NCAA Basketball Picks: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Georgetown

David Lawrence

Monday, March 18, 2013 7:28 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 18, 2013 7:28 PM UTC

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are highly regarded by college basketball experts. They could give Georgetown a scare in the round of 64 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

College Basketball Betting – Florida Gulf Coast vs. Georgetown Picks

Florida Gulf Coast can win because…

It is a fearless and skilled team. This might seem like rhetorical boilerplate that won’t really help you cover on the NCAA basketball odds but all teams have skills or they wouldn't be in the NCAA tournament. However, Florida Gulf Coast is one of those teams - think of Norfolk State and Lehigh last year - that has more talent than normal for a No. 15 seed. The Eagles attack the rim and go straight at opposing defenses. They will not panic under ball pressure from Georgetown. They have the mentality of a team that can trade punches with the Hoyas on a neutral floor. FGCU doesn't have as much physical strength as Georgetown does - that's certainly this team's main limitation. However, in terms of shotmaking skill, it can hang. If this team knocks down a few perimeter jumpers against Georgetown's defense, the Hoyas might have to extend pressure and leave themselves vulnerable to drives and cuts. The point to emphasize is that FGCU can make enough plays over 40 minutes to win this game. You can't say that about other teams in the field, such as 15 seeds like Albany or Pacific.

Another point worth making here is that Georgetown has been terrible in the NCAA tournament since its run to the Final Four in 2007. The Hoyas get outgunned by skilled teams, as was the case in 2008, when they lost as a No. 2 seed to tenth-rated Davidson in the round of 32. This was the case in 2010, when GU lost as a No. 3 seed to No. 14 Ohio in the round of 64. Georgetown has not reached the Sweet 16 in six years. This kind of drought can weigh on a program and cause players to perform poorly under pressure. If FGCU keeps this close for 25 minutes, Georgetown could really begin to sweat in the second half.

Georgetown can win because…

It has the best player on the floor in this game. Otto Porter was and is the best player in the Big East Conference. He carried Georgetown to a share of the Big East regular season championship, and one should keep in mind that the Big East put eight teams in the NCAA tournament this season. It was the second-best conference behind the Big Ten, even though the RPI rating system put the Mountain West Conference at the top of its index. The Big East is a tough league, and Porter rose above it. He hit clutch shots against Syracuse and Connecticut on the road, and he answers the bell in crunch time. If things ever get difficult for the Hoyas in this contest, Porter - whom Florida Gulf Coast will not be able to contain - can knock down a big shot on demand, whenever he feels like it. As long as Porter is his normal self in this game, Georgetown should not be troubled. In later rounds, Georgetown's opponents can do more to take Porter away, but in the round of 64, FGCU will not have answers for him if his jumper is dialed in.

The other thing to realize here if you’re making your sports picks is that while Florida Gulf Coast is talented, Georgetown is very effective on defense. It knows how to force bad shots and play passing lanes, demanding that opposing offenses execute with precision. Florida Gulf Coast does not see defenses such as Georgetown's in the Atlantic Sun Conference. This will be a very tough adjustment for the Eagles to make against the second-seeded Hoyas.


Outlook & Prediction:

This will not be a blowout. FGCU has the mindset of a team that won't back down and that's half the battle for a 15 seed against a second seed. The Hoyas will win but it won't be easy. This game won't be decided in the final seconds but it feels like a 36-minute battle that Georgetown will eventually solve in the final four minutes. Still, take the Hoyas on your bracket and NCAA basketball picks.

NCAAB Pick: Georgetown -13 at Bodog

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