NCAA Basketball Pick: Bet 'Under' On George Washington vs. San Diego St. NIT Semifinal

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 3:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2016 3:31 PM UTC

San Diego State has reached the NIT semifinals by playing some of the stiffest defense, and doing so again should key an ‘under’ vs.George Washington. Check at our NCAA basketball pick.


Stiff defense and a slow tempo should rule the day Tuesday night when the George Washington Colonials (26-10, 16-16-1 ATS) take on the San Diego State Aztecs (28-9, 17-13-3 ATS) in the second semifinal of the NIT Final Four from Madison Square Garden in New York, NY at 9:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN. The posted total at 5 Dimes is 129 for this contest with the current NCAA basketball odds on the ‘under’ set at -104.


NCAA Selection Committee Not Impressed
San Diego State won the regular season Mountain West Conference title at 16-2 and then advanced to the Championship Game of the Mountain West Tournament. However, getting upset 68-63 by Fresno State for the MWC Championship was enough for the Aztecs to get snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee as the Mountain became just a one-bid league this season despite ranking a commendable ninth on the Pomeroy conference standings.

George Washington meanwhile finished fifth this season in an Atlantic 10 that sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament, and the Colonials sealed their NIT fate when they were the losing NCAA basketball picks in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament to the eventual tournament champions from St. Joseph’s, a team that then beat Cincinnati in the Big Dance. Nonetheless, neither of these teams has played like it is not happy to be playing in the NIT, and that is a key reason why these are two of the four teams that have made this trip to New York.


Suffocating Aztecs Defense
It is no secret that San Diego State has gotten here on the strength of its defense. In fact, the Aztecs lead the country in field goal percentage allowed at a mere 37.1 percent while also ranking fifth in three-point defense at 29.8 percent and third in points allowed at 60.5 per game, and those ranking a not flukes when you consider San Diego State is also second in the land in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Keep in mind that the Aztecs have also played nice competition outside of the Mountain West as they have faced a non-conference schedule ranked 35th in SOS according to Pomeroy, so it is not surprising that the good defense has continued through this NIT, most recently while shutting down Georgia Tech out of the ACC in an easy 72-56 win in the quarterfinals last Wednesday.

That great defense has overcome some questionable shooting for the Aztecs as they are only ranked 174th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 269th in effective field goal percentage at just 47.6 percent. San Diego State is also very methodical offensively ranking 307th in tempo rating, which is yet another boon for the ‘under’ in this spot.


George Washington Does Not Play Fast Either
Granted, George Washington has been hot offensively, in fact reaching 80 points in all three of its NIT wins. Surprisingly though, the Colonials do not play at a particularly fast pace either, in fact ranking only 258th in tempo rating, meaning that they need to hit a high percentage of shots to amass the point totals that they have reached in this tournament.

And that has indeed been the case with George Washington combining to shoot a robust 48.6 percent over the three wins, well above the Colonials’ 44.7 percent shooting for the entire season. However, they have not faced anything close to the San Diego State defense in a long time, so look for a return to normalcy shooting-wise here and quite possible a dip below the season’s shooting average.

That may not necessarily mean that George Washington cannot win this contest as San Diego State can be prone to long scoring droughts as we alluded to earlier. However, it could help ensure a low scoring game with the Colonials probably not interested in speeding up the pace themselves even if their shots are not falling.


Trending the ‘under’
Finally, San Diego State usually does a good job of controlling the tempo vs. very good teams as the ‘under’ is 4-1 in the Aztecs’ last five games vs. teams with a winning percentage above .600. The ‘under’ is also 4-1 in the last five San Diego State non-conference games, as well as 8-3 in the last 11 George Washington neutral site games. We see no reason to buck those trends here given the way San Diego State plays defense and slows the pace, so go ‘under’ again when the Aztecs take on George Washington in the Final Four of the NIT from Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: ‘under’ 129 (-102)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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