Take George Washington As Your NCAA Basketball Pick To Beat Valparaiso In NIT FInal

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, March 31, 2016 4:08 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016 4:08 PM UTC

Not a bad consolation prize for a pair of teams who were out of the NCAA Tourney; George Washington and Valparaiso meet in the Finals of the 2016 NIT Tourney. Find our NCAA basketball pick here.

As is often the case, the NIT Finals has greatly helped these teams ascend to a potential championship season, as well as providing an extra 2 weeks for these teams to grow and develop.  Each of them is now playing at peak performance, as they enter tonight’s championship game.  


Valparaiso Overview
Valpo was expected to be the class of the Horizon League this 2015-16 NCAA season. They did not disappoint, posting a 16-2 SU record in league play.  They enter tonight with a record of 30-6 SU, breaking the school record of 28 victories last season. But, a loss to Green Bay in their first CCT game left them on the outside looking in, when the NCAA Committee evaluated their record. It was a bit of a surprise, considering this team had 5 returning starters and participated in the NCAA Tourney last season. 

To his credit, 5th year HC Bryce Drew, gathered his troops and prepared them for the NIT run. Wire-to-wire home victories by 12 or more points came against Texas Southern, then higher quality opponents, Florida St. and St. Mary’s. As predicted, their superior defense held them in good stead, when they outlasted BYU in the Semi-Final on Tuesday. 

The star of the team is Alec Peters, but it was David Skara, who sank the tiebreaking triple that propelled the Crusaders to their victory over BYU. Skara had 15 points as a reserve with every one of them proving to be needed, after the Crusaders lost their entire 16 point 2nd half lead. Only a missed foul shot, on the 2nd end of a one and one, prevented the Crusaders from covering the closing line of (-2). A post-game interview by HC Drew saw him repeat the word that his team was “blessed” to have shot so well and be in the final game. But, they will need much more help than prayer, if they are to win tonight’s game.


George Washington Summary
George Washington was a team, who in my opinion, had underachieved all season. But, they have saved their best for this Tourney.  A narrow home escape vs. Hofstra was then followed by a highly-regarded 16 point win at Monmouth, an 82-77 home court victory over Florida and then the shocking, 65-46 upset of San Diego St. in the Semi-Finals on Tuesday night, when the Colonials played their best game of the season. 

This international crew of seeming misfits is putting it all together at the right time. They certainly have the potential with Danish import, Larsen, manning the interior, aided by Wake Forest transfer, Cavanaugh, who is averaging over 20 PPG and 8 RBD in the NIT. They are joined up front by Japanese import, Watanabe, who went for 8/8 against the Aztecs. Then there is veteran PG Joe McDonald and glue guy, Patricio Garino (Argentina) who helps to put it all together. Off the bench is Alex Mitolo, the Dartmouth grad transfer who opens it up with his 3 point range.


Final Analysis
Having at last put it all together, having played the tougher schedule and now being installed as an underdog makes this an outstanding spot to play George Washington tonight as “the blessings” expire for Bryce Drew and his Crusaders. I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick on George Washington tonight.   

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Free NBA Basketball Pick: George Washington +2.5 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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