Santa Clara at George Mason Picks and CBI Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 4/3/2013
No one cares about the NIT anymore, so it’s safe to say that a lot of people couldn’t even tell you that the College Basketball Invitational exists, never mind naming one of the 16 teams that played in it this year. The participants included major conference also-rans like Purdue and Texas, tough luck teams like College of Charleston and North Dakota State that won plenty of games but didn’t secure the lone automatic bid from their conference for either the NCAA tournament or the NIT, and a collection of other once great teams (Houston), occasional tournament darlings (Vermont and Wright State) and other riff raff. Through it all there are two teams standing — George Mason and Santa Clara.
The Patriots got here by upsetting College of Charleston on the road in the opener then beating Houston at home in overtime and Western Michigan. Santa Clara started by hosting Vermont then traveled to Purdue and Wright State. Now they are meeting in the rarest of situations in college basketball — a best-of-three final. This is actually the second game of that series. Santa Clara cruised to an 81-73 win at home — good enough to cover the 7.5-point spread — on Monday night. They are now one win away from as much glory as a CBI title is worth. George Mason, meanwhile, has their backs against the wall. If George Mason can win this one, they will host the rubber match on Friday.
Santa Clara at George Mason Betting storylines
George Mason blew a 24-point lead to Northeastern in the CAA Tournament to fall 69-67 after a late layup. It was a crushing loss, but the Patriots seem to have built from that setback instead of letting it get inside their heads. To keep the magic alive, though, this team needs to start playing defense. They allowed an average of 71 points in their first three games of the tournament and then gave up 81 in the opener of the finals. Santa Clara has a reasonably efficient offense — 45th in the country — so they are going to be able to exploit the opportunities they are given.
Because George Mason has been giving up so many points, it goes without saying that they are scoring a lot as well. The breakout leader in the tournament on that front has been junior forward Jonathan Arledge. He averaged just 8.9 points per game during the season, but he has averaged 22 in his last two CBI games and added eight rebounds to his 21 points against Santa Clara on Monday. He’ll have to be a focus of this Santa Clara defense — especially since Arledge will have the boost of playing at home.
Santa Clara is a talented team but far from a consistent one. They can play well — as they obviously are to get within one win of this title. They can also be terrible, though — they gave Loyola Marymount their only conference win. They are good enough to win here but tough to trust.
For the Broncos it’s all about Kevin Foster. He is averaging 19.2 points per game, and he is in the Top 10 in the entire country in terms of percentage of his team’s possessions he completes. He throws up three-pointers like crazy — more than 300 this year — and he just does it all. He’s also at the end of a long and productive career, so his motivation is going to be high. If George Mason can’t contain him, they are going to be in trouble. He is averaging almost 32 points per game in his last three games, so containing him is far from easy right now.
Santa Clara at George Mason CBI Odds and Betting Trends
George Mason has gone “over” the total is 12 of their last 15 games. They are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games. Santa Clara is just 8-20 ATS on their last 28 Wednesday night games. Santa Clara was 15-16 ATS on the season. George Mason was only slightly better at 17-16 ATS.
Santa Clara at George Mason Picks and CBI Betting Predictions
Santa Clara has been playing very well offensively, and it doesn’t seem as if George Mason has the ability to contain them. Their defense was weak last game and has been weak throughout the tournament. The game should be tight, but the Broncos will come out on top.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc’s Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Get all of this Weeks College Basketball Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Basketball Picks