NCAA Tournament Picks: Utah vs. Georgetown

Ross Benjamin

Friday, March 20, 2015 2:41 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 20, 2015 2:41 PM GMT

Our college basketball consultant examines Saturday’s third round game in the NCAA Tournament between Utah and Georgetown. Which one of these nationally ranked teams will advance to the “Sweet Sixteen”? This article contains that answer along with much more highly informative details.

Premier Third Round Matchup in the South Region
Two nationally ranked teams will meet in a South Region third round game on Saturday when the #4 seed Georgetown Hoyas square off against the #5 seed Utah Utes. The game will take place in Portland, Oregon and the opening tip is slated for 7:45 PM ET. According to the NCAA Tournament odds at Bookmaker, Utah is a 4.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 125.0.

 

Just Win and Advance
The Utah Utes were able to get by a scary game versus a dangerous lower seed on Thursday in a 57-50 win over Stephen F. Austin. The key to the win was the Utes stellar defensive play. They held the Lumberjacks to a paltry 33.3% shooting from the field. Putting the Utes defensive performance into proper perspective, Stephen F. Austin is 6th nationally in offensive field goal percentage at 48.7%, and are 11th in scoring averaging 78.6 points per game. This is nothing new for a Utes team which has held opponents to an average of only 56.7 points per game, and a paltry 38.1% shooting from the field this season. The most overlooked part of the Utes game is their three-point shooting. They’ve converted on a superb 40.4% of their long distance attempts this season, and that ranks 7th best in the nation.

 

Temporarily silencing the Critics
The NCAA Tournament committee received some harsh criticism from many members of the media, after awarding the Georgetown Hoyas with a #4 seed in the South Region. I must admit that I was one of those critics, and my mind hasn’t changed despite a decent performance in their first round 84-74 win over Eastern Washington. The Hoyas shot a blistering 52.1% from the field, went 11-for-23 (47.8%) from beyond the three-point line, and were awarded 32 free throw attempts. Even with those impressive offensive numbers, they barely covered as an 8.0 point favorite, and needed a made free throw during the final seconds in order to do so.

 

Final Analysis
Georgetown is going to find the going much tougher on Saturday against an opponent the caliber of Utah. The Utes had a collective huge sigh of relief after their win on Thursday, and I look for them to turn in a superb effort on Saturday. The line in this game speaks volumes. We have a lower seed in Utah as a favorite over higher seeded Georgetown as our NCAA tournament pick.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Utah -4.5 over Georgetown at Bookmaker.

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