NCAA Tournament East Region Picks: (8) Memphis Tigers vs. (9) George Washington Colonels
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The Memphis Tigers faltered down the stretch of the season and have lost three of its last five games.
Memphis still finished the season 23-9, but was embarrassed by UConn 72-53 in its final game of the season. George Washington will present a big challenge, with college basketball oddsmakers giving Memphis a three-point edge in second round play Friday night.
Memphis packs a lot of power offensively. The Tigers averaged 77.6 points per game this season while shooting 47.9 percent from the floor. The team moves the ball well, ranking 3rd in the nation in assists per game (17.4). Senior guard Joe Jackson is the leader, averaging 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Jackson struggled badly in the loss to Connecticut, hitting just 4-of-12 from the floor and mustering just 10 points. Prior to that he had hit 11-of-25 in contests against SMU and Cincinnati, posting 19.5 points per game over those two contests.
6’9″ sophomore Shaq Goodwin is also instrumental for Memphis. He led the team in rebounding (6.6 per game) and also averaged 11.8 points per game while hitting 58.4 percent from the floor. He’s been nearly invisible over the last four games though, and has hit just 5-of-19 from the floor while averaging just 5.8 points per game. Goodwin will need to step back up for Memphis to be victorious.
George Washington finished 24-8 with an 11-5 record in A-10 play. The Colonels were riding a four-game win streak prior to losing to VCU on Mar 15. GW finished 4-4 this season against NCAA tournament teams, and was 1-2 against nationally ranked opponents. The Colonels have five players averaging double-figure scoring, paced by Maurice Creek’s 14.3 points per game.
Creek, a 6’5″ senior guard, transferred from Indiana last season after seeing very little playing time in the 2012-13 season. He struggled against VCU on Mar 15 but posted three 20-plus point games in four contests prior to that, with a 24 point, seven rebound effort in a win over Fordham Mar 8. Creek shoots 40 percent from behind the arc and attempts 6.2 per game, so his three-point shooting is a huge part of what makes the Colonels potential upset material in this matchup.
GW Trends: UNDER 11-3 in last 14 non-conference games.
MEM Trends: UNDER 7-1 in last 8 non-conference games; OVER 10-4 in last 14 NCAA tournament games