Last Updated Sep 08, 2022, 5:02 AM

Saint Peter's Peacocks vs. Murray State Racers Picks, Predictions, Odds

Metro Atlantic Tournament champion St. Peter’s will face Ohio Valley champion Murray State in the Round of 32 after both teams delivered wins Thursday night. This game is being played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, scheduled for 7:45 PM ET Saturday night, though that time will be adjusted according to the preceding game in Indianapolis between Michigan and Tennessee.    

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Score Prediction

Murray State 66, Saint Peter's 61

Best Bet

St. Peter’s +8.5

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SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS vs. MURRAY STATE RACERS PREDICTIONS

St. Peter’s has delivered the upset of the tournament, taking out a Kentucky team that was on the short list of championship favorites in the 2/15 pairing in the East region, winning outright in overtime 85-79, while closing as an 18-point underdog. It is a career-making win for Shaheen Holloway, who played at Seton Hall in the late 1990s and was an assistant under Kevin Willard before landing at St. Peter’s for his first head coaching opportunity starting in the 2018-19 season. 

The path for now 31-2 Murray State has opened significantly in the bottom of the East bracket, now a heavy favorite to make the Sweet 16 after being in a toss-up opening game late Thursday night against San Francisco. In an entertaining back-and-forth game Murray State built a nine-point lead against the Dons with about four minutes remaining but found itself needing an overtime escape in the eventual 92-87 win, narrowly covering with a closing line of -1.5. 

A top tier mid-major for the past two decades, Murray State has never advanced to the Sweet 16, losing in the Round of 32 three times since the 2010 tournament including most recently led by Ja Morant in the 2019 tournament, losing 90-62 to Florida State following defeating Marquette in the Round of 64. The opportunity is there for Matt McMahon in his seventh season with the program to lead the best showing for the Racers in program history, but he may have to do so without Carter Collins who was injured early in the San Francisco game

SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS vs. MURRAY STATE RACERS BETTING ODDS

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SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS vs. MURRAY STATE RACERS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 15 vs. No. 7
  • Region: East
  • Venue: Gainbridge Fieldhouse
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • TV-Time: CBS - 7:45 p.m. ET

SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 20-11
  • ATS: 22-9
  • O/U: 12-19

Against Kentucky the Peacocks shot nearly 51 percent for the game including nearly 53 percent from 3-point range which proved to be a big advantage in the game vs. the Wildcats. St. Peter’s also hit 18-21 from the line while Kentucky missed 12 of 35 free throw attempts. The biggest surprise from the box score in that game was St. Peter’s more than holding its own in rebounding including a 27-22 edge in defensive boards against Kentucky’s formidable frontcourt led by Oscar Tshiebwe.

St. Peter’s did play competitive games with VCU and Providence in the non-conference season to offer a reasonable prospect of being able to play up and the Peacocks hit their stride late in the season, now riding eight straight wins with dominant defensive numbers, allowing 65 or fewer points in the final seven Metro Atlantic games before clearly giving Kentucky’s offense some problems even in a slightly higher scoring game. 

St. Peter’s has excellent season numbers shooting the 3-point shot and defending the 3-point shot with a more than six percent gap in those figures and that proved to be a critical component against Kentucky with a 9-4 edge in 3-point makes. A concern for the Peacocks against Kentucky and now against Murray State is turnovers, with a turnover rate that is among the worst in the NCAA Tournament, but St. Peter’s was able to beat Kentucky even with a slight turnover deficit. 

St. Peter’s is now 20-9-1 ATS this season for an incredibly profitable campaign including 14-4 ATS in road and neutral site games, now on an 8-0 S/U and ATS run since late February. Thursday’s win was the first ATS win for St. Peter’s as an underdog of 13 or more points having gone 0-2 in the previous two tries but the Peacocks are 8-3 ATS as an underdog this season and 7-4 ATS vs. winning teams.

MURRAY STATE RACERS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 30-2
  • ATS: 16-13-1
  • O/U: 13-17

To reach Murray State’s great record the Racers obviously do a lot of things well. One can be critical of the Ohio Valley path however as two of last year’s best OVC teams (Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State) left for the Atlantic Sun this season. The OVC had just 10 teams this season and only Belmont and Morehead State provided reasonable competition for the Racers in their perfect conference season. 

Murray State played a quality non-conference schedule at first glance, picking up wins over Memphis and Chattanooga, while losing modestly by 13 at Auburn. The two-point win at Memphis came with 14 3-point makes however and Memphis early this season was not the same team that Memphis looks like right now. Murray State trailed by double-digits against Chattanooga before a great comeback while they trailed by 21 at one point vs. Auburn as it was not as competitive as the final score looks. 

Murray State also caught a huge break in the Round of 64 as Yauhen Massalski, the top rebounder and a significant interior scorer for San Francisco, was unable to play. Murray State had a 35-22 edge in free throw attempts in the Round of 64 win and escaped despite a turnover deficit while not shooting well from 3-point range. Massalski probably would shift the rebounding edge that Murray State enjoyed, and San Francisco’s effort included a poor performance from Khalil Shabazz who went 1-10 from the floor, normally the second leading scorer for the Dons. 

Murray State is 17-12-1 ATS this season and this group has gone 13-10 ATS as a favorite, commonly priced as a modest-to-heavy favorite in numerous OVC pairings. Murray State actually failed to cover in both of its OVC Tournament wins and the Racers are 6-2 ATS vs. winning teams this season, a good record, but also illustrating how few quality teams Murray State has faced this season.

Saint Peter's has covered the spread in 22 of its last 31 games. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS

  • Record: 20-11
  • PS/G: 67.5 (270th)
  • PA/G: 62.3 (21st)

INSIDE THE STATS - MURRAY STATE RACERS

  • Record: 30-2
  • PS/G: 79.7 (14th)
  • PA/G: 63 (25th)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • STPU: Daryl Banks - G (11.5 ppg)
  • STPU: K.C. Ndefo - G (10.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
  • MURR: K.J. Williams - F (18.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
  • MURR: Tevin Brown - G (16.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS vs. MURRAY STATE RACERS BETTING CONCLUSION

St. Peter’s is the 10th team since 1985 to win as a #15 seed vs. a #2 seed. Oral Roberts (Ohio State) won just last season, Middle Tennessee State (Michigan State) did it in 2016, and Florida Gulf Coast (Georgetown) did in 2013 for the three most recent instances. Oral Roberts and Florida Gulf Coast went on to win in the Round of 32 as well so the St. Peter’s Cinderella run does not need to necessarily end here. 

St. Peter’s rates a small step stronger than Morehead State, the #3 team in the OVC, who Murray State beat by four as an 8-point favorite in Evansville for the OVC Tournament as the line on Murray State with St. Peter’s coming off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history will likely be slightly elevated. Collins is not a big scorer for the Racers, but he plays significant minutes as a top perimeter defender and is the team’s best free throw shooter as his potential absence is meaningful as one of the few seniors on the team. 

Waiting for the line to possibly climb further by game time and looking at St. Peter’s to again compete well may be the appropriate angle with the notion that few will believe the Peacocks can deliver again after a mammoth upset. Murray State is climbing to a rare valuation for the program despite few high-quality wins this season and now staring at an open door to the Sweet 16. The pressure will be on this rather young team that has been inconsistent from 3-point range and is a below average free throw shooting team. 

MARCH MADNESS PICK RESOURCES

SAINT PETER'S PEACOCKS vs. MURRAY STATE RACERS BETTING TRENDS

  • Saint Peter's has covered the spread in 22 of its last 31 games.
  • Murray State has failed to cover the spread in three straight games.
  • Murray State has won 20 straight games.
  • Saint Peter's has covered the spread in eight straight games.
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