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Grambling vs. Montana State 2024 First Four Odds and Preview

By Hank Blaine

First Four NCAA Tournament action continues from Dayton on Wednesday with the first matchup featuring No. 16 seed Grambling of the SWAC against fellow No. 16 Montana State of the Big Sky. The winner faces Midwest No. 1 Purdue in the first round Friday.

Wednesday’s contest will be the first-ever meeting between Grambling State and Montana State.

Grambling Tigers vs. Montana State Bobcats Game Information

  • When: Wednesday, March 20th, 2024 at 6:40 pm ET
  • Where: UD Arena, Dayton, OH
  • TV: TruTV
  • Radio: KGRM 91.5 FM (Grambling) // KPRK 1450 AM (Montana)
  • Live Stream: TruTV
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Grambling (+4) // Montana State (-4)

Why Bet on the Grambling Tigers?

Grambling (20-14) was the SWAC regular-season champion and then beat Texas Southern 75-66 in the conference tournament title game this past Saturday. Grambling State would break it open midway through the first half as they turned a 13-all tie into a 41-24 halftime lead after closing the half on a 28-11 surge. During the run, TSU was only 4-of-15 from the field along with four turnovers which helped fuel GSU’s run. Really, Grambling was never much threatened after that.

Jourdan Smith poured in a team-high 20 points with three rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal for Grambling. Antwan Burnett and Kintavious Dozier also scored in double-figures for the Tigers, contributing 14 and 10 points. Grambling State went 23-of-47 from the floor (48.9 percent), 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from three-point range and 21-for-31 (67.7 percent) from the free throw line. Texas Southern shot 42.6 percent (23-of-54) and 18.2percent (4-of-22) from behind the arc and 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the charity stripe.

The win got GSU into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Although the Tigers won an NAIA National Championship in 1961, Grambling State had never won the SWAC Tournament since its inception.

For three consecutive seasons, Texas Southern represented the SWAC in the NCAA tournament. But a hefty nonconference schedule — Colorado, Iowa State, Dayton, Washington State, Florida — prepared Donte Jackson’s Tigers squad. Grambling is 12-2 over its past 14 games.

Jackson was named the SWAC Coach of the year for the third time since 2018. Jackson currently sports a 119-101 record while leading the Tigers. His 119 victories as GSU’s head coach ranks him second behind the legendary Fredrick C. Hobdy who won 571 games while leading the G-Men.

Dozier was selected to the All-SWAC First Team and is the Tigers’ leading scorer at 13.1 points per game as something of a volume scorer, shooting 45.4% overall and 33.3% on 111 3-pointers. Dozier has explosive scoring ability, best shown by his 34-point outing against Washington State in December. Tra’Michael Moton, a 6-1 senior, is the point guard, averaging 11.8 ppg, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals; making 37.1% of his 116 3s.

Why Bet on the Montana State Bobcats?

Montana State finished just 9-9 in the Big Sky regular season but took out rival Montana 85-70 in the Big Sky Tournament title game on March 13. Eddie Turner III hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to key a 15-2 run that completely flipped the game to Montana State. The result propelled the Cats into the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in history and the third consecutive year, which ties a record set by Weber State from 1978-80 when the league tourney consisted of just four teams.

Turner III finished with 15 points, but his backcourt mate led the charge. Robert Ford III scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and registered five steals on his way to Big Sky Tournament MVP Honors.

The Bobcats struggled before Christmas and even lost to the last place Big Sky team at home twice in February, but finished the season with a Senior Night win over Weber State that created momentum and a template for tourney success. Coach Matt Logie has now led programs to the NCAA Tournament at the Division III (Whitworth), Division II (Point Loma), and Division I (Montana State) levels, and has danced in March 14 times as a coach including his time as an assistant.

When former coach Danny Sprinkle left for the Utah State job after last season’s NCAA tournament appearance, key players left the program, too. RaeQuan Battle transferred to West Virginia, while Darius Brown II and Great Osobor followed Sprinkle. Logie had to start from scratch. He weathered a 14-17 regular season.

Ford III, a 6-0 senior, is Montana State’s top player, leading the team in scoring (15.9 ppg), rebounding (7.6) and steals (2.9, third in the country) while also dishing out 3.0 assists per game and hitting 42.6% of his 3s.

Also watch for forward Brandon Walker. He only plays about 50% of each game. But, when he’s on the court, he’s there to score. Walker shoots about 35% of his team’s shots, the eighth-highest rate in the nation.

Grambling vs. Montana State Betting Trends

  • Grambling is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 games.
  • Tigers are 8-1 SU in its last 9 games.
  • The total went under in 6 of Grambling’s last 6 games.
  • Montana State is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games.
  • Bobcats are 5-1 SU in its last 6 games.
  • The total went over in 4 of Montana State’s last 5 games.

Grambling vs. Montana State Expert Prediction

Grambling takes the win to face the Boilermakers on Friday night.

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2024 March Madness Tournament previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest college basketball betting odds on our online Bitcoin sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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