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Georgia vs. Washington
Betting Line: Washington -5.5 o/u 139
There are many bubble teams that disagree with the Georgia Bulldogs inclusion in the Big Dance, but nonetheless they are here. HC Mark Fox has a solid, but inconsistent team that ended the year with wins over Colorado, UAB, Kentucky and Tennessee while finishing 19-14 overall. They were a dismal 3-9 against teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament and losers of 2 of their last 3. The tenth seeded Bulldogs will do battle with the Washington Huskies in the first round.
Washington earned a seven seed after making it to the finals of the Pacific 10 Tournament where they defeated Arizona. Their overall record stands at 23-10 with wins over USC, UCLA (twice) and Arizona (twice). This team was strong down the stretch after having a rough midseason where they lost three in a row. Isaiah Thomas at G and Matthew Bryan-Amanning at F provide one of the best 1-2 punches in all of college basketball. Georgia will have no easy time trying to contain them.
Trey Thompkins is a force in the paint for Georgia. The 6-10 junior is very hard to guard and had six double-doubles this year while averaging 16.1 PPG and 7.5 RPG. He had 20 point and 9 rebounds in 31 minutes of play against UAB. After him G Travis Leslie is the most important player with 14.5 PPG and 7.2 RPG. He scored 15 points over Kentucky and Tennessee.
The matchup of Trey Thompkins and Matthew Bryan-Amanning could decide the victor in this game. They are both tough, tough players in the paint that get a lot of points and rebounds. A quick review of statistical information shows that most of Washington's losses came when Bryan-Amanning didn't score very often. With averages of 15.5 PPG and 8.1 RPG he has to play well in this spot. Isaiah Thomas gets 16.8 PPG and scored 28 in the final win over Arizona. The little guy stands just 5-9, but don't let that fool you. He is VERY fast and can get to the rim.
This game is classic matchup of a team on the rise (Washington) facing a team on the decline (Georiga).
Predicted Score: Washington 79 Georgia 69
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