After upsetting the then sixth ranked team in the country in Virginia last game, George Washington should have an easier time disposing of a bad South Florida team Thursday.
After posting one of the bigger upsets the 2015-16 NCAA Basketball season so far by knocking off what was a sixth ranked Virginia team last game, the George Washington Colonials (2-0, 1-0 ATS) should have no troubles Thursday night as they hit the road to pay a visit to the lowly South Florida Bulls (0-2, 0-1 ATS) at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, FL at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has George Washington as a big road favorite for this contest with the current line at -9½ with odds of -106.
Colonials Served Notice
George Washington us an experienced team that retuned four starters from a team that won 22 games but missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season despite some very nice conference wins as the odd team out in an Atlantic 10 that sent three teams to the Big Dance. Thus the Colonials settled for the NIT, where they won a game at Pittsburgh before losing to another noticeable NCAA snub in Temple.
The veterans that returned this season want to make amends and catapult GW back into the NCAA Tournament, and the outcome vs. Virginia served notice that the Colonials are to be taken seriously.
And then there are the Bulls of South Florida, who come off of a 9-23 season and have been the losing NCAA Basketball Picks in the first two games, both here at home vs. questionable competition in the Troy Trojans and the NJIT Highlanders, with the latter loss coming in a non-lined game on Monday where the Bulls blew a double-digit lead with seven minutes left to fall 60-57.
Showed Off Their Depth
You may recall that the stifling Virginia defense allowed more than 70 points just twice during the regular season last year and one of those was a double-overtime game in Miami, and yet George Washington prevailed 73-68 on Monday while showing off its experienced depth with five played scoring in double-figures.
Remember that nobody was able to score from the interior vs. Virginia last year when the Cavaliers were ranked third in the nation in two-point defense at a mere 40.1 percent, but the Colonials were not intimidated as they played their usual game and were able to shoot 19-for-36, 52.8 percent from inside the arc with a big lineup that featured the 6-foot-6 Patricio Garino at a guard spot.
Garino responded by shooting 7-for-8 from the field scoring 18 points, tying him with Tyler Cavanaugh as the high scorers for GW. That size could set up matchup nightmares all year for the Colonials’ opponents, and tonight could be a perfect example with South Florida having just two starters taller than 6-foot-6.
Same Problems for Bulls
South Florida did not do many things well during its nine-win campaign last season, and the problems began with a very inefficient offense that ranked 282nd in the country in offensive efficiency at 96.5 points per 100 possessions and 293rd in offensive turnover percentage at 20.9 percent. Well, fast forward to this season and not much is changed, and that goes beyond the miserable 37.6 percent field goal percentage through two games.
You see, the Bulls are already in familiar territory grading out at 96.2 points per 100 possessions on adjusted efficiency and that are threatening to turn the ball over even more that they did last season, currently sitting at a hideous 25.3 percent! And to compound matter they are taking a major leap in class in terms of competition here, and being at home has not helped vs. the first two lesser opponents.
No Problems on Road vs. Losing Teams
Finally, George Washington has been able to handle bad teams away from home as the Colonials are 6-1-2 ATS in their last nine road games vs. teams with losing home records, and they are also now 5-1-1 ATS their last seven non-conference games. Meanwhile, South Florida is an abysmal 7-18-2 ATS in its last 27 games overall.
Expect more of the same here, so look for George Washington to build on the Virginia win and continue its quest to return to the NCAA Tournament with a double-digit road win when it visits South Florida in Tampa on Thursday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: George Washington -9½ (-106)