NCAA Tournament Odds: Washington and Georgia in dogfight

By: Stephen Nover | Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Charlotte pod includes a great SEC, Pac-10 battle
between the Huskies and Bulldogs.
As winners of the Pac-10 Conference Tournament, the Washington Huskies knew they were going to the NCAA Tournament.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, they were chosen for the East Regional in Charlotte, N.C.

That’s a long travel distance for Washington, which won three games in three days during this past Thursday-Saturday to capture the Pac-10 tournament. The seventh-seeded Huskies do catch one break. They play Friday (6:45 p.m. PT) giving them an extra day of rest. This should really come in handy for star guard Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas, who leads Washington in points at 16.8 per game and in assists at six per contest, sat out only two of the 125 minutes the Huskies played in the Pac-10 tournament.

The Huskies draw 10th-seeded Georgia, a 21-11 bubble team that received an at-large bid despite losing 65-59 in overtime to Alabama in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament this past Friday. Georgia blew a 14-point second-half lead in failing to cover as 1 ½-point favorites.

The Bulldogs are just 200 miles from Charlotte. So a pro-Georgia crowd can be expected.

Washington is favored by 5 ½ points with the ‘over/under’ at 141.

Trey Thompkins, a 6-foot-10 junior forward, leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 16.1 points per game and in rebounding at 7.5 boards per contest. He also paces the Bulldogs in blocked shots averaging 1.7 a game. Thompkins is one of only nine Bulldogs to record 1,200 points and pull down 600 rebounds in a career. He was Georgia’s lone representative on the SEC All-Conference first team.

Sparked by Thompkins, the Bulldogs led the SEC in rebounding and held opponents to 39.6 percent shooting from the floor. They ranked fourth in the conference in scoring defense holding foes to 64.3 points a game. The Bulldogs also led the SEC in assists per game at 15.2 with guards Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware each reaching 100 for the season.

No team managed to make better than 50 percent of their shots against Georgia this season. It’s just the second time in 50 years the Bulldogs finished a year holding foes to below 40 percent shooting.

The Bulldogs also showed an ability to win away from Athens winning seven road contests, more than the previous three seasons combined. They are 6-2 ATS the past eight times they’ve been underdogs. However, Georgia is 1-7 ATS in its last eight non-conference matchups.

Washington is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in nine seasons under Lorenzo Romar. The Huskies have advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of their last five tournament appearances. Washington reached the final 16 last year as a No. 11 seed falling to West Virginia, 69-56, as a 4 ½-point ‘dog.

The 23-10 Huskies finished third in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 conference mark. They captured the Pac-10 Conference Tournament by edging Washington, 89-87, as 5 ½-point ‘chalk,’ beating Oregon, 69-51, as eight-point favorites and nipping conference regular-season champion Arizona in the title game, 77-75 in overtime, as three-point favorites behind 28 points and seven assists from Thomas.

The Huskies didn’t have guard Venoy Overton during the Pac-10 Tournament. Overton, who averages six points a game and plays around 21 minutes, was sitting out due to a disciplinary suspension. He’s eligible to play in the NCAA Tournament.

Washington is a big-scoring team averaging 83.5 points per game, third-best in the country. The Huskies rank 25th in field goal percentage making 47.1 percent of their shots from the floor.

The winner of this matchup advances to the second round to play the winner of the North Carolina-Long Island University game.

The ‘under’ has cashed in five of Washington’s last six games. The ‘under’ also has cashed in four of Georgia’s last five games.

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