Advice for Georgia State from a successful 14th seed

Georgia State's Ron Hunter celebrates winning the Sun Belt on Saturday. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Georgia State’s Ron Hunter celebrates winning the Sun Belt regular-season title on Saturday. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The odds are not on Georgia State’s side in its hope of defeating Baylor in the NCAA tournament on Thursday in Jacksonville.
In the history of the event, just eighteen No. 14 seeds have defeated No. 3 seeds in the first round.

Of course, the most recent was Mercer shocking Duke last year, so perhaps some Peach State mojo will rub off on the Panthers.

“I don’t know that the seeding was important,” Bears coach Bob Hoffman said. “They’ve (Georgia State) played some tough games and been in big moments. All those guys on their teams have played against those players in AAU tournament. It’s not like it’s some mystery.”

Hoffman thought that Mercer was going to play either Duke or Virginia before the pairings were announced. He said he stressed to his team that the only reason they hadn’t beaten the Blue Devils yet in any meeting was because they haven’t played them.

Though Georgia State hasn’t beaten a team from a power conference since Hunter was hired before the 2011 season, Hoffman pointed out that Ryan Harrow and Kevin Ware have played against and beaten those teams when they were at Kentucky and Louisville. He said R.J. Hunter is “as good as it gets.”

“I know coach Hunter is a fantastic motivator,” Hoffman said. “I’m sure they will be ready to play on a highest level.”

Hoffman said it will be intriguing from a coach’s perspective to watch the two matchup zones that the Bears and Panthers will use.

Georgia State’s is allowing 62.2 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting.

Baylor’s is allowing 60.3 points per game on 40.2 percent shooting.

After the first round, just two No. 14 seeds have won their second-round game to advance to the Sweet 16. The most recent was Chattanooga in 1997, which knocked off the perennially underachieving Illinois sides of that era.

But the Panthers have something in their DNA that may help.

Georgia State was a No. 11 seed in 2001 when it defeated Wisconsin 50-49 in its opening game.

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