoes he was wearing when he was hurt - but they're all stored away.

These days, he's made a habit of wearing sneakers in big games, just to make sure he doesn't go down again.

''I don't have any more Achilles to tear,'' Hunter said, smiling. ''I've got to make sure I stay healthy.''

Since the Panthers wrapped up another Sun Belt title Sunday, there's been plenty of reminiscing about their last NCAA appearance.

This team is eager to leave its own mark.

''We feel like we're just as good if not better than the team that came before us,'' said sophomore guard D'Marcus Simonds, who was the Sun Belt's top player this season.

Given Hunter's success at Georgia State, where he's had five 20-win seasons in a seven-year tenure, the 53-year-old's name has naturally come up for openings at more prominent schools.

That includes nearby Georgia, which is looking for a new coach after firing Mark Fox .

Hunter said he's perfectly content where he is and has no plans to leave Georgia State. In fact, he's working on a contract extension that he expects to be finalized shortly.

''I'm going to squash all that stuff right now,'' he said. ''I love being here. Sometimes ... when you have success, people automatically think it's time to leave. That's really not what's supposed to happen. When you have success - which is what you want to do in life, especially at my age - you want to continue to have success.

''I am blessed to be happy. So I'm not messing with happiness.''

For that matter, the Panthers are the only team from Georgia to make the 68-team NCAA field this season.

Along with Mercer, which knocked off Duke in 2014, they're the only state teams to win a tournament game in the last eight years.

''We wanted to make sure we at least held our end of the bargain up,'' Hunter said. ''We know the people in Atlanta know we're good. But we want people in the nation to know we've got a really good basketball program here in Atlanta.''

Hunter has certainly taken note of the bracket for the South Regional, which will finish up at Philips Arena - less than a mile from the Georgia State Sports Arena in the heart of downtown Atlanta, where the team held a light workout after getting back from the Sun Belt tournament at 2 o'clock in the morning .

To still be playing when they return home from Music City, the Panthers will have to win two NCAA games for the first time in school history.

Never mind that only eight No. 15 seeds have won a tournament game since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Of those, only Florida Gulf Coast in 2013 made it as far as the round of 16.

Still, there's no shortage of bravado from this urban campus.

Especially from the guy calling the shots.

''I've got a good team,'' Hunter said, his voice rising. ''If I don't believe it, there's no way in the world these guys are going to believe it. And I believe it.''

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

---

For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
· Schwab: Big Monday Tip Sheet
· Marshall: Bracketology Update (1/19)
· Bowman's 37 leads BC to upset of FSU
· Florida F Stone out for season (knee)
· Wieskamp scores 24, Iowa routs Illini
· Marquette rallies past Providence 79-68
· Losses hit top tier of AP Top 25 poll
· Salnave helps Monmouth edge Iona
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK Hot Streaks
17-2 GPlays, 13-3 Picks, 45-18 Run
14-2 Run, 11-1 GPlays, 15-4 Totals
7-1 Saturday, 12-3 Win Streak
9-1 L10, 23-7 L30 Guarantees
7-1 L8, 29-9 G-Plays, +1,760 TY
18-7 Picks, 6-2 Totals, 5-2 G-Plays
12-3 L15 Guaranteed Plays
5-2 Last 7 CBK Picks
6-1 L2 Sat., 16-4 L20 G-Plays
4-1 L5 NCAA BK Selections
12-4 Totals, 36-19 Picks, +1,480 TY
9-4 L13 Guaranteed Plays
4-2 Saturday, 10-5 L15 G-Plays
6-2 L8 Guaranteed Plays
5-1 L6, 14-5 L19 Guarantees
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2018 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1760
Stephen Nover + 1511
Scott Rickenbach + 1480
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 1055
Joe Nelson + 687
Matt Blunt + 503
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Stephen Nover 69 %
Kyle Hunter 63 %
Scott Rickenbach 62 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1924
The Gold Sheet + 1636
Scott Rickenbach + 1630
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1190
Stephen Nover + 955
Micah Roberts + 765
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1622
Chip Chirimbes + 753
Antony Dinero + 502
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership