Panthers to face six-seed Musketeers in NCAA

Devonta White attacks the William & Mary defense. Andres Cruz-Wellmann | THE SIGNAL

After pulling off a miraculous comeback on Thursday against Baylor, culminating in R.J. Hunter’s game-winning three.

Georgia State will play the Xavier Musketeers on Saturday night in the third round of the NCAA tournament with a berth in the Sweet Sixteen on the line.

Panther fans remain curious about the status of Ryan Harrow’s hamstring injury. The team revealed at Friday’s media availability session that he will not be available for Saturday’s game.

After the win over the Bears, the Panthers head coach praised his team’s resiliency and ability to remain in games despite having their leading scorer on the shelf.

“This is, I think the tenth time we’ve played without Ryan [Harrow], and they’ve won all of them,” Ron Hunter said.

Lost in the national headline that was R.J. Hunter’s game-winning three (and Ron Hunter falling off his chair) was the fact that Georgia State was tough with forcing the Bears with turnovers. The Panthers forced 21 Baylor miscues.

Xavier, which won its second-round NCAA tournament game in blowout fashion over Ole Miss by a final of 76-57, is another one of the more turnover-prone teams in the Big East.

The Musketeers are one of four teams in its conference that averages 12 or more turnovers per game. This means that Georgia State’s defense that made things difficult for Baylor on offense will have to do the same to the Musketeers.

Unlike Baylor, which had a negative turnover margin (-0.27), Xavier’s is positive (+0.77).

Creating second-chance points will be another important piece to victory over the Musketeers. Xavier averages over 31 rebounds per game on the defensive glass. Three of Xavier’s players that receive a good amount of playing time have heights of 6-foot-10.

These include senior center Matt Stainbrook, who nearly managed a double-double in Xavier’s win over the Rebels with 20 points and nine rebounds. Another is junior forward James Farr, who notched 13 rebounds for the Musketeers on Thursday.

TNT will have coverage of the game at 6:10 ET. WCNN-AM 680 The Fan will broadcast the matchup on radio along with Sirius channel 93 and XM channel 203 on satellite radio.