The Madness continues on Saturday with more first-round action. The East Region brings an intriguing matchup between a couple of potential Cinderellas. The 12th-seeded Georgetown Hoyas, fresh off of a shocking run to a Big East tournament title, will take on No. 5 Colorado.
Moneyline Betting Odds
Spread Betting Odds
Over/Under Betting Odds
|Colorado||O 137 -110|
|Georgetown||U 137 -110|
Georgetown is led by Patrick Ewing, who has clearly done an admirable job in charge of his alma mater. While the Hoyas were underwhelming during the regular season, they were able to string enough wins together at the perfect time to punch an unexpected ticket to the Big Dance.
Georgetown draws a tough matchup against a Colorado team that may be one of the most underrated in the country. The Buffs didn’t win their conference regular-season or tourney titles, but Colorado is a team built to succeed in March. Colorado checks-in as a six-point favorite over Georgetown at sportsbooks that offer March Madness odds.
Can Georgetown Keep It Up?
There Hoyas are one of the only teams in the field that posted a sub-.500 conference record during the regular season. Georgetown went just 7-9 in the Big East, which was the fourth-worst mark in the conference. However, things seem to have clicked since the postseason got underway. Georgetown has rattled off four straight wins heading into the tourney, including impressive victories over ranked opponents in Villanova and Creighton.
It’s hard to overlook the fact that this team went just 13-12 during the regular season. G-Town is a nice story with a living legend leading the way, but can they really keep it going? Chudier Bile, who transferred over from Northwestern State, gives the Hoyas a solid scorer at all three levels. Jamario Pickett and Jahvon Blair can also put up impressive scoring numbers, but defense is a question mark. The Hoyas ranked just 126th in the country in defensive rating, yielding 97.7 points per 100 possessions this year.
Replacing Blair with Bile in the starting lineup was one move that keyed the Hoyas’ late-season turnaround. Georgetown has gone 10-4 since having to pause their season in February. As we’ve seen on countless occasions over the years, sometimes being a hot team at the right time is the most important thing when it comes to tournament success. At the very least, we shouldn’t write off the Hoyas simply because they posted a middling win/loss record over the course of the full season. Georgetown should be brimming with confidence here, especially after shellacking Creighton by 28 points in the Big East title game.
Colorado’s Veteran Leadership
McKinley Wright is one of the most experienced players in the entire field. Wright has been a four-year starter for the Buffs, and he has built quite the legacy during his tenure in Boulder. Wright joined elite company earlier this year when he became just the sixth player in history to score at least 1,800 points with at least 600 rebounds and 600 assists in his collegiate career.
Wright is the crux of Colorado’s offense. He’s a bit like Chris Paul in that he wants to get his teammates involved early in the game. Once crunch time arrives, though, Wright is more than happy to look for his own shot. Wright posted 18 points with seven assists and six rebounds in the Buffaloes’ close loss to Oregon State in the Pac-12 title game.
Jabari Walker, a star freshman wing, could be the player that ultimately propels Colorado deep into the tournament. Walker has missed some time with injury this season, but we’ve seen flashes of his immense potential. Walker is one of the most athletic players in the country, and Georgetown really doesn’t have anybody capable of stopping the 6’9″ swingman.
Walker only averaged 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, but he enjoyed a strong three-game stretch back in January that provided a glimpse into his potential. The freshman averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in three straight wins over Utah, Cal, and Stanford before going down with a foot injury.
What’s the Best Bet?
I love a Cinderella story as much as anybody else this time of year, but Georgetown didn’t get an easy draw with Colorado in their first tournament game. While the Buffaloes won’t blow anyone away with pace or flair, this is just a well-rounded, well-coached team. Players like Wright also tend to thrive in March, and I’d expect the senior to drag this team as far as he possibly can.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu …