George Washington Must Hit Deep Shots To Beat UCF

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, December 15, 2016 3:20 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 3:20 PM UTC

Our college basketball handicapper thinks the UCF Knights have a bounce back game in sight, as he puts his 10-3 ATS record on the line again and makes his Thursday night NCAAB pick.

UCF Knights vs George Washington Colonials  

In their game after they were shocked by Penn 49-58 at home as a 10-point favorite, the 7-2 University of Central Florida Knights travel to take on the 7-4 George Washington Colonials of the Atlantic 10 conference. Having won two straight SU, the Colonials have opened as a slight home favorite, listed at -2 points like at BetOnline. The O/U total has opened up at 128.5 over at BookMaker.

UCF losing against Penn was very surprising to me on the outset, but the box score shows how to beat the Knights. Basically, you have to shoot over their defense and hope for the best. Penn hit 11 3-pointers on the game, and even though they were outrebounded 44-32, had enough shots fall to keep their lead throughout the game. 7’ 6” Tacko Fall had a huge game in the loss, going a perfect 8-8 from field goal range and adding 17 rebounds to boot. Fall’s average of a double-double was in no risk of discontinuing here. For Penn, it was a 6’ 7” forward, Sam Jones, that hit most of the 3-pointers in setting a career high of 15 points. Jones had averaged just under 10 minutes and 4.6 points per game before that point. In my opinion, this performance was a fluke that would be hard to repeat for an opponent of the Knights.

George Washington comes into this game winners of 4 of their last 5, and demolished Howard 79-62 in an unlined game last Saturday. In their last lined game, they shocked Temple on the road SU 66-63 as a 9-point underdog. It was just the second ATS win for the Colonials this year as they are currently holding a 2-6 ATS record. They have yet to cover a game at home this year although they are 5-1 SU.

The Colonials are led by 6’ 9” senior forward, Tyler Cavanaugh, who averages 16.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game over 33 minutes. Cavanaugh is a transfer out of Wake Forest and increased his playing time as a result. Second in scoring on the Colonials is a 6’ 9” junior guard, Yuta Watanabe (yes, from Japan), who averages 13.4 points per game. So, the Colonials have some length at those spots. However, it is their freshman center, 6’ 10” Collin Smith, who will have to match up against Tako Fall in this game. Smith averages just above 22.5 points per game and gets into foul trouble from time to time. He also only shoots 50.7% from the field, a far cry from Fall’s 83.3%.

I’m looking for the Knights to bounce back in this game, and take advantage of their size mismatch with the Colonials on the inside. George Washington only shoots 33.5% from behind the arc, so they are not in a position to shoot over the top of the defense. For this reason, I like both UCF +2 in this game and Under 126.5 points as my Thursday NCAA basketball pick.


 Free NCAAB Picks: UCF +4Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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