2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: George Washington

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: George Washington
March 16, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Team: George Washington Colonials (24-8, 11-5, Atlantic 10)

Seed/Region: No. 9/East

Status: At-large

Matchup: vs. No. 8 Memphis (23-9, 12-6 AAC)

Where: Raleigh, N.C.

History: 11th appearance in program history, first since 2007

Coach: Mike Lonergan, 3rd season

Leaders: Scoring (Maurice Creek, 14.6), Rebounding (Isaiah Armwood, 8.7), Assists (Joe McDonald, 4.0);

What's new: GW lost 74-55 to VCU in the A-10 semifinals, ending a four-game winning streak

What to know: The Colonials hope to have guard/second-leading scorer Kethan Savage back for meaningful minutes. GW went 15-3 with Savage before his injury on Jan. 18. He played one minute vs. VCU.

Notable wins: Creighton, VCU, Saint Joseph's, at Manhattan

[RELATED: Meet all 68 teams in the 2014 NCAA tournament]

Notable losses: None versus teams RPI 100+

Simply notable: Held Creighton’s Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer, to a season-low seven points.

KenPom: Overall (45), Offense adjusted efficiency (81), Defense adjusted efficiency (43)

RPI: 29

Strength: Interior tandem of the shot blocking Armwood and low post scoring Kevin Larsen

Weakness: Limited scoring, ball handling options off the bench, though Nemanja Mikic made 7 of 12 3-pointers in the A-10 Tournament

Scoring: 74 points per game

Good stat: 17-0 when leading at halftime

Bad stat: 65.3 free throw percentage, 318th nationally

Key player: Creek stands as GW's primary 3-point threat. Over the last eight games, the Colonials are 5-0 when Creek makes at least three 3's, 0-3 with two or less.

Key to success: If the starting five avoid foul trouble and maintain at least a moderate game pace, GW can hang with anyone including elite teams on a good shooting night. Receiving key minutes from Mikic and (maybe) Savage bolsters the cause, as does Lonergan's crafty use of a 1-3-1 zone defense. Swingman Patricio Garino's is GW's best two-way player especially when he attacks the rim.

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