George Washington boasts an 13-3 record on the season, but no one seems to be paying attention to the Colonials. George Washington already owns impressive wins over Miami (71-63), Creighton (60-53), Rutgers (93-87) and Maryland (77-75), and we believe the Colonials have a realistic shot of making the NCAA Tournament come March. Indeed, George Washington returns all five starters and five of its top six scorers from last year’s 13-17 team, including four freshmen who are now sophomores.
“We made major strides,” head coach Mike Lonergan said of last year’s squad. “We were competitive in almost every game. We lost seven games that could have gone either way.” Fundamentally, George Washington is averaging 75.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 69.1 points per game, thereby making the Colonials 6.0 points per game better than average offensively. However, George Washington saves its best output for the Charles E. Smith Center where the Colonials are 8-0 this season and averaging 82.1 points per game on 50.4% shooting from the field.
Balance is the true calling card of George Washington this season as the Colonials are allowing 65.7 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.4 points per game against a mediocre defensive squad. And, just like their offense, the Colonials play their best defense at home where they are limiting foes to a mere 63.0 points per game. George Washington remains undefeated at home where the Colonials are winning by an average of 19.1 points per game.
For technical support, let’s note that VCU is 1-8 ATS as road favorites, 2-9 ATS in conference road games and 2-10 ATS on the road following two or more consecutive wins. Meanwhile, George Washington is a perfect 8-0 ATS in January home games over the last three seasons. Finally, and probably most importantly, George Washington is 10-1 ATS at home versus good pressure teams like VCU who are averaging 18 or more turnovers per game. The Rams lead the NCAA in steals and are second in turnovers forced. Moreover, a defensive rating of 89.8 points per 100 possessions is good for 11th in the country. Despite the Rams’ Havoc system, George Washington has demonstrated an ability to successfully deal with full court pressure in the past.
Pro Edge Sports Sports Pick: George Washington +2