NCAA Basketball Picks: Lock San Diego St. -3 vs. George Washington In NIT's 2nd Semifinal

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 4:37 PM GMT

George Washington make the relatively short drive to New York City to face San Diego St., who makes the west to east journey for this NCAA basketball NIT Semifinal matchup.

George Washington vs San Diego State (NIT Semifinals – Madison Square Garden)
Tip time for the second half of the double header is at 9:30 ET as televised by ESPN. The game features A-10 member George Washington, who is 26-10 SU for the season vs. San Diego St, who is 28-9 SU for the season. Though neither of these teams was good enough to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, they have taken advantage of this NIT event to further their progress this season and be one of 16 teams who are still playing this 2016 CBKB season. 

 

George Washington
George Washington was on the periphery of the bubble through the beginning of March, but a CCT loss to eventual A-10 Champion, St, Joes, ended their NCAA dreams. Yet, they have prospered in this event, beginning with a narrow (82-80) victory at home against Hofstra, followed by a solid road win at Monmouth, and a third victory again at home vs. Florida. Concerns in today’s matchup against a quality San Diego St. team is that their only road win of note in the regular season was at VCU.

In reality, this was a team that did not play to their potential. More was expected from the squad that added Wake transfer, Cavanaugh, to a front court that also featured Big Man Supreme, Kevin Larsen. Floor leader Joe McDonald returned to run the show with Dartmouth transfer, Alex Mitola, adding a three point threat. Then there was Glue Guy Patricio Garino, which figured to add cohesion that never evolved for 5th year HC Mike Lonergan. Hard to understand why this three star fundamental team that allows just 69 PPG could never accomplish more. Tonight they go up against an Aztec team, who has put it all together. 

 

San Diego State Overview
San Diego St. limped through the preseason with a record of 7-6 SU after a combined 58 wins the last two years and ascending to the 3rd Round of the NCAA last season. But under the tutelage of 17th year HC Fisher, the Aztecs have put it all together for this event. Before accepting this NIT bid, in the wake of a heartbreaking CCT Final loss to Fresno St., Fisher asked his troops what their level of commitment would be. To a man, they assured Fisher they were united in their goal to win the NIT title. 

With resounding home court victories by 24 over IPFW, by 15 over Washington, and 16 over Georgia Tech (combined coverage of 34 points), the Aztecs look like the team to beat in this event. If defense wins championships, they should be a lock. For along with a +5.6 rebound margin, San Diego St. allows just 60 PPG, 37% from the field, and 30% from the arc. That’s good enough for us to back them as our NCAA basketball pick in this spot as the best remaining team in the Tourney. 

 

Final Analysis
I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me with my NCAA basketball pick on San Diego St. minus the points tonight. 

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: San Diego ST-3 (-102)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle