We are still four days away from the Final Four and the much-anticipated National Semifinals, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some decent college hoops to sate our appetites in the meantime. Last night we almost saw another postseason epic meltdown, but Valpo righted the ship just in time to secure a 72-70 win in a game that was FAR more interesting than it looked like it was going to be, defeating the valiant BYU Cougars. In the opposite NIT Semi, the George Washington Colonials continued their late season dominance, winning again in routine fashion, dispatching the San Diego State Aztecs 65-46.
It sets up a pretty good final on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. We’ll be back tomorrow with a closer look at the NIT Championship game.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the Vegas 16 championship game. The winner gets immortalized the first even champion of the Vegas 16! (which features only eight teams). Ok, that is probably a little more excitement than the game deserves.. but you do get to watch Kay Felder one last time in an Oakland uniform, and that in itself is a treat.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Old Dominion Monarchs vs. Oakland Grizzlies -1.5
This game will come down to tempo. Both teams own roughly a +7.5 point per game differential, but HOW they get there is far different. Old Dominion allows a stingy 61.75 points per contests. Oakland scores a whopping 86.42. SO which tempo prevails tonight?
I’ll go with the team with the more dynamic individual force in the best position to exert maximum influence. Kay Felder averages 24.4 ppg and 9.2 assists, good for top five in the nation in BOTH categories. He is one of the best players in the country, despite playing in a relatively anonymous conference and team and don’t be surprised to see him pop up playing professional basketball somewhere next year. In the Vegas 16, he has been even better, going full Russell Westbrook putting up a 28/9.5/8.5 stat line and shooting 45% from the floor and 87% from the line in the process.
Old Dominion meanwhile has done it more with defense. Their first two opponents in this tournament have scored a total of 108 points. They’ve won by a combined 31 points. Old Dominion played in Conference USA, while down this year, still a reasonable league with some decent competition.
Tonight is a pretty even matchup, but again, I’ll go with the team with the more dynamic playmaker. Tonight is all about tempo, and Felder will have the ball in his hands more than any other player, giving him much more control over the pace and outcome. I’ll lay the point and a half and take the Grizzlies. Oakland owns wins over Washington and valiant efforts in tight losses to Michigan State, Georgia and Valpo. They are a solid ballclub with a dynamic leader.