NCAA Tournament Picks: George Washington vs. Memphis

David Lawrence

Monday, March 17, 2014 7:48 PM GMT

The George Washington Colonials are making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. Will they be able to make it count or will the Memphis Tigers send them home in the first game? Find out what the odds are saying.

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The Colonials can win because...

You never know what to expect from their opponent in the NCAA tournament or in general. That’s why you have to be careful taking Memphis with your NCAA basketball picks. The Tigers are simply an erratic and inconsistent team. Sure, they’re capable of doing great things, as shown by the fact that they defeated the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals twice this season. That's not very easy to do. Yet, Memphis also lost three times in three games to the Connecticut Huskies and looked very bad in a late-season loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Memphis is not a strong team on defense and they’ll give up a lot of open shots. Their rotations and switches just aren't fluid or consistent, at least not consistent enough to inspire a lot of confidence at this time of year. They can look awesome and they can equally look inept. 

Beyond whatever Memphis does or doesn’t do, there's a reason to pick the Colonials here. They're a steady and quiet team that has flown under the radar. Memphis will get most of the publicity here, which makes it a great situation for George Washington to play the "no respect" card. They’re overlooked, which means they could be offering good value on the NCAA basketball odds.

The Tigers can win because...

They are more talented, and what's more is that they don't just have talent, but also experience. Memphis' big strength is that its main scorers and ball handlers on offense are seniors: Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon, Geron Johnson, Chris Crawford. This foursome of seniors get extended minutes and they are counted upon to make things happen for the Tigers on offense. They won their first NCAA tournament game last season against Saint Mary's and so with that goal having been achieved, this team can now set its sights on bigger goals.

This team should be able to play with freedom and establish the style of play it likes – especially on offense. Adding to all of this, it can be said that because Memphis has four senior guards who can all score, so this is not an offense that depends on only one player to do all the work. If Jackson is slowed down, Dixon and Johnson can step forward. If Johnson is contained, Crawford can step up and hit big three-point shots, something he's done throughout his career. This team has options on offense, and that should matter.

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Outlook & Pick

Memphis has too many talented seniors to lose this game. If the Tigers were made up mostly of sophomores, George Washington would probably have a better chance. 

NCAA Tournament Pick: Memphis -3 at Bodog