An unexpected run through the Big East Tournament has the Georgetown Hoyas something of a chic NCAAB pick on brackets, and they’ll look to live up to those expectations in a first-round matchup against the Colorado Buffaloes.
Georgetown Hoyas vs. Colorado Buffaloes
Saturday, March 20, 2021 – 12:15 P.M. ET at Hinkle Fieldhouse
Both Georgetown and Colorado enjoyed nice runs through their respective league tournaments. If the security guards at Madison Square Garden didn’t recognize Patrick Ewing during the Big East event last weekend, they certainly know who he and the Hoyas are now after Georgetown reeled off four wins in as many days, including taking down the two top seeds, Villanova and Creighton. The Buffaloes came up just one win short of the Pac-12 title, falling to Oregon State in a close one as 8½-point chalk on the NCAAB lines.
Hoyas Cover 8 of Last 10 Trips to Floor
This lunchtime contest tips off the second full day of March Madness, with CBS focusing its cameras on the action inside historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Colorado was sent out as a 5½-point favorite, that number now down to -5 at most outlets. Options in the 137½-138½ range are available for anyone wanting to play the total.
Georgetown’s run through the Big East was one of the most remarkable stories in any conference tournament. The Hoyas finished the regular season three games under .500, with their 7-9 league record only good enough for the eighth seed in the tourney, and they didn’t have a string of four consecutive wins all year until reaching New York City. Ewing’s cagers were underdogs in all four games, three of which were ‘under’ winners.
It was all punctuated by an absolute rout of Creighton in the conference championship. Tied at 18-apiece with six minutes remaining in the first half, Georgetown closed on an 18-0 run, then began the second half on an 18-5 spurt to embarrass the Bluejays. Four different players led the Hoyas in scoring in the four tournament matchups, and they outrebounded their four opponents 166-133 in the process.
Buffs Play to the ‘Under’ in 8 of Last 11
Tab Boyle’s bunch in Boulder enjoyed a trio of 4-game win streaks during the regular season, one of those coming at the very end to secure the third seed in the Pac-12 Tournament behind Oregon and USC. The late surge, plus their play during the league tourney, saw the Buffaloes rise to No. 22 in the AP poll and break into the coaches' rankings on the same No. 22 line after sitting just outside the list entering the last week of play.
Oregon State made a similarly surprising run to the title as Georgetown did in the Big East, and kept Colorado from winning its first Pac-12 tourney since 2012. Online bookmakers installed the Buffaloes as 8½-point favorites over the Beavers, but Colorado trailed most of the game as Oregon State held off a late rally effort. The Buffaloes ranked 48th in the country on the season, hitting 37.3% of their 3-point shots. However, Colorado struggled in the win over California and loss to Oregon State with a combined 9-of-33 (27.2%) effort in those two contests.
Programs Meeting for First Time
Saturday’s clash marks the very first time the Hoyas and Buffaloes have gotten together on the hardwood. Colorado and Georgetown also didn’t take on any common opponents during the 2020-21 schedule for comparison’s sake. The Hoyas last faced a Pac-12 team in the opening round of the 2016 Maui Invitational, pulling off a mild upset of the Oregon Ducks. The Buffaloes’ most recent Big East opponent was at Xavier in December 2017 when the Musketeers had an easy 96-69 romp past Colorado.
Seeded 12th this time, this will be the 31st NCAA Tournament trip for Georgetown (first since 2015), and the Hoyas have had success at the Big Dance by going 48-29, including 18-7 in opening-round games. It’s the first time since 2016 for Colorado at the tournament and 15th overall. The 5th-seeded Buffaloes are 1-4 both straight-up and against the spread in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
Maybe I’ve fallen under the spell of so many who have hopped onto the Hoyas’ bandwagon following such a spectacular run to the Big East trophy. This 5/12 game just has the feel of a final possession battle, which leaves me no choice but to take the points for my play.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.