2016 NIT Semifinals
#4 George Washington Colonials vs #2 San Diego State Aztecs
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York
Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: SDSU -3
Current Line: SDSU -3
Opening Total: 132
Current Total: 128 1/2
Opening Money Line: SDSU -155 / GWU +135
Current Money Line: SDSU -160 / GWU +140
The 26-10 George Washington Colonials and the 28-9 San Diego State Aztecs meet for the first time ever Tuesday in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The winner will face either the Brigham Young Cougars or Valparaiso Crusaders in the championship game Thursday.
George Washington is coached by Mike Lonergan. The Colonials were in third place in the Atlantic 10 behind four other teams at 11-7. George Washington beat Saint Louis in the second round of the A-10 but lost to St. Joseph’s 86-80 in the quarterfinals. GWU beat #5 Hofstra 82-80 in the first round at home, and then beat #1 Monmouth 87-71 in the second round on the road. The Colonials beat #2 seed Florida 82-77 Wednesday in Washington, DC. The Gators had to travel despite being the higher seed because their home arena was being renovated. This is the sixth time in the NIT for the Colonials, but they had never gotten past the second round before this season.
GWU has a neutral site loss to Cincinnati in Brooklyn, plus road losses to DePaul, Saint Louis, Dayton, St. Bonaventure, and Davidson. The Colonials have home losses to Richmond, St. Joseph’s and VCU. George Washington has a neutral site win over Tennessee in Brooklyn, plus road wins at South Florida, Central Florida, Massachusetts, George Mason, VCU, Duquesne, and Richmond. The Colonials have home wins over Lafayette, Virginia, Seton Hall, Penn State, Rutgers, Fordham, Duquesne, Rhode Island, Davidson, LaSalle and George Mason. GWU is 16-16-1 ATS and the total is 18-15 this season. The Colonials were 1.5 point favorites against Florida and the total was 146.5.
San Diego State is coached by Steve Fischer. The Aztecs won the Mountain West regular season title outright at 16-2. SDSU beat Utah State in the MWC quarterfinals in Las Vegas and Nevada in the semifinals. However, the Aztecs were upset by Fresno State in the championship game. San Diego State was not selected for the NCAA Tournament and given a #2 seed in the NIT. The Aztecs beat #7 IPFW 79-55 in the first round and #3 Washington 93-78 in the second round both in San Diego. SDSU beat #4 seed Georgia Tech 72-56 in the quarterfinals last Wednesday in San Diego. The Aztecs also made the NIT semifinals in 2009.
San Diego State has a neutral site loss to West Virginia in Las Vegas, plus road losses at Utah, and Fresno State. The Aztecs have home losses to Arkansas Little-Rock, Kansas, Grand Canyon, and Boise State. The Aztecs have a neutral site win over California in Las Vegas, plus road wins over Long Beach State, Utah State, Colorado State, Boise State, Nevada, UNLV, San Jose State, Wyoming, and New Mexico. SDSU has home wins over Illinois State, East Carolina, Wyoming, San Jose State, Fresno State, Utah State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Air Force and UNLV. The Aztecs are 17-13-3 ATS and the total is 16-17 this season. SDSU was a 5 point favorite against Georgia Tech and the total was 134.5.
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GWU is outscoring teams 76-69 this season. The Colonials are shooting 44.6% from the field and 37% from three point range. GWU makes 75.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.3% from the field and 33.8% from three point range. The Colonials average 37.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.6 per game. GWU averages 14.1 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.6 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 6 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.
Tyler Cavanaugh averages 16.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Patricio Garino averages 14.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Kevin Larsen averages 12.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.7 rebounds per game. Joe McDonald averages 8.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Yuta Watanabe averages 8.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Alex Mitola and Paul Jorgensen will also get minutes in the rotation.
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San Diego State is outscoring teams 69-61 this season. The Aztecs are #3 in points allowed nationally. SDSU is shooting 42.5% from the field and 32.9% from three point range. The Aztecs make 68.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 37.1% from the field and 29.8% from three point range. The Aztecs are in the top five nationally in both categories. SDSU averages 38.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.7 per game. The Aztecs average 10.7 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 5.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.2 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 6 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Trey Kell averages 12.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Jeremy Hemsley averages 12.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Winston Shepard averages 11.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Zylans Cheatham averages 7.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Malik Pope averages 7.4 points and 5 rebounds per game. Five other players will get time in the rotation.
George Washington is 5-1 ATS in Tuesday games, 7-3 in non-conference games and 1-4 in neutral games.
San Diego State is 4-1 ATS overall and against teams with winning records, 18-8-2 in Tuesday games, 6-13-1 after a cover, and 1-4 in neutral site games.
San Diego State sometimes struggles on offense but they are dominant on defense. The Aztecs would be perfect content playing this game in the 50’s or 60’s but the Colonials want to play it in the 70’s. I think San Diego State wins this game comfortably.